Last week, Colorado took a step towards reintroducing wolves to the Centennial State following the passage of Proposal 114 last November. During its virtual meeting, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission provided direction to Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) towards the creation of a “robust, adaptive management plan” with a 10-1 majority vote, the agency reported.
“We have direction from the voters of Colorado to develop a reintroduction and management plan for gray wolves as transparently and as expeditiously as possible,” said CPW Director Dan Prenzlow. “This authorizes us to move forward in a phased approach that will allow us to be both efficient and flexible as we enact the plan. We will introduce wolves in Colorado no later than Dec. 31, 2023.”
As goHUNT previously reported, this is the first time that voters had a say in state wildlife management strategy. Under the new measure, CPW is required to draft a plan that allows for the wolf reintroduction into the Western Slope by the end of 2023. To do that, CPW Assistant Director for Aquatics, Terrestrial and Natural Resources Reid DeWalt shared action steps to get the reintroduction effort underway.
“Our first steps will be to begin a thorough stakeholder engagement process across Colorado to ensure robust participation and input while working to accomplish the needed steps for a successful reintroduction process,” said DeWalt. “The main objectives of our proposed outreach strategy are: gathering and sharing information to build public awareness and promote engagement across the state, designing and implementing an inclusive and transparent process to meet the requirements outlined in Proposition 114, collaborating with technical experts and diverse stakeholders to share knowledge and draft management and conservation strategies, and fostering commitment and collaboration toward plan implementation.”
CPW will establish a Technical Working Group and a Stakeholder Working Group to advise the commission on various issues during the process. According to the agency, the Technical Working Group will be “initially” responsible for “[p]roposing of conservation objectives and management strategies that CPW will incorporate into its draft plan and [d]eveloping the details of the damage prevention and compensation program” while the Stakeholder Advisory Group will “[s]upport development of draft strategies by representing a range of viewpoints and geographic areas within the state and [m]ake substantive contributions for consideration to the plan(s) developed by the Technical Working Group.”
The commission’s role in the reintroduction process is to consider “options for facilitating public involvement and approving the public involvement process to develop the plan,” receive “input from CPW staff, the public, stakeholders, and technical experts,” provide feedback on draft management concepts and strategies,” and approve “the final plan,” according to the agency.
If you’re interested in applying for the Stakeholder Advisory Group or stay up-to-date on future meetings to discuss CPW’s wolf reintroduction, check out CPW’s Wolf Management Plan. All agendas, data and draft materials for these meetings will be available HERE.
CPW plans to hold virtual public meetings February through May to collect input on wolf conservation/management in the state.