Environmental assessment on wolf rules released
Public comment accepted until October 11, 2007
by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
September 11, 2007
Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published an environmental assessment to analyze the potential effects of proposed revisions to the (10j) special regulations governing the management of gray wolves introduced in the Central Idaho and Yellowstone areas of the northern Rocky Mountains.
The proposed revisions to the 10(j), which were published in the Federal Register on July 6, 2007, allow states and tribes with approved wolf management plans more flexibility in managing nonessential experimental wolves. In addition to public comments requested on the EA at this time, FWS is reopening the public comment period on the proposed 10(j) special regulations.
The EA focuses on the geographic areas of the non-essential, experimental populations of the gray wolf located in Idaho, southern Montana and Wyoming. Other wolf population areas are not evaluated because the Endangered Species Act’s 10(j) special rule applies only to the central Idaho and Yellowstone non-essential experimental populations.
All public comments for both the proposed 10(j) special rule and the EA must be received by the Service by October 11, 2007.
Comments on the draft EA (identified by RIN number 1018-AV39) may be submitted by any of the following methods:
1. Mail or hand-deliver comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601.
2. Electronic mail (e-mail) directly to the Service at EA-WolfRuleChange@fws.gov. Include “RIN number 1018-AV39” in the subject line of the message.
Comments on the proposal to revise the 10(j) special regulation (identified by RIN 1018-AV39) may be submitted by any of the following methods:
• Mail or hand deliver written comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator,585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601.
• Electronic mail (e-mail) directly to the Service at WolfRuleChange@fws.gov.
Include “RIN number 1018-AV39” in the subject line of the message.
Both documents can be viewed at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/
A copy of the draft EA may also be obtained by sending a request to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601.
Specifically, the proposed revisions to the special rule would:
(1) Modify the definition of “unacceptable impacts” to wild ungulate populations to mean:
Impact (which is determined by state or tribe) to a wild ungulate population or herd, with wolves as one of the major causes of the population or herd not meeting established state or tribal management goals. This definition expands the potential impacts for which wolf removal might be warranted beyond direct predation or those causing immediate population declines. As in the previous special rule, the state or tribal determination of unacceptable impacts and measures to be taken must be peer-reviewed and provided to the public for comment prior to a final decision by the Service.
(2) Allow private citizens in States or on Tribal lands with approved wolf management plans to take wolves that are in the act of attacking their stock animals or dogs. Stock animals are defined as a horse, mule, donkey or llama used to transport people or their possessions. Evidence must be provided of stock animals or dogs recently wounded, harassed or killed by wolves and those injuries confirmed by Service- designated agents.
These modifications would only apply to States or on Tribal lands that have approved wolf management plans and would not impact wolves in National Parks or outside the Yellowstone or central Idaho nonessential experimental population areas.