Friday, September 19, 2014

Environmentalists to sue over wolves

A well-respected biologist is among those who today announced plans to sue the feds for shirking their duty to the Mexican gray wolf.

The issue is Fish and Wildlife's failure to rewrite a 32-year-old recovery plan for lobos that Dave Parsons says is out of date and "does not present a roadmap to full recovery."

Parsons worked for Fish and Wildlife for 24 years and led the Mexican gray wolf recovery program from 1990 to 1999. He says having 83 wolves on the ground in Arizona and New Mexico "is a whole lot better than having none," but "not near where we need to be."

Under the plan he led, it was anticipated there would be 100 wolves eight years ago.

Joining him in the notification of an intent to sue are Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Endangered Wolf Center and the Wolf Conservation Center. They are being represented by Earthjustice.

Fish and Wildlife launched an effort in 2010 to write a new recovery plan. Parsons was part of a stakeholder group in that effort. Things came to a grinding halt in November of 2011 when the scientific group made recommendations that included a goal of having at least 750 wolves in three recovery areas.

"Those on the team who were not supportive of wolf recovery went ballistic," Parsons said.
Nothing further was done on that plan, he said.

Fish and Wildlife is currently writing a new "proposed rule" for the wolves, which, Parsons says, includes some good things. But it also excludes wolves from areas that those wolf scientists said in 2011 were essential to wolf recovery. What's more, the rule is not a roadmap to recovery.

He says "ideally" Fish and Wildlife should have finished the recovery plan before doing the rule update. Now there will be a court case to goose the feds into action.

But really, people. Can't we just do our jobs?

Fish and Wildlife should honor the Endangered Species Act and just get the recovery plan done – without waiting for a long litigation process to mandate it. The agency should write a recovery plan for the Mexican wolf based on science and only science.