The state and county representatives, and citizens of Northeast Washington, did a great job testifying at the wolf hearing in Olympia in support of the Department of Fish and Wildlife-requested wolf management legislation. The testimony from the Agriculture Committee Feb. 5 on House Bills 1191, 1219, 1337 and 1501 is available at tvw.org.
In summary, wolves in Eastern Washington – east of Highway 97 – have been removed from the endangered species list by the federal government. There are currently seven or eight breeding pairs in the region. They are doing great harm to longtime family ranching cattle businesses, and causing a loss in county revenue.
The state plan breaks up Washington into three sections, with each section requiring four breeding pairs for consecutive years before the state will delist the wolf from protected status. Northeast Washington quickly acquired four pairs, and now has seven or eight pairs. However, the wolf remains protected by state law until the other two state regions have and maintain four breeding pairs. Federally, they are no longer listed as endangered in Eastern Washington, yet under state law they remain protected until the other West Side locations have four breeding pairs for an extended time period.