February 2023 Edition | Volume 77, Issue 2
Published since 1946
Colorado Initiates Public Review of Wolf Reintroduction and Management Plan
In the December ONB, we reported that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) released its 293-page draft Wolf Restoration and Management Plan for public review and comment. Since the initial story, the Commission has held its first in-person public meetings on January 19, 25, and February 7 in Colorado Springs, Gunnison, and Rifle, respectively. Significantly more opportunities for public comment have been scheduled with 10 more virtual, hybrid, and in-person meetings planned around the state according to this schedule posted by the Commission.
The reintroduction plan uses an “impact management” approach and adaptive management framework to address both anticipated and unexpected results of reintroducing 30 to 50 wolves captured in Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming to state and private lands west of the Continental Divide over five years beginning in 2024. Wolves would not be released on federal lands due to potential delays associated with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for such releases. The Commission will finalize the plan at its May meeting so CPW staff can move forward with reintroduction next fall and winter as required by an initiative passed by voters in 2020. The reintroduced wolves will initially be listed as “Endangered” under state law. Their status under federal law will be either “Endangered” or “Experimental, non-essential” pending the outcome of a separate decision-making process being conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Interested parties that cannot participate in a meeting can submit written comments online.