Here, you can actually read this....
wolf control proposal released
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has released a proposal to reduce the wolf population by up to 43 wolves or about 75 percent in the Lolo elk management zone of the Clearwater Region.
Fish and Game biologists say wolf predation is a significant contributor to the decline of elk numbers in the Lolo zone and may be preventing population recovery. The proposal is made under the revised 10(j) rule of the Endangered Species Act, which took effect in February 2005 and allows removal of wolves having an unacceptable effect on elk and deer populations. The proposal must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The proposal entitled "Effects of Wolf Predation on North Central Idaho Elk Populations" is available for public review on the Fish and Game Website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.
Fish and Game is seeking public comments on the proposal. Anyone interested may send comments from the Department website or by mail to: IDFG Wolf Comments, P.O. Box 25, Boise ID 83707.
Fish and Game also plans two public meetings from 5 to 9 p.m. on February 2 at the Double Tree Riverside Motel, 2900 Chinden Blvd. Garden City, and on February 7 at the Fish and Game Regional Office, 3316 16th St., Lewiston. Anyone interested may sign up to speak at the meeting. Individuals and groups will each have three minutes to speak. Elected officials or their representatives will be allowed to testify when they arrive. A hearing officer and court reporter will receive comments for the record.
The public comment period runs until midnight February 17.
Once public comments have been reviewed and incorporated, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, during its next meeting the first week of March, will decide whether the proposal should be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for review.
And this one..
Idaho Fish and Game commissioners will likely submit a plan to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to kill up to 43 wolves in the Lolo Elk Zone, but not as soon as some would like.
The delay means wolves wouldn't be killed this winter.
But F&G director Steve Huffaker on Thursday encouraged commissioners to strengthen the department's proposal by addressing some comments from the public and other agencies raising questions about the scientific validity of the proposal.
"It (Fish and Wildlife Service rules) doesn't say we have to go this extra mile, but I think it's in our best interest to do so," Huffaker said.
A delay would mean the project is unlikely to start this winter, even though officials were hoping the wolves could be killed while they were concentrated on wintering grounds. F&G must get permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to proceed.
"I think your odds are 99 percent if you decide to move this forward today you will not get to do your action (this winter)," said Jeff Allen, policy advisor for the Office of Species Conservation.
F&G is proposing to kill up to 43 wolves, which is about 75 percent of the wolf population in the Lolo Zone. The agency would then maintain wolves at 25 to 40 percent of their current population for five years to see how struggling elk herds respond to fewer predators.
F&G's plan was widely opposed during the public comment period, which ended Feb. 17. The agency received nearly 42,500 comments from the public, and an overwhelming majority opposed the plan.
About 38,500 of those comments were generated by Defenders of Wildlife, which opposes the plan.
Out of 22 organizations that submitted written comments, six favored the plan, 15 opposed it and one group was neutral. All of the organizations have members in Idaho, but not all of the comments came from Idahoans.
Opposition also included the Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho Conservation League, The Wilderness Society, National Wildlife Federation and others.
Proponents included Idaho Wildlife Federation, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's office, Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition, Concerned Sportsmen of Idaho, and two Idaho cattle organizations.
"Undeniably, our proposal and wolf management is controversial," F&G wildlife bureau chief Jim Unsworth said. "Wolves are a national issue, not just a state issue, and we're on a national stage."
Much of the criticism of F&G's plan centered on habitat being the limiting factor in the Lolo Zone rather than wolves, but Unsworth countered that F&G has already lowered its elk population goals in the area by about 10,000 because habitat has declined.
The zone's once elk-rich meadows and shrub fields have been replaced by mature forests that provide poor elk habitat.
F&G also has reduced the number of elk hunting permits, allowed hunters to kill more bears and mountain lions, and worked with the Forest Service to improve habitat.
Wolves are the only other factor left F&G can manage that might affect the elk herd, Unsworth said, and if they don't do it, "no way is that elk population going to recover."
Commissioners on Thursday said they were committed to submitting the proposal, but they were waiting until today to make a decision.
"We promised we would do everything in our power to manage our (elk) populations, including dealing with wolves," commissioner Wayne Wright of Twin Falls said.