The public comment period for the draft plan for managing wolves in Idaho once they come off the federal list of endangered species will end September 1.
The plan, which was written by a committee established by the Idaho legislature, can be found on the Fish and Game web site at http://www.state.id.us/fishgame in the "What's New" section or copies may be obtained through the Fish and Game information and education bureau at 208-334-3746. Copies are also available at most local libraries.
Written comment to the Idaho Wolf Oversight Committee will be accepted until September 1. Comments can be sent to the committee at Idaho Legislative Wolf Oversight Committee, P.O. Box 70029, Boise, ID 83707.
The Wolf Oversight Committee was established by the Idaho legislature in 1998 to develop a plan for managing Idaho's wolf population after wolves are no longer listed under the Endangered Species Act. Approved wolf management plans must be in effect in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming before populations are delisted.
These plans must include measures to ensure that wolf populations will be maintained so they do not decline to the point that they must be protected by the Endangered Species Act. If 30 litters of pups are not produced annually in the three-state area after delisting, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will probably place wolves back on the endangered species list in the northern Rockies and reassume authority for management and recovery.
Since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves in 1995, the Idaho population has grown to about 200, including litters of pups born this spring. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said it intends to begin the delisting process after a total of at least 30 breeding pairs of wolves have produced litters each year for three consecutive years in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, but state management plans must be approved and placed in effect before the process can begin.
The Wolf Oversight Committee will review comments it receives, make any necessary changes to the plan and submit a final state wolf management plan to the legislature in January 2001.