Colorado gray wolf experimental population designation 

As the result of a statewide voter-led initiative passed in November 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is finalizing a rule to establish an experimental population of gray wolves in Colorado under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in support of the state of Colorado’s voter-mandated gray wolf reintroduction program. The final environmental impact statement and draft record of decision are now available for public review and is intended to accommodate the state of Colorado’s gray wolf reintroduction planned for late 2023.   

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) intends to reintroduce the gray wolf in a portion of the species’ historical range in Colorado no later than December 31, 2023. CPW requested the designation of an experimental population under section 10(j) of the ESA to provide the state with increased flexibility to manage wolves once reintroduced in Colorado. Learn more about 10(j) rules here.

Current status

On September 15, 2023 the Service published the final environmental impact statement and draft record of decision, which will formally appear in the Federal Register on September 19, 2023. The Service will issue a final ROD and 10(j) experimental population designation no sooner than 30 days after this announcement is published. A 30-day notice period is required between the publication of the draft ROD and final ROD.  

A gray wolf lays in the the snow-covered grass

ESA status: endangered (February 2022) except Northern Rocky Mtn of ID, MT, WY; eastern 1/3 of OR, WA; north-central UT; threatened (Dec 2014) in MN. 

The gray wolf, being a keystone predator, is an integral component of the...

FWS Focus
Section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act

This document provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act and experimental populations.