Wisconsin Wolf NEPA
Recovery Take Permit Issued for Wisconsin Wolves
Update: As a result of
an injunction by Federal District Court, the Fish and Wildlife Service revoked
this subpermit on September 13, 2005.
On April 1, 2005, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a depredation control subpermit to the Wisconsin DNR (DNR) and USDA Wildlife Services for the lethal take of gray wolves. The subpermit allows specified employees of the DNR, USDA Wildlife Services, and the Ho-Chunk Nation to take up to 34 wolves attacking livestock in 2005. It also allows a small number of wolves with severe cases of mange, or which are severely injured, to be euthanized.
In a letter dated February 11, 2005 the DNR had requested that the Fish and Wildlife Service issue to them a "Recovery Take Permit" allowing for the take of gray wolves while conducting research, surveys, and depredation control (including lethal control) activities. During the past two years, the DNR had conducted these activities and related take under special regulations developed under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A court ruling issued on January 31, 2005 ruled against the Service's 2003 reclassification of gray wolves from endangered to threatened. The section 4(d) rule applied only to a threatened species and was therefore eliminated when the court decision was issued.
Prior to the reclassification in 2003, the DNR had been issued a recovery subpermit allowing for very limited lethal control of depredating wolves. On February 28, 2005, a similar subpermit was issued to DNR to take up to 8 wolves known to be repeat depredators. The subpermit issued on April 1 will allow the DNR to take approximately the same percentage of depredating wolves from the population that they have in the past two years under the section 4(d) rule. During the past two years, the Wisconsin wolf population has remained healthy and has continued to expand in numbers.
Provided below are copies of the Recovery Take Permit, an evaluation of the permit request, a biological opinion of the impacts upon the wolf population of issuing the permit, the Services NEPA determination (categorical exclusion) for issuing the permit, and the Environmental Assessment that Wildlife Services developed in 2003 prior to implementing wolf control under the section 4(d) rule.