On August 1, 2019, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife invited the public to comment on the scope of a post-recovery plan for wolves in Washington.
A post-recovery conservation and management plan for wolves will guide long-term wolf conservation and management where wolves are managed under state authority once the wolf population in Washington is considered recovered and is no longer designated as state or federally endangered.
We are following the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process to develop the plan. The first step of the SEPA process was scoping, which is helping us determine proposed actions, alternatives, and impacts to be discussed in the impact statement. Scoping improves decisions and encourages collaboration, cooperation, and early resolution of potential conflicts. It is intended to narrow the impact statement to the relevant issues.
The public scoping comment period for this process was open from August 1, 2019 through November 15, 2019 (107 days).
Three live, interactive webinars were part of this process and recordings of each are below. They included a presentation, opportunity to ask questions, and information on how to submit comments.
During the scoping period, 7,798 pieces of individual correspondence were received. We received correspondence from people in every county in Washington as well as all 50 states. We also heard from government agencies and representatives (including tribal, federal, state, and county) and non-governmental organizations and stakeholder groups. About 47 percent came from within Washington state and another three percent came from Idaho, Montana, and Oregon, states that also have wolf populations to which Washington wolves are connected. About 13 percent of the comments from within Washington came from areas where wolves are known to occur. Not all respondents identified a location.
WDFW welcomes and values all input received, and summaries of comments received during the scoping period are available below. These comments do not necessarily represent the sentiments of the entire public. In addition, the comments may not reflect actual existing conditions on the ground or WDFW management policies or positions. The public comment process does not serve as a voting mechanism; instead, emphasis is placed on the content of the comments rather than the number of times a comment is received. WDFW considers the content of all comments equally. Commenters were not given specific questions to address in their correspondences. The topics and comments summarized are intended to be representative of the spectrum of comments received in total. The summaries do not encompass the full text or content of all comments received.
For a 4-page summary of scoping results with maps and demographic information, click here.
For a 59-page detailed summary of scoping comments, click here.
The next steps in this multi-year process involve preparing a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will be available for public review and comment once completed. That document will evaluate actions, alternatives, and impacts related to long-term wolf conservation and management. A draft EIS will be developed over the coming year.