Gov. Jay Inslee today sent a letter directing the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to initiate a new rulemaking relating to wolf management.
The directive comes after the governor accepted the appeal from the Center for Biological Diversity that challenged the Department's decision to deny the Center's petition to amend current wolf management rules. The petition argued that current rules fail to prioritize non-lethal management of endangered wolves.
The letter reads, in part:
"I acknowledge and appreciate the significant work that the Department and the Wolf Advisory Board have done to affirm of the importance of the livestock industry to the state, and to improve policies and outcomes in specific areas where there is chronic depredation and annual lethal removal.
"However, based on experience in the Rocky Mountain states, the potential for future depredations and lethal control actions, under our existing framework, remains unacceptably high. We must move more quickly and decisively to institute practices that will avoid the repeated loss of wolves and livestock in our state.
"While I cannot legally prescribe the specific policies that must be included in this new rule, I ask that DFW include clear and enforceable measures in the proposed rule to achieve the following management outcomes:
- Standardized definition and requirements for the use of range riders;
- Requirements for use of non-lethal deterrents most appropriate for specified situations (wolf population and range, size and location of livestock operation, terrain and habitat, history of depredation);
- Action plans in areas of chronic depredation to end the need for annual lethal removal; and,
- Compliance measures where livestock operators do not implement the required non-lethal measures.
"Given the significant work that has been done to date on this topic, I strongly believe new rules and policies could, and should, be adopted and in place prior to the grazing season next year."
Read the full letter here.