By Teren Kowatsch
Whitman County Gazette 

Wolf Advisory Group holds meeting in Spokane Valley

 

December 29, 2022



The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) released its Monthly Wolf Report for November on Dec. 12.

Included in the report was a meeting held by the Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) in Spokane Valley from Nov. 2-3 that also included staff members of the WDFW.

Action items on the docket for discussion were both proposed by the WDFW. The first action items were topics that included: distribute wolf management plan, people and wolves in Washington, and topics table to new WAG members.

Part of the action item was discussing the briefly-reviewed Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol.

Included a reminder from WDFW Wolf Policy lead Julia Smith, which stated that the 2011 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan is the overarching guide for wolf management in Washington.

Smith also stated that the Management Plan did not include details on how to address certain situations and how to make certain situations regarding the state’s conservation efforts towards wolves, mainly how the plan focuses on non-lethal tools and doesn’t provide detailed guidance on lethal removal.

The lethal removal of wolves in the state has been a hot-button issue in the state ever since conservation efforts for wolves began, and has been further exacerbated this year.

The WDFW continues to investigate and ask for information regarding the lethal poisoning of six wolves within a pack in Stevens County. The investigation has been ongoing since February of 2022.

Smith and other WAG board members sent a letter regarding concerns over the carcass and lethal removal protocol of wolves to WDFW director Kelly Susewind, who wrote a lettered response on Nov. 30.

The letter issued by WAG requested the WDFW to meet and convene with multiple state regulatory agencies to discuss the possibility of establishing method(s) or new policies of disposal.

Susewind said in her response that she supports the request and sent the letter to WDFW Legislative Director Tom McBride, who sent it to several state representatives, who met sometime in December to discuss the issue.

A meeting will be held from Jan. 4-5 of 2023 at the Goldendale Grange in Goldendale, WA for the WDFW to update the WAG on further decisions regarding the matter. An online webinar will be available for the public and can be found on the WDFW’s website.

Other topics and agenda issues can be found on the WDFW’s website, under the Monthly Wolf Report for November of 2022.

 

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