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CPW begins public meetings for input on Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan Draft

Colorado Parks and Wildlife provides details on gray wolves following passage of Proposition 114
Posted at 4:13 PM, Jan 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 18:27:32-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Colorado Parks and Wildlife kick off the first of many public meetings seeking input on the Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan Draft that the department released in December of 2022.

Meetings kick off Thursday in Colorado Springs and the Public can provide comments in person or through an online comment form. The details of the Colorado Springs meeting are below or can be live-streamed.

The CPW Commission will be taking the public comments heard during the five hearings across Colorado to make changes to the final wolf restoration plan draft.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife began the process of developing a plan to reintroduce Grey Wolfs in Colorado following the passage of Proposition 114 in 2020.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife began the development of the draft in 2021 by assembling a plan to include public input and over 2021 CPW held 47 public meetings taking input from over 3,400 Coloradans.

To draft the plan CPW has been in the process of establishing two advisory bodies. The first of these bodies are composed of a Technical Working Group (TWG) to provide recommendations based on scientific-based information, review the objective of CPW, and provide own knowledge at the state/federal/tribal level.

The second body CPW is using to draft the plan is a Stakeholder Advisory Group to provide recommendations, to CPW staff and the CPW Commission on the social implications of the plan.

Major Highlights of the Plan include:

Livestock conflicts and compensation

  • CPW will reintroduce 30 to 50 wolves in total over the next 3 - 5 years (10-15 animals per year).
  • Wolves will likely be sourced from populations in the northern Rockies in cooperation with the respective state wildlife agencies. 
  • Captured wolves will be reintroduced onto state and cooperating private lands in select areas west of the Continental Divide with a 60-mile buffer from neighboring states.

Legal Status Monitoring and Management

  • Wolves are both Federally and State protected as an Endangered Species in Colorado. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is engaged in a process to designate the Colorado wolf population as Experimental under Section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act. As wolf populations grow, Colorado’s gray wolf protection status may be downlisted from a State Endangered species to a State Threatened species. Wolves would no longer be included on the Colorado State Threatened and Endangered Species List should the population be recovered to 150 wolves for 2 successive years or 200 wolves with no time constraint.
  • CPW will place GPS monitoring collars on reintroduced wolves, and monitor wolf packs as they develop in the coming years.
  • The draft plan describes an impact-based management philosophy. Wolves will have both positive and negative impacts in the state. If wolves are causing a negative impact, CPW will utilize multiple management tools including education, nonlethal tools, and in rare cases involving wolf depredation lethal management to resolve the problem.
  • Wolves will be managed within Colorado using a phased approach, based on the number of animals present in the state.
  • The plan does not permit a regulated wolf hunt.

Restoration logistics

  • CPW’s Draft Conflict Minimization Program may provide temporary conflict minimization materials to livestock owners which include turbo fladry, shell-crackers, propane cannons and fox lights to prevent depredation incidents.
  • Wolf-livestock conflicts will be addressed on a case-by-case basis using a combination of appropriate management tools, including education, non-lethal conflict minimization techniques, damage payments and lethal take of wolves in rare cases specifically involving depredation.
  • If a depredation incident is confirmed by CPW, livestock owners can be reimbursed the fair market value of the animal, up to $8,000. The plan allows for reimbursement of veterinarian costs for the treatment of injured livestock or guard/herding animals.
  • In large open range settings, livestock owners will have the option of compensation for some production losses or indirect costs like decreased conception rates and other indirect losses on a case-by-case basis.
  • By statute, wolf depredation reimbursements will not be sourced from hunting and fishing license fees or associated federal grants.

To read the full Draft of the Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan.

To learn more about CPW's Wolf Restoration plan.
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