New bill could delist Great Lakes wolves
Great Lakes wolves may be delisted if a new bill is approved. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin recently introduced The Northern Great Lakes Wolf Recovery Act, which targets wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Specifically, it aims to establish an advisory council that includes agriculture representatives, Native and Tribal communities, heads of impacted state agencies, and wolf management experts and scientists to help create a final delisting rule for the entire region, according to WDIO ABC News.
“I have long supported commonsense efforts to delist the gray wolf in Wisconsin because the science shows that the population has recovered in the Great Lakes region. While other parts of the country have different wolf populations and management needs, this legislation will allow our agriculture, Tribal, scientific, and impacted communities to come together to create a solution that works for Wisconsin,” said Baldwin. “The Northern Great Lakes Wolf Recovery Act is a deliberate approach that follows the science and gives impacted communities a seat at the table as we work together to be responsible stewards of Wisconsin’s gray wolf population.”
There are currently about 4,000 wolves across the Great Lakes states, according to Wildlife Institute.
The Northern Great Lakes Wolf Recovery Act would require the following:
Define the Northern Great Lakes Region: Expand the Minnesota population segment currently listed as “threatened,” which has remained in place since 1978 except for periods of complete delisting, to statutorily include Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Create a Northern Great Lakes Region Gray Wolf Advisory Committee: Require the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to establish the Northern Great Lakes Region Gray Wolf Advisory Committee, which will include membership from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service, federally recognized Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations, heads of impacted-state agencies, and experts of wolf biology, management, and predation.
Re-Draft Gray Wolf Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan (PDMP): Require the USFWS to redraft the outdated 2008 PDMP for the gray wolf as it applies to the Northern Great Lakes Region population, in consultation with the Committee both during the drafting process and during the 5-year period post delisting.
Issue a Gray Wolf Delisting Rule: Require the issuance of a delisting rule for gray wolves in the Northern Great Lakes Region, which shall be drafted in consultation with the Committee, in order to successfully, and in the long term, return the species to state management in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The advisory committee would also be part of the five-year post-delisting monitoring period to ensure that the wolf population is sustainable without any threat or massive drop in the population.
“Wolf populations are no longer endangered, and in fact exceed the national delisting criteria in the Midwest. All these wolves represent a vibrant and dramatic tribute to the success of the Endangered Species Act. Wisconsin Farmers Union supports the delisting of wolves as an endangered species and supports return to state control of wolf management,” said Michelle Ramirez-White, Policy Coordinator at the Wisconsin Farmers Union.
“As with any regulation of wild animal species, proper management not only ensures the proliferation of healthy populations of that species but assists in the appropriate balance of other species that share Wisconsin’s waters and woods with them. The wolf population in the Northern Great Lake region additionally affects livestock and deprivation by wolves is a daily issue that many farmers in the state of Wisconsin deal with,” said Tim Zindl, President of the Wisconsin Game Preserve Association. “The delisting of Wolves is long overdue and will be a monumental step in the proper management of the resources we so cherish.”