Thursday, April 30, 2015

Commission asks staff to look at delisting wolves partially and statewide (OR)

8 hours ago  • 

SALEM — The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission today decided to direct ODFW staff to develop two options for delisting wolves from the state Endangered Species Act: one that would delist wolves in eastern Oregon and one that would delist wolves statewide.

The state’s wolf plan calls for initiating a process to delist wolves from the state Endangered Species Act when Oregon reaches the conservation objective of four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon. This objective was met in early 2015.

The Commission heard ODFW staff’s Biological Status Review of wolves and also heard public testimony from 38 people. “This is a success story,” said Russ Morgan, ODFW Wolf Coordinator in his presentation of the Biological Status Review. “Not very many years ago, we had no known wolves in Oregon. Now we not only have wolves, but the population is healthy and growing.”

“I am very confident that we are going to have a healthy, sustainable population of wolves in Oregon,” said Commissioner Holly Akenson. “We have the protections and the desire to maintain a wolf population in Oregon.”

Much of the public testimony was against a delisting, and commissioners noted that the option of no action also remained on the table. Noting other staff job tasks, commission Chair Finley informed the public that this two-option approach would require a substantial investment in time and that a final proposal may not be available until the fall.

The commission's next meeting is scheduled for June 5 in Salem.