WDFW seeks public comment on proposed rule changes to address wolf-livestock conflict deterrence


This document is provided for archival purposes only. Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

News release

Julia Smith, 360-790-1029
Staci Lehman, Public Affairs, 509-710-4511

OLYMPIA- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) invites the public to submit written comment from Feb. 22 to April 11, 2022 on a proposed rule change and a new rule to address wolf-livestock conflict deterrence.

In September 2020, Governor Jay Inslee directed WDFW to initiate rule making with the goal of instituting practices that would reduce the number of livestock killed or injured by wolves as well as the number of wolves lethally removed as a result of depredations of domestic animals.

The proposed rule change, if adopted, would amend the language of Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 220-440-080 to require that, to authorize lethal removal of wolves, the WDFW director (or WDFW staff designee) would need to confirm an owner of domestic animals has proactively implemented appropriate non-lethal conflict deterrence measures.

The proposal, if adopted, would also create a new rule (WAC 220-440-260) that directs WDFW staff, in consultation with willing, affected livestock producers, as well as affected federal, state, and tribal agencies, to author conflict mitigation plans that would establish area-specific criteria for the use of non-lethal and lethal measures to mitigate wolf-livestock conflict in areas of chronic conflict.

“If adopted, the proposed change to WAC 220-440-080 would align the code with the agency’s long-standing commitment to non-lethal conflict mitigation strategies,” said Wolf Policy Lead Julia Smith.

“The proposal creating WAC 220-440-260 aims to address areas that have experienced significant levels of livestock depredation and subsequent wolf removals year after year, an especially difficult scenario for all communities concerned about wolf conservation and management. This proposal focuses limited time and resources to areas where the most livestock and wolf loss has occurred in the state.”

In addition, a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) that analyzes the environmental impacts of four alternative rule making options and a Small Business Economic Impact Statement (SBEIS) that evaluates the potential costs to businesses in the livestock industry resulting from the proposed rule and rule change were developed as part of the rule making process.
During this public comment period, WDFW is looking for input on the draft proposed language for both WACs, as well as feedback on the DSEIS.

A Public Hearing is expected to be scheduled for April 2022. The final SEIS is planned to be issued in May and the Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider the proposal in May of 2022. The rule and/or rule changes that may result from this process are proposed to be effective in January 2023.

Visit the Department’s website for more information on the proposed rule and the rule-change process. More information on wolves in Washington can be found at wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk/species-recovery/gray-wolf.

All members of the public are invited to share their perspectives and participate in WDFW public feedback opportunities regardless of race, color, sex, age, national origin, language proficiency, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, status as a veteran, or basis of disability.

WDFW works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife, and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities. 

Request this information in an alternative format or language at wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation, 833-855-1012, TTY (711), or CivilRightsTeam@dfw.wa.gov.