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ODFW Recopmmends Delisting Gray Wolf from State Endangered List

Hells Canyon Journal of Halfway, Oregon

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"Wolf Plan" Would Determine Management Rules

ODFW staff believe gray wolves have met the criteria to be delisted from the state Endangered Species Act (ESA) and will recommend this action to the Fish and Wildlife Commission at its November 9 meeting in Salem.

The meeting begins at 8:00 a.m. at ODFW Headquarters, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem. It is open to the public and public testimony will be accepted during the meeting. Consideration of wolf delisting is the only item on the agenda. Written comments will also be accepted until Friday, November 6 at 5:00 p.m. and can be sent to odfw.commission@state.or.us More information about the meeting is available at http://www.dfw.state.us/agency/commission/minutes/15/11_november/index.asp.

Wolf management in Oregon is guided by the state's Wolf Plan, which was originally crafted in 2005 by a broad group of stakeholders balancing competing interests. The plan called for initiating a process to consider delisting wolves from the state ESA when eastern Oregon had a population of four breeding pairs of wolves for three consecutive years, an objective met in January, 2015.

State ESA law gives the Fish and Wildlife Commission authority to list and remove species from the Endangered Species List. It requires them to look at five factors when considering delisting:

Species not now in danger of extinction in any significant portion of its range.

Natural reproductive potential not in danger of failure.

Populations are not undergoing imminent or active deterioration of range or habitat.

Over-utilization of the species is not occurring.

Adequate protection programs exist to protect the species and its habitat in the future.

ODFW's staff looked at these five factors in depth and announced they had found sufficient biological information to justify a delisting.

Wolves are represented over a large geographic area of Oregon, are connected to other populations, and nothing is preventing them from occupying additional portions of Oregon.

The wolf population is projected to continue to increase. The overall probability of extinction is very low and genetic variation is high.

Wolf habitat in Oregon is stable, and wolf range is expanding.

Over-utilization of wolves is unlikely as the Wolf Plan continues to provide protections for wolves and any commercial, recreational or scientific take in the future is regulated by the commission.

The Wolf Plan ensures protection of wolves in the future, regardless of ESAsta-tus.

"The state's Wolf Plan adopted in 2005 was an agreement between stakeholders reached after one of ODFW's largest public processes," said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator. "The plan called for delisting consideration after wolves reached a minimum conservation threshold and envisions wolves being delisted as Oregon moves into future phases of management."

"Delisting would result in no immediate changes to wolf management in Oregon. Wolf management is guided by the Wolf Plan and its associated technical rules, not the species' ESA listing status," added Morgan. "But delisting allows the plan to continue to work into the future."



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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015



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