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October 28, 2005

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has extended the public comment period for revisions to the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan to ensure that those with an interest in wolves have sufficient time to provide input.


The decision was made after the Union County Cattlemen, the Oregon Cattlemen's Association and the Union County Board of Commissioners made formal requests. State law provides for an agency extension of its intended rulemaking action at the request of interested parties.


With the new timeline, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to make a final rulemaking decision on the proposed wolf plan revisions and associated administrative rules beginning at 1 p.m. during the Commission's meeting Thursday, Dec. 1, in Salem.


The Commission decided last month to enter rulemaking for a limited purpose -- to propose amending the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan based on three proposed legislative enhancements that were not acted on by the 2005 Oregon Legislature.


Those enhancements, which are the only portion of the plan subject to public comment, would have:

-- Designated the wolf as a special status mammal under the game mammal statute,

-- Created a state-funded compensation program for livestock killed by wolves, and

-- Allowed livestock owners without a permit to kill wolves caught 'in the act' of killing livestock.


If the proposed amendments are adopted by the Commission, the rest of the plan will remain unchanged.


The Commission approved the Oregon wolf plan last February after a comprehensive public involvement effort involving a citizen committee that met for more than a year to write a draft plan and a four-month public comment period.


The proposed revisions to the plan and administrative rules, as well as information considered before the plan was adopted in February 2005 can be found on ODFW's Web site at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves/.


The official public comment period for rulemaking began Oct. 1. Written comments on the revisions and draft rules must be submitted no later than close of business Wednesday, Nov. 30. A final opportunity to offer verbal testimony will be available during a public hearing at the Dec. 1 Commission meeting at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife headquarters, 3406 Cherry Avenue N.E. in Salem.


Written public comments on the plan revisions will be accepted at the following locations:

-- E-mail: Anne.M.Pressentin@state.or.us.

-- Fax: 503-657-2050.

-- Mail: ODFW NW Region, 17330 S.E. Evelyn St., Clackamas, OR 97015.


Oregon's wolf plan does not call for actively reintroducing wolves from other states or provinces, but managing wolves that naturally disperse into Oregon. No wolves are confirmed in Oregon at this time, but biologists expect wolves to establish a permanent Oregon population as the Idaho wolf population grows and disperses. Wolves currently are protected under both the state and federal endangered species acts.





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