Washington House committee OKs bill to move wolves – Washington 

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Washington House committee OKs bill to move wolves – Washington 

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OLYMPIA — Legislation directing the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to move wolves from east to west passed the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Feb. 1.

The bill, sponsored by northeast Washington Rep. Joel Kretz, was supported by urban lawmakers, but was opposed by Western Washington legislators whose rural districts would be candidates for receiving wolves.

“This is a difficult one for me. I may be a lone wolf on this one and be a ‘no’ vote. I understand why the bill is needed. and I think it’s going to pass here today, and so let’s call the roll,” said committee chairman Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen.

The committee voted 12-3 to recommend the House approve the bill. Two Republicans who also represent rural southwest Washington cast the other no votes.

House Bill 2771 declares that the eastern one-third of Washington has a host of thriving wolfpacks and urgently needs relief. Under the bill, WDFW would start a scientific review to translocate wolves to suitable regions unoccupied by wolves.

A review could take several years. The department would be required to report to the Legislature on its progress by the end of 2020.

Wolves are well established in northeast Washington and are showing signs of migrating toward the North Cascades. Wildlife managers also expect wolves to colonize the South Cascades, though WDFW has yet to document a pack in that region.

Wolves are a state-protected species and under current law will be until they are reproducing at least as far west as the Cascades.

Redistributing wolves within the state is an option to spur recovery, according to the state’s wolf plan. WDFW, however, says it expects wolves will disperse without help.

Kretz, whose expansive district has a majority of the state’s wolves, said he was more concerned about immediately taking pressure off his constituents, particularly ranchers.

“I appreciate people working with me on this,” he said.

Although against relocating wolves, Blake said the state’s wolf policy is unfair to northeast Washington. “We do have to deal with this,” he said.

The vote itself was highly unusual. Committee chairmen rarely allow votes on bills they oppose.

The Washington Farm Bureau and Washington Cattlemen’s Association supported the bill at an earlier hearing.

“It is an urgent, dire situation in northeast Washington,” the Farm Bureau’s director of government relations Tom Davis said, testifying on behalf of both organizations.

WDFW has culled wolfpacks five times since 2012 to stop chronic attacks on livestock.

Kretz has introduced bills to translocate wolves in prior years. This is the first time the proposal has won support from a committee. There is no similar bill under consideration in the Senate.

Wolves that were moved to the western two-thirds of Washington would come under the more-stringent protection of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Source: Washington House committee OKs bill to move wolves – Washington – Capital Press

By | 2018-02-05T22:40:38+00:00 February 5th, 2018|Ban Grazing Allotments, Protect The Wolves, Protect Washington Wolves|3 Comments


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  2. Rose Monjaraz February 6, 2018 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Wow….hopefully this passes…the Rep’s & Congress over in W. WA needs to get on board with this. There are many places the wolves would flourish, the Gifford Pinchot forest would be a great start….I worked on this forest a decade it would work.

  3. Sally Wurster February 7, 2018 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    This is outrageous to interfere with a supposedly protected species. I have followed the slaughter of the 3 wolf packs in eastern WA and how horribly the state allowed a rancher to call the shots. I saw what was done to a professor and his research. I watched it all for the past 6 years. This is not a solution I believe will work. Other wolves will move in to the area or these wolves will return home and will be slaughtered again because the state kowtows to a certain rancher that grazes his cattle on public lands and does nothing to tend them. Many people from around the country are appalled by how this has been handled.

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