Sunday, January 24, 2016

Recommended Talking Points for Draft California Wolf Conservation Plan via California Wolf Center

Key Points:

1. Thanking the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • We appreciate the Department's hard work and approach to the process to create a Wolf Conservation Plan for the state, including the opportunity for varied interests to provide input through a transparent process.
  • We understand that it is a delicate process to create a plan that will best conserve wolves, while considering the interest of those sharing the landscape with this protected species.
2. Coexistence between wolves and the ranching community
  • Promoting coexistence between livestock producers and wolves is of critical importance for successful wolf recovery in California and we are especially grateful that that the Plan has a strong emphasis on the use of proactive measures for protecting livestock and wolves. We ask that the Department prioritize the following in order to ensure peaceful wolf recovery:
    • Secure funding specifically to create and implement a program that will provide information and on-going support on the use of proactive tools and strategies available for reducing conflicts between livestock and wolves
    • Expedite establishing Depredation Prevention Agreements with interested and willing livestock producers 
    • Set up a fund to provide compensation for livestock depredations; this will go a long way to promoting goodwill among the livestock community critical to ensuring long-term wolf recovery 
3. Management Phases and wolf population numbers
  • The number of wolves required to transition from Phase I and Phase II are unacceptably low.
  • In addition, we have the following concerns regarding the numbers proposed:
    • They are not scientifically-based
    • They have not been adequately justified by CDFW
    • They don't allow a long enough transition period between the phases to ensure breeding pair numbers won't immediately decline
  • The shift from Phase II to Phase III should be left open until we know more about how wolves do in California as they populate the California landscape. 
  • Please give wolves the best chance in California. We ask that you allow sufficient time for non-lethal coexistence strategies to take hold in our state and not rush the management phases.
Secondary Points:
1. Need for scientific studies
  • There are needed scientific studies in California that are critical to responsibly conserving and managing wolves moving forward, including:
    • population trend
    • range and distribution
    • abundance, and life history of a species
    • factors affecting the ability of the population to survive and reproduce
    • nonlethal strategies use and effectiveness
2. Missing pieces of the Plan
  • While the Draft Plan has a wide variety of critical provisions that will guide the state's conservation and management of wolves into the future, it is also missing some key information, including: 
    • Depredation Investigations Protocols
    • List of proactive, nonlethal tools to reduce conflicts between livestock and wolves
    • Both Wolf-Livestock and Wolf-Ungulate Conflict Management Strategies, as referenced in Phase 2. We request the opportunity to review those as well
    • The Livestock Depredation Protocol that is available on the Department's wolf web page; this should also be contained within the Plan with the understanding that it may evolve over time as we learn more about how best to address wolf-livestock conflicts in California.
    • List of "Priority Counties" for depredation compensation. We suggest Siskiyou, Modoc, Shasta and Lassen Counties
SSubmit your public comments to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife before February 15th. We hope to see you at the public discussion in either Long Beach or Sacramento!