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May 18, 2015
Contact: Dave Ware, (360) 902-2520
HWCC Contact: Francine Madden, (202) 746 4421

WDFW's expanded Wolf Advisory Group
to meet in Spokane

OLYMPIA - The recently expanded committee that advises the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) on wolf recovery and management will have an organizational meeting May 21-22 in Spokane.

The Wolf Advisory Group's morning session on Thursday, May 21, at the Ramada Spokane Airport hotel will be open to the news media. The remainder of the meeting will be devoted to organizational issues, and attendance will be limited to committee members and WDFW staff.

The Thursday morning agenda will include a welcome from WDFW Director Jim Unsworth, an update on recent wolf management activity, and a preliminary report on WDFW's plans for minimizing wolf-livestock conflict during this summer's grazing season. Written presentations will be available on the department's website, http://wdfw.wa.gov, following the meeting.

Dave Ware, the department's wolf policy lead, said the meeting will provide the first opportunity for the committee members to get together since the group was expanded from nine to 18 members.

It will also be the first opportunity for them to meet with Francine Madden, executive director of Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration, who will facilitate the meeting. Madden has been retained by WDFW to help the committee, key constituent groups, and the department's wildlife managers work more constructively to implement the state's Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

Madden recently completed a report for the department, "People and Wolves in Washington" (http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01719/). The report describes the controversy that surrounds wolf management efforts and includes several recommendations for transforming the conflict and developing solutions that are supported by key constituents. WDFW wildlife managers plan to use the report as a guide to assess the department's wolf-management efforts, the operation of the Wolf Advisory Group, and future public outreach efforts.

WDFW formed the advisory group in 2013, with nine members representing the interests of environmentalists, livestock producers, and hunters. Earlier this year, the department doubled the membership to 18, reappointing nine people who have served as members or alternates since 2013 and appointing nine new members from among more than 50 applicants. All 18 committee members will serve terms that run through 2016.

Note to editors and reporters: Audio of the advisory group’s Thursday sessions will be available on the Wolf Advisory Group website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/wag/) as soon as possible following the meeting.