Monday, November 4, 2013

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service extends comment periods for Mexican wolf proposals and reschedules public hearings

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced rescheduled dates for the remaining public meetings being held on two proposed rules on the Mexican wolf. The original meeting schedule could not be implemented due to the federal shutdown and resulting delays.

The public hearings will take place on Nov. 19 in Denver, Colo.; Nov. 20 in Albuquerque, N.M.; and, Nov. 22 in Sacramento, Calif. A public information meeting and hearing has also been added in Pinetop, Ariz. on Dec. 3. Each hearing will include a short informational presentation.

The two proposed rules include one to list the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies and delist the gray wolf elsewhere, and the other is to revise the nonessential experimental population of the Mexican wolf. Comment period deadlines also are extended until Dec. 17, 2013 to allow these hearings to take place within the public comment periods on the proposed rules.

The Dec. 3 informational meeting and hearing in Pinetop will be held at the Hon-Dah Conference Center (Hwy. 260 and Hwy. 73). The Pinetop public information meeting is from 3:30 to 5 p.m., followed by a public hearing for recording comments from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

To learn more about the proposed rules, view the draft Federal Register notice with the details of the public hearings, and for links to submit comments to the public record, visit

The Arizona Game and Fish Department already completed its public hearings on the proposed rules and Mexican wolf conservation. The department held meetings in Payson, Tucson and Pinetop.

The department will be submitting comments on both proposed rules. More information on the comment period extension, proposed rules and how to submit comments to the Service is available at under Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073 and Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056.

The Mexican wolf reintroduction program began in 1998. The 2012 year-end population count showed a minimum of 75 wolves roaming Arizona and New Mexico, up from 58 wolves in 2011.