May 11, 2011
Georgia Parham 812-334-4261 x 1203
Comment Period Begins May 5 on Wolf Delisting Proposal; Public Hearing Set for May 18, 2011
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protection for wolves in the western Great Lakes region will publish in the Federal Register Thursday, May 5, 2011, initiating a 60-day public comment period.
The Service will host a public information meeting and public hearing on May 18, 2011, at the Northern Great Lakes Center, 29270 County Highway G, in Ashland, Wisconsin. The informational meeting will be held from 6 pm to 7:15 pm, and members of the public will have the opportunity to receive information and ask questions about the Service’s proposal. The meeting will be followed by a public hearing from 7:30 pm to 9 pm, during which the public is invited to provide comments on the proposal.
In particular, the Service is interested in information on threats and impacts on wolves and their habitat, and any data on the taxonomy of wolves in the region and throughout the eastern United States.
The proposal identifies the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of wolves, which includes a core area of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as parts of adjacent states that are within the range of wolves dispersing from the core recovery area. After reviewing the latest available scientific and taxonomic information, the Service now recognizes the presence of two species of wolves in the western Great Lakes area: the gray wolf (Canis lupus), the wolf species currently listed under the ESA, and the eastern wolf (Canis lycaon), with a historical range that includes portions of eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. Recent wolf genetic studies indicate that what was formerly thought to be a subspecies of gray wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) is actually a distinct species (Canis lycaon). To establish the status of this newly recognized species, the Service is initiating a review of C. lycaon throughout its range in the United States and Canada.
The Service is seeking information from governmental agencies, Native American tribes, scientific community, industry and any other interested parties on threats, population trends, and other data that could affect the long-term survival of the Western Great Lakes DPS of the gray wolf. The Service is also seeking information on the status of the eastern wolf (Canis lycaon) throughout its range in the United States and Canada.
Written comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. [FWS-R3-ES-2011-0029].
U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. [FWS-R3-ES-2011-0029]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
Following the close of the public comment period on July 5, 2011, the Service will analyze information received and develop a final rule. The final rule, which will include information gained from the status review of Canis lycaon, is expected by the end of 2011.
For more information on wolves in the western Great Lakes, visit www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.