SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Oregon wildlife commissioners have approved the state’s long-overdue Wolf Management Plan after years of revisions, contentious meetings, an outside mediator and half the stakeholders abandoning talks.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the plan to govern how wolves are handled in areas of the state where they don’t enjoy federal protection under the Endangered Species Act was approved Friday by the commission of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The state’s first wolf plan was issued in 2005, before any wolves had come back to the state after decades of extirpation due to hunting and trapping. The second version of the plan came out in 2010, a year after wolves had been confirmed in Oregon.
The plan finally approved Friday came after hunters and ranchers, and environmentalists and wolf advocates squared off over when wolves can be killed, why and by whom.
News release from ODFW:
Commission adopts revised Wolf Plan in 6-1 vote
SALEM, Ore.—The Commission adopted a Wolf Plan today at its meeting in Salem in a 6-1 vote after hearing from 44 people who came to testify and reviewing thousands of public comments.
Allowing controlled take (limited regulated hunting and trapping of wolves) was one of the most controversial topics in the new Wolf Plan. The original Plan adopted in 2005 allowed for controlled take only in Phase 3 (currently eastern Oregon), in instances of recurring depredations or when wolves are a major cause of ungulate populations not meeting established management objectives or herd management goals. While ODFW believed it needed to remain a tool available for wolf management, the department has not proposed any controlled take of wolves and has no plans to at this time.
Commissioners made some changes related to “controlled take” from the proposed Plan. An addendum was added clearly stating that “Use of controlled take as a management tool requires Commission approval through a separate public rulemaking process” and the definition of controlled take was modified.
Additional minor changes were made to emphasize the importance of non-lethal tools to address wolf-livestock conflict and easy access to this information. Non-lethal measures to prevent wolf-livestock conflict continue to be emphasized in all phases of the Plan, and required before any lethal control is considered.
After some discussion, Commissioners revised the definition of chronic depredation (which can lead to lethal control of wolves if non-lethals are in use and not working) in Phase 2 and 3 from two confirmed depredations with no specific time frame to two confirmed depredations in nine months.
The Wolf Plan will be filed with the Secretary of State and posted on the ODFW Wolves webpage (www.odfw.com/wolves) within the next few business days.
·Allocated big game auction and raffle tags for 2020.
·Heard a briefing on the crab fishery and reducing the risk of whale entanglements.
·Adopted harvest limits for Pacific sardine in state waters for July 2019-June 2020 based on federal regulations.
·Approved funding for Access and Habitat projects that provide hunting access or improve wildlife habitat on private land.
·Heard a briefing on proposed changes to 2020 big game hunting regulations as part of efforts to improve and simplify the Big Game Hunting Regulations
The Fish and Wildlife Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. Its next meeting is Aug. 2 in Salem.