WDFW Action Criteria

Since 2011, the Washington Wolf Conservation and Management Plan has served as a framework for state efforts to manage the state’s growing wolf population. That plan, which reflects endangered species laws as well as public comments received from thousands of people around the state, has defined the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) policies on such issues as:

  • Non-lethal deterrence:  “Non-lethal management techniques will be emphasized throughout the recovery period and beyond.” (Page 85)
  • Compensation:  “To receive compensation, producers will be responsible for following appropriate management methods that seek to limit wolf attractants in the vicinity of their livestock, including removal of dead and dying animals and other proactive measures.” (Page 91)
  • Lethal deterrence:  “Lethal removal may be used to stop repeated depredation if it is documented that livestock have clearly been killed by wolves, non-lethal methods have been tried but failed to resolve the conflict, depredations are likely to continue, and there is no evidence of intentional feeding or unnatural attraction of wolves by the livestock owner.” (Page 88)

In most cases, however, the state plan left WDFW to determine how to put these policies into action. It did not, for example, define precisely what types of technical assistance WDFW should provide to livestock producers or how many times a wolf must attack livestock before it is subject to lethal deterrence.

To answer those and other questions, WDFW has worked with the citizen’s Wolf Advisory Group to define those operational steps to ensure its management actions are both consistent with the state plan and transparent to the public. Key guidelines include:

  • Livestock-Wolf Mitigation Measures
    Provides a checklist of non-lethal measures, tailored to specific conditions, that livestock owners must follow as a step toward qualifying for compensation for wolf depredation.
  • Wolf-livestock Interaction Protocol
    A "Protocol for Wolf-Livestock Interactions," developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and its Wolf Advisory Group to guide efforts to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock, is now available. The protocol prescribes proactive measures livestock producers can take to reduce the probability of wolf-livestock conflicts, and establishes a framework for WDFW's response when conflicts between wolves and livestock do occur. It also serves to increase the transparency and accountability of the Department's activities and management actions related to wolves.