You have one week to tell the Feds whether the few wolves in the western parts of Washington and Oregon are or aren’t the same as those in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and the amount of Endangered Species Act protection they should or shouldn’t have.
The public comment period on Canis lupus in the Pacific Northwest, a subset of a larger nationwide U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service status review of wolves, expires July 5.
Coming on the heels of Congressional delisting, the Federal agency is trying to determine whether wolves in the Cascades and western two-thirds of both states should be classified just like those to the east, neither threatened nor endangered, or a population separate from the Northern Rockies. If the latter, they would then figure out if continued ESA coverage is warranted or propose to delist them because they don’t meet certain guidelines.
It’s entirely separate from discussions on the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s draft wolf management plan.
Currently, there aren’t many wolves in the Cascades of either state. There’s at least a pair of related males in the Lookout Pack of North-Central Washington’s Methow Valley, possibly some on upper Ross Lake on the BC border, and a WDFW trapper has been in the Teanaway region between Cle Elum and Cashmere following up on reports over the past eight months, including a trail camera pic of a large, gray canid reputedly taken near Liberty along the Blewett Pass highway.
The Lookout’s alpha male has DNA from Canada; it will be interesting to know whether those found further south share the same genetic makeup or are different, i.e., not its progeny.
The same goes for wolves in Oregon’s Cascades. According to USFWS, there have been “several credible reports” out of the Beaver State’s Central Cascades and Klamath Basin, including a 2009 photograph of one off U.S. 20 between Sisters and Springfield. This winter’s monthly updates from ODFW indicate tracks spotted here and there fanning out from three packs, including two breeding pairs, in the state’s northeast corner. Those packs are linked to reintroduced populations of Central Idaho.
To comment, go to regulations.gov and follow the instructions for Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2011-0029. Type “Pacific Northwest wolves” in your comment’s subject line. You can also send comments via the post office to Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2011-0029; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.