Watch out! The Administration has hatched a quickie scheme to delist the wolf

That didn’t take long – and it comes on the hip of troubling news about population numbers in general in the Northern Rockies – and even the recent sobering news about Yellowstone’s wolves.  I guess they figure they better jam this thing into gear before the next administration –  I don’t remember seeing any news about Wyoming having a sudden change of heart…  or about rectifying any number of the other variables contributing to the recklessness of the prior rule.

Check out the 6th paragraph (2nd to last) of the news release – it’s as if they’re still clinging to the strict numbers (30 breeding pair 300 wolves for 3 years) claim.

brian ertz

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Added Administration Reopens Effort to De-List Endangered Gray Wolves. By Joel Achenbach. Washington Post Staff Writer. Friday, October 24, 2008.
Added. Public comments reopened on delisting wolves. By MICHAEL JAMISON of the Missoulian.
Added. Feds will try again to get wolves off endangered list. Wyoming’s loose rules still pose a problem. But wolves could be delisted in other states, including Idaho, before Bush leaves office. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Ralph Maughan

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The News Release:

October 24, 2008
Contact: Ed Bangs, (406) 449-5225, x204





The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it is reopening the public comment period on its proposal to delist the gray wolf in the northern Rocky Mountains.  The public will have until November 28, 2008, to submit their comments to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at or via U.S. mail or hand delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn:  RIN 1018-Au53; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA  22203.

Through a notice in the Federal Register scheduled to publish on October 28, 2008, the Service is asking the public to provide comments and any additional information on the 2007 proposal to delist wolves.  The Service is seeking additional information on a variety of topics related to the delisting.  More details are available in the Federal Register notice which will be posted along with associated materials at the Service’s northern Rocky Mountains wolf website:

On July 18, 2008, the U.S. Federal District Court in Missoula, Montana, issued an order immediately reinstating Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains.  In September 2008, the Service requested the court vacate and remand the final delisting rule back to the Service.  The court granted the Service’s request on October 13, 2008.

At this time, the northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves remains under the protection of the Endangered Species Act.  The area affected by this ruling includes all of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming and the eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon and parts of north-central Utah.  Management of the northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves is now governed by the same Endangered Species Act protections that were in effect before wolves were delisted on March 28, 2008.

“The Service is committed to ensuring that wolves thrive in the northern Rocky Mountains and will continue to work with the states and the public to advance the recovery of the species,” said Steve Guertin, Regional Director for the Mountain-Prairie Region.

The minimum recovery goal for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains is 30 breeding pairs and at least 300 wolves for three consecutive years, a goal that was attained in 2002 and has been exceeded every year since. The proposed northern Rocky Mountain population of wolves includes all of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, the eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon, and a small part of north-central Utah. Gray wolves were previously listed as endangered in the lower 48 states, except in Minnesota, where they were listed as threatened.  The wolf population in the Midwest was delisted in early 2007 but that decision was reversed in court in October 2008.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit



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  1. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    It is 11:30 MDT on Saturday 10/25/08 and I am the first to comment on this latest attempt to delist the wolf. To subsequent posters, please copy you comments here and forward them onto FWS as soon as the comment period opens. DO NOT send them in early.

    Of concern, I do not see where FWS has addressed two items: genetic exchange between sub populations and the new Idaho laws permitting taking wolves pretty much at will. Of concern is the reluctance of local prosecutors enforcing the terms of the law.

    Of course the Wyoming recovery plan,is and always was, fatally flawed. The DC court ruling on delisting needs to be looked at in terms of leaving Wyoming out of the delisting process. From my understanding of it, all three recovery areas need to qualify for delistng at the same time.

    If antone has furthe insight on this, I am sure that we all can benefit from you thoughts.


  2. Jon Way Avatar

    Since we don’t live in a truly democratic society under Bush Co., I imagine the vast majority of comments on this latest round will be against delisting but since a minority will be for it, they will decide that at least a few folks support our plans – so lets go along with it…
    Maybe it could be like the Yellowstone snowmobile issue where the same review keeps taking place until the desired results are achieved.
    Money could be used on so many more worthwhile conservation efforts. I don’t see a point at wasting the time to delisting until WY even thinks about a reasonable, non-redneck oriented management plan.

  3. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel


    Would you be so kind as to post links to the two decisions by Judges Molloy and Friedman? I think it would help all of us who post here to formulate comments.


  4. JB Avatar

    The skeptic in me says this is just Interior’s way of “court-proofing” their next delisting proposal; the optimist hopes they are actually interested in making significant modifications–to more than just the language of the Rule–in order to ensure the long term recovery of wolves.

  5. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    Does this ever end? Do the court victories mean nothing? 1/20/09 can’t come soon enough…

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Rick Hammel,

    Here is Molloy’s decision. I don’t have Friedman’s.

  7. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    An argument that hasn’t been brought out, at least to my knowledge, is the research that has been on-going at Oregon State Univ. by Dr. William Ripple and his graduate students about the “trophic cascade” affect on ecosystems when the apex predator(in this case wolves) are removed from the ecosystem.
    I STRONGLY URGE those who are writing comments to read about it and include this information in your public comments.
    You can google “The Leopold Project”, College of Forestry, Oregon State University.

  8. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Actually they seem to be going out of their way to make sure that the genetics issue is addressed.
    however the other issues are still being ignored as far as I can tell

  9. JB Avatar

    Jeff E,

    In my view, that resolution does nothing to protect genetic diversity as it doesn’t have any teeth. Note, how they use a lot of general language, such as:

    “2. The States and FWS recognize that genetic diversity within the NRM wolf population is currently high and will jointly collaborate on topics related to preserving genetic diversity and preserving and enhancing connectivity of the three population areas.”

    Read: The States and FWS have agreed to “collaborate” to “enhance” connectivity; in other words, they’ve agreed to have meetings. Great, that makes me feel better. Past “collaborations” between FWS and the States have been working out so well under the Bush Admin.

    But here are the two statements we should all pay attention to:

    “4. The States and the FWS further agree that the adaptive management principles outlined in the state plans along with careful management of human-caused mortality from agency lethal control and regulation of public harvest will not impede natural dispersal among the population areas.

    5. The States, in coordination with the FWS, will jointly assure gene flow among the three population areas of gray wolves by natural or human-assisted techniques.”

    Read: The State plans are fine and will not “impede natural dispersal” (which means they will not impede gene flow), and if they do we will simply move some wolves around to “assure” genetic diversity stays high.

    The bottom line: I don’t trust Bush (especially at the end of his presidency) or Kempthorne to make any decision regarding wolves that is in the best interest of wolves. This should wait until a new administration has taken office.

  10. Virginia Avatar

    I detect Dick Cheney involvement here, just as he influenced the snowmobile issue. I will be composing my letter after I carefully review the information listed above.

  11. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I tend to agree with you. I just found it curious that they put this draft on the website and as yet have not really addressed any other issue. Now that I think about it it does look like a red herring. Vintage Dick Kempthorne.

  12. caleb Avatar

    I can’t get to anywhere on that E-regulations site that will let me comment.

  13. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    Probably too early

  14. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    It is 12 noon on 10/28, and I tried the link in the pree release. Use ggray wolf as the key word and follow the instructions.


  15. caleb Avatar

    Thanks Rick

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Brian Ertz