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PostFri Jul 06, 2018 12:50 am 
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^ Great overview of the course of events that derailed Wielgus' work.
It would be interesting to get Lynda Mape's perspective on it - she (unwittingly) got tangled up in that fiasco.

A really salient point brought up, which I think has proven to be true, is that the entire episode was a huge setback for all parties involved.

Since it is, in the end, all about politics, I'm going to take the liberty of speculating that things might progress a lot more smoothly if some of the deeply-entrenched incumbent State legislators were suddenly to find themselves looking for new careers.

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PostThu Jul 12, 2018 6:45 pm 
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Interesting encounter today.

Heli rescue for research student in tree surrounded by wolves in Okanogan Co.
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PostFri Jul 13, 2018 4:57 pm 
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Friday July 13, 2018 14:32 PDT

WDFW WILDLIFE PROGRAM

Gray Wolf Update


A new update on wolf activities is available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website: here

(* emphasis added to press release below *)

WDFW, in their press release of 07/13/18 wrote:

Salmon researcher is safe after encountering wolves near den site

A state fire crew retrieved a U.S. Forest Service salmon researcher in Okanogan County yesterday after she climbed a tree to avoid a wolf that was displaying behaviors that she considered threatening.

The incident response involved several state, federal, and local agencies, including the state departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish & Wildlife (WDFW), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office. A DNR fire crew extracted the researcher in a helicopter dispatched through a multi-agency fire center in Colville, while WDFW enforcement personnel were preparing to hike to the scene.

WDFW Acting Director Joe Stohr said the incident took place in a region of the state in which wolf recovery and management actions are led by USFWS, because gray wolves are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. USFWS is leading a follow-up investigation into the incident and agencies’ response.

Stohr said it appears the researcher was close to a wolf denning site or rendezvous area, and that it is common for wolves to bark, howl, and approach people or other animals when protecting their pups. He said some initial reports stated incorrectly that the researcher was in a developed campground. In fact, the site is several miles from either a designated campground or maintained road.

“We are relieved that the researcher was brought out of the area safely,” Stohr said. “We’re still working to confirm details of the incident, but the most important element is that she was unharmed.”

Stohr said when WDFW staff in the area learned of the situation, they quickly assessed various response options and supported the decision by USFWS that the helicopter operation was appropriate.

WDFW wildlife managers in April identified the area where the encounter took place as a likely denning site for the Loup Loup pack, which includes at least one adult female and one adult male. The department notified USFS officials in the region at that time.

Here is information shared on Friday, July 13, by USFWS:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased at the successful rescue of the individual, and commends the quick action of our partners in their rescue efforts.

On July 12, 2018, a seasonal U.S. Forest Service employee completing research surveys in the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest encountered two adult gray wolves from the federally listed endangered Loup Loup pack.

The individual was safely extracted, uninjured, by helicopter from the location the incident occurred.

Prior to the incident, the individual observed wolf tracks and heard yipping and barking for a period of time before the wolves approached.

After unsuccessful attempts to scare the wolves away (including yelling, waving and deploying a can of bear spray in the direction of the wolves) the individual climbed a tree and used a radio to call for assistance.

A Loup Loup pack den site is in the vicinity of the site where the incident occurred, and GPS collar data from the early morning of July 12 shows at least one adult wolf from the Loup Loup pack in close proximity to the area where the incident occurred.

US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologists believe the location is a “rendezvous” site, and the wolves were likely acting in a defensive manner to protect offspring or food sources. Rendezvous sites are home or activity sites where weaned pups are brought from the den until they are old enough to join adult wolves in hunting activity.

USFWS and WDFW biologists will continue to monitor the GPS collar data for the two adult wolves and will hike into the site on July 13 to further investigate.

Gray wolves are currently listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in the western 2/3 of Washington. The USFWS is the primary agency responsible for managing wolves in the federally listed area, and coordinates closely with WDFW to implement the state’s Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

* Perhaps now that what we can reasonably assume to be facts have been posted here in no fewer than in three different threads, the hysterical rhetoric might tone down to a dull roar (but that could just be wishful thinking on my part.)

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PostFri Jul 20, 2018 6:47 pm 
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House approves amendment, denying funds for grizzly bear relocation

Hon. Dan Newhouse (R Washington State 4th Congressional District) authored HR 6147 which was approved by the US House of Representatives.
The legislation that was weaseled into a spending bill guts funding for grizzly bear reintroduction and removes the Gray Wolf from the endangered species list.

Not to be outdone by her compatriot, Hon. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R - Washington State 5th Congressional District), inserted a rider that prohibits use of federal dollars for implementation of Washington State's revised water quality standard.

Joel Connelly's piece on this in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Oregon Public Broadcasting piece on same issue

While it is known by most members here that I have some reservations about the reintroduction of grizzly bears into the North Cascades, and could not possibly be more ambivalent about the gray wolf population in Washington State, the manner in which these two chuckleheads have gone about circumventing a very deliberate process that involved no shortage of public input is outrageous and unacceptable.

This bill still has to be approved by the US Senate, and fortunately our two US Senators are most likely not on the same side of these issues as Mr. Newhouse and Ms. McMorris Rodgers.
I would suggest those of you who might have issues with HR 6147 and/or McMorris Rodgers' slimy proposal to weaken water quality standards contact both Hon. Patty Murray and Hon. Maria Cantwell on Monday morning at their Washington DC offices.
It would not hurt to let everybody on your email contact list and all your Facebook friends to know about this as well.

Congressional switchboard: 202 224 3121

(* Because yeah... it is all about politics. *)

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PostSat Jul 28, 2018 9:48 pm 
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Saturday July 28, 2018 20:10 PDT

WDFW GRAY WOLF UPDATE

This notice is to inform you that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) have a conference call scheduled for Tuesday, July 31, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. The conference call is open to the public to listen to from a second muted line.  The conference call and PIN numbers for the public will be posted on the WAG’s website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/wag/) on Monday, July 30.

During the July 10-11 WAG meeting, WAG members created a draft timeline/sequencing of items that they envision being involved in during the development of a post-delisting wolf conservation and management plan.  A picture of the draft timeline is included below as well as a draft electronic version.  The purpose of the conference call is to review the draft electronic version of the timeline to make sure it accurately portrays the draft timeline created by WAG members.  The draft timeline (electronic version) will then by shared with the Fish and Wildlife Commission during their August 10-11 meeting.

-WDFW-

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PostFri Aug 03, 2018 10:02 am 
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Friday August 3, 2018 07:58 PDT

WDFW WILDLIFE PROGRAM

Gray Wolf Update


A new update on wolf activities is available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website HERE

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PostFri Aug 03, 2018 8:39 pm 
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Friday August 03, 2018 17:06 PDT

NEWS RELEASE

Fish and Wildlife Commission to meet Aug. 9-11 to discuss budget proposals, wolves


OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will review budget and policy proposals for the 2019 legislative session when it meets Aug. 9-11 in Olympia.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet in the Capitol Room of the Doubletree Hotel, 415 Capitol Way, Olympia. Commissioners also will hear a brief report from WDFW Director Kelly Susewind, who assumed the department's top position on Aug. 1.

The public can provide input on WDFW's budget and legislative proposals during the meeting Thursday, Aug. 9. The commission will convene that day at 12:30 p.m. Commissioners could take action on the proposals during their Friday session, which begins at 8:30 a.m. The Saturday meeting is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.

The complete meeting agenda is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2018/.

WDFW staff will provide commissioners with an overview of the department's proposed capital and operating budget requests for 2019-21 and discuss a long-term funding plan developed with the help of a broad-based advisory group to stabilize funding in the future.

For the two-year budget cycle that begins in July 2019, WDFW is preparing proposals to the governor and Legislature to address an estimated shortfall of $30 million and make additional targeted investments. About two-thirds of the department's proposed budget request would come from the state general fund, while recreational license fees would comprise the remaining third.

More information about WDFW's budget shortfall and proposed solutions can be found online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/budget/development/.

Department staff will also present its annual update on wolf conservation and management, including wolf-management expenditures and the process for considering the translocation of wolves in the state.

On Saturday, WDFW present an overview on seals and sea lions in Washington and the conservation of those species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Staff will also discuss management actions to address sea lion predation of salmon and other fish in the Columbia River and recent federal legislation around the MMPA. The commission will invite public input on the issue following the staff report.

During the August meeting, the commission is also expected to take action on three land transactions, including a 94-acre donation in Whitman County by Pheasants Forever; the purchase of 58 acres in Columbia County to preserve elk and mule deer habitat; and the transfer of a pump station at the department's Skagit Wildlife Area to a local diking district.

-WDFW-

(* emphasis added *)

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PostFri Aug 03, 2018 8:42 pm 
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(* only number I've been able to get so far was from Lynda Mapes, Seattle Times, who said WDFW spent about $1.5 million on wolf management during the last biennium. WDFW has failed to respond to any requests for information on this subject during the last two years. BK )

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PostSat Aug 11, 2018 5:39 pm 
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Saturday August 11, 2018 16:29 PDT

WDFW WILDLIFE PROGRAM

Gray Wolf Update


A new update on wolf activities is available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website HERE

-WDFW-

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostMon Aug 13, 2018 3:00 pm 
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Monday August 13, 2018 13:53 PDT

WDFW WILDLIFE PROGRAM

Gray Wolf Update


A new update on wolf activities is available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website HERE

WDFW, in their update of 08/13/18 wrote:
There have been five confirmed depredations by the Togo pack in the last 10 months, as described in the August 11 update.

-WDFW-

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PostSun Aug 26, 2018 8:11 pm 
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Monday August 20, 2018 07:37 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW plans to take lethal action in response to depredation on cattle by Togo wolf pack


OLYMPIA – State wildlife managers plan to take lethal action to respond to livestock depredations by the Togo wolf pack on federal grazing lands in northern Ferry County.

Kelly Susewind, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), authorized field staff to take lethal measures to remove one or more members of the Togo wolf pack, which has preyed on cattle on six separate occasions in the Kettle River Range since last November.

Donny Martorello, WDFW's lead wolf manager, said the department’s field staff documented three of those depredations by pack members in the past 30 days.

The Togo pack, whose presence was first suspected in 2016 and confirmed last February, has at least two adult members and an unknown number of pups. Wildlife managers have monitored the pack’s movements since June, when the adult male was captured and fitted with a tracking collar.

Susewind said the department's response is consistent with Washington's Wolf Conservation and Management Plan of 2011, which authorizes WDFW to consider lethal action to address repeated attacks by wolves on livestock.

“I have reviewed the pack’s pattern of depredation along with the department’s wolf plan and wolf-livestock interaction protocol, and have concluded this action is warranted,” Susewind said. “The evidence shows that non-lethal measures have not been successful, and the pack will continue preying on livestock unless we take action to change its behavior.”

Under the protocol developed in conjunction with WDFW’s Wolf Advisory Group, the department can consider lethal action against a wolf pack if the pack repeatedly kills or injures livestock three times within a 30-day period or four times in 10 months. Ranchers who sustain those losses must have used at least two approved non-lethal measures to protect their livestock to be considered for an authorization for lethal action.

Based on a recent court order, the department must provide one business day (8 court hours) advance public notice before initiating lethal action on wolves. Consequently, the department will initiate lethal removal efforts no earlier than 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20.

Martorello said the last three depredations occurred within a 30-day period and met the department’s guidelines for considering lethal action. The department has documented six depredations by the Togo pack since last fall, and five met the department’s expectations for employing non-lethal conflict prevention measures.

The rancher whose herd sustained the last three depredations has taken several steps to discourage wolf predation. At the start of the grazing season, he delayed turnout until late June so the calves would be larger and used bright strobe lights on his private pasture to deter wolves. Following turnout, he has removed sick or injured cattle from the allotment and deployed one or more range riders each day to help him check on his cattle. He has also moved his cattle when necessary to avoid wolves.

The Togo pack is one of 22 wolf packs and a minimum of 122 wolves documented in Washington state by WDFW as of March 2018. Annual surveys have shown the population growing at a rate of about 30 percent each year.

For more information about wolf management actions and the Togo pack, see Update on Washington Wolves at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/.

-WDFW-

=========================================================

Monday August 20, 2018 17:03 PDT

WDFW WILDLIFE PROGRAM

Gray Wolf Update


A second update on wolf activities was added today to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website HERE

-WDFW-

=========================================================

Tuesday August 21, 2018 16:09 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Judge issues temporary restraining order prohibiting Togo lethal removal


OLYMPIA – A Thurston County Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order Aug. 20 that prohibits the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from lethally removing one or more wolves from the Togo pack in northern Ferry County.

Earlier in the day, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind had authorized the staff to take lethal action in response to multiple confirmed livestock depredations by the pack since last November, including three confirmed incidents in the last 30 days.

Judge Chris Lanese granted the restraining order sought by the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands, which filed the request for injunction following Susewind's authorization. The judge said the plaintiffs' complaint met the criteria for a temporary restraining order under the state Administrative Procedures Act.

Lanese told WDFW and the plaintiffs to return to court Aug. 31 for a hearing on a preliminary injunction to determine whether to replace the restraining order with a longer-lasting court order.

In announcing his decision, Lanese specified that the ruling applied only to the Togo lethal removal decision.

Donny Martorello, WDFW wolf policy lead, said WDFW staff would continue to work with livestock producers to deploy non-lethal deterrents to help protect their cattle.

Monday's ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by the environmental groups within the terms of a court order earlier this year. The order requires WDFW to provide a minimum of eight business hours' notice from the time of the director's authorization to the start of a lethal removal action.

Detailed information about the Togo pack and its depredation history is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/updates.php.

-WDFW-

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Friday August 24, 2018 12:13 PDT

WDFW WILDLIFE PROGRAM

Gray Wolf Update


A new update on wolf activities is available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website HERE

-WDFW-

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostSun Aug 26, 2018 8:14 pm 
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Makes me feel so special knowing that wildlife management in Washington State is being done by Center for Biological Diversity and the courts instead of the legislatively created Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. dizzy.gif

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PostTue Aug 28, 2018 10:56 pm 
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Monday August 28, 2018 13:37 PDT

WDFW WILDLIFE PROGRAM

Gray Wolf Update


A new update on wolf activities is available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website HERE

WDFW, in their Wolf Update of 08/28/18 wrote:
On Aug. 27, four days after a Ferry County livestock producer reported shooting at a collared adult wolf in self-defense, a WDFW wolf biologist and a county wildlife specialist located the animal – injured but mobile – in the Togo pack territory in northeast Washington. Radio signals and recent GPS locations from the collared wolf led biologists to the vicinity where they saw and identified the wounded animal as the adult black male from the Togo pack.

The wolf biologist got within approximately 20 yards of the injured wolf and saw that its left rear leg appeared to be broken below the knee. Within seconds, the wolf ran into a wooded area. A remote camera in the area showed that the adult female from the Togo pack had been nearby the night before.

Based on their experience with other animals, WDFW wolf managers believe the injured wolf has a good chance of surviving, and the department will continue to monitor its movements. If the wolf does not remain active, the department will consider whether it should be euthanized.

The department is also continuing its investigation into the shooting incident.  Additional information appears in four earlier wolf updates on the Togo pack, all of which appear below.


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PostFri Aug 31, 2018 8:11 pm 
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Friday August 31, 2018 16:27 PDT

WDFW WILDLIFE PROGRAM

Gray Wolf Update


A new update on wolf activities is available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website HERE.

WDFW, in its Wolf Update of August 31, 2018 wrote:
OLYMPIA – A Thurston County Superior Court judge today issued an order permitting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to initiate lethal action to remove the adult male wolf from a pack that has repeatedly preyed on livestock in northeast Washington.

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind welcomed the decision by Judge Carol Murphy to deny a request for a preliminary injunction by two environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands, which would have prohibited the wolf’s removal. In rejecting the plaintiffs’ request, Murphy said they had not met the legal standard required for her to issue an injunction.

As a result, a temporary restraining order issued by the court on Aug. 20, which has prohibited WDFW’s lethal removal action, will expire at 5 p.m. today.

Consistent with the department’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol, Susewind authorized WDFW staff to kill the adult male member of the Togo pack after investigators confirmed the pack had been involved in six livestock depredations in the past 10 months and three in the 30 days preceding Aug. 20.

A rancher said he shot at the wolf, which has been fitted with a GPS collar, in self-defense on Aug. 23. WDFW staff have confirmed the wolf sustained what appeared to be a broken leg, although it has remained mobile.

Susewind said the department would implement the lethal removal action upon the expiration of the temporary restraining order, based on the recommendation of WDFW wolf managers, who said:
•There is no evidence to indicate the pack’s behavior – the killing of livestock – will change.
•While the male wolf is injured, the adult female may have trouble feeding both the adult male and her two pups unless she continues to prey on livestock.
•It is more difficult for wolves to successfully capture wild game animals, such as deer and elk, than cows and calves.

More information about the Togo pack, including reports of the investigations into six livestock depredations attributed to the pack, are available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/updates.php.

-WDFW-

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PostSun Sep 02, 2018 5:00 pm 
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Sunday September 02, 2018 14:03 PDT

WDFW WILDLIFE PROGRAM

Gray Wolf Update


A new update on wolf activities is available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website HERE

WDFW, in its update of 09/02/18 wrote:
On Sept. 2, 2018, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) marksman fatally shot the collared male member of the Togo wolf pack, which has repeatedly preyed on livestock in northern Ferry County.

WDFW officials said the wolf, which was wearing a radio collar that provided location data, was shot from a helicopter this morning within the pack’s territory east of Danville, just south of the U.S.-Canada border.

Wolf managers will perform a necropsy on the wolf’s carcass as soon as possible. Meanwhile, field staff will continue to monitor the Togo pack’s activities and work with the livestock producer to prevent further conflicts.

WDFW personnel on foot attempted to locate the wolf on Friday evening, Aug. 31, following the expiration of a temporary restraining order that had prevented the wolf’s removal. They returned to the area on Saturday, Sept. 1, but did not see the animal either day.

On Aug. 23, a livestock producer reported shooting the collared wolf in self-defense while checking on his cattle. A WDFW wolf biologist and a county wildlife specialist located the wolf on Aug. 27 and reported the animal’s left rear leg appeared to be broken. Officials said today the dead wolf’s left rear leg was injured.

Wolf managers have confirmed the pack’s involvement in six separate depredation incidents since last November, including three in the month preceding Aug. 20, when WDFW Director Kelly Susewind authorized the lethal removal under the terms of the department’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and its wolf-livestock interaction protocol.

More information about the pack and events leading to the lethal removal is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/updates.php.

-WDFW-

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