Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has sent a letter to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife asking for changes to the gray wolf recovery program.
The governor asked WDFW to provide him with an update to his requests and recommendations for additional action by December 1.
The letter reads, in part, “I understand that conflicts between wolves and livestock do occur, especially as the state’s wolf population continues to grow. The department, working with the Wolf Advisory Group, livestock producers, hunters, conservation groups and others, has made significant progress in securing both gray wolf recovery and increasing the social tolerance of wolves on the Washington state landscape.
“The State’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (Wolf Plan) has contributed to the recovery of this species, and is a model of citizenry engagement and statewide leadership. I acknowledge that the Wolf Plan is successful in most parts of our state…Chronic livestock depredations and annual lethal removal of wolves in the Kettle River Range in Ferry County, have resulted in public concern and outrage over lethal management actions taken by the department.
“I share the public’s concern and am troubled that the Wolf Plan does not appear to be working as intended in this particular area in Northeastern Washington.
“I believe we cannot continue using the same management approach on this particular landscape.
“We must look for other strategies that address the unique nature of this particular geographical area, an area which has been characterized as prime gray wolf habitat. We must find new methods to better support co-existence between Washington’s livestock industry and gray wolves in our state. The status quo of annual lethal removal is simply unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, WDFW is seeking candidates to serve for the next three years (2019-2021) on the citizen committee that advises the department on wolf recovery and management.
The Wolf Advisory Group was formed in 2013 with nine members representing the interests of environmentalists, hunters, livestock producers, and other stakeholders. In 2015, WDFW increased the group’s size to 18 members to better reflect the diversity of perspectives on wolf conservation and management.
“This group has been extremely helpful in advising the department on the challenging issue of recovering and managing gray wolves in our state,” WDFW Director Kelly Susewind said. “We are looking for candidates who value working cooperatively with others to develop management recommendations to advise the agency.”
There are currently four vacancies on the WAG. WDFW is looking to recruit stakeholders who represent environmentalist, hunter, livestock producer, and at-large identity groups to fill these positions. Candidates must value compromise and cohesion on issues, with the intent to resolve conflicts.
“The WAG’s members have a wide range of perspectives and opinions on wolf recovery and management, and we are committed to continuing this collaboration,” said Donny Martorello, WDFW wolf policy lead.
In addition to the four vacancies, Susewind will fill WAG positions that become vacant within the next year from the applications and nominations received.
To apply, submit letters of interest or nominations that address the following items:
•The applicant or nominee’s name, address, telephone number, and email address;
•People or groups making nominations must also submit their own names and contact information;
•The candidate’s relevant experience, organizational affiliations, and reasons why they would be an effective advisory group member;
•Familiarity with Washington’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and current wolf recovery status and management issues; and
•Experience in collaborating with people with different values.
The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. Nov. 8, 2019. Letters of interest, relevant application materials such as CVs, and nominations may be emailed to [email protected] or sent to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, P. O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504-3200.
Applicants who applied in 2018 and are still interested will be considered during this application period, and do not need to resubmit application materials.
New members should be available for meetings beginning as early as January 2020. The group holds at least four two-day meetings per year. Most meetings take place in Spokane, Ellensburg, and Olympia. Advisory group members may be reimbursed by WDFW for travel expenses to attend meetings.
More information about the Wolf Advisory Group is available at www.wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/wag/
The department’s wolf conservation and management website is located at www.wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk/species-recovery/gray-wolf