PORTLAND - The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has asked for a report to be delivered March 21 on the range of alternatives that might be available to manage gray wolves in Oregon and a proposal to address potential livestock depredation by wolves.
In a departure from an earlier interpretation, an in-depth legal review of Oregon's Endangered Species Act by the Oregon Department of Justice found that the act of killing a wolf is prohibited on both public and private lands. The commission has the authority to allow "take" - killing or taking possession or control - under certain circumstances if it is consistent with conservation of the species. Methods to allow take while conserving the species could include scientific take permits, damage take permits, wildlife removal and holding permits, harassment permits, survival guidelines, endangered species management plans, or incidental take permits.
The memorandum to the commission was presented recently during the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the seven-member panel. The commission is the rule-making body for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The legal memo, dated Jan. 31, 2003, said under the Oregon ESA, the commission must conserve the species in Oregon and cannot select a "no protection" alternative. In addition, the state ESA prevents the commission from requiring that all wolves migrating to Oregon from Idaho be returned.
The information requested by the commission will be presented by ODFW staff at the commission's next meeting in Newport. The information to be presented in March also will include a summary of all the written comments received during a series of 15 town hall meetings held from November 2002-January 2003.
The legal information presented at the recent meeting will be posted to the ODFW Web site at www.dfw.state.or.us/ODFWhtml/InfoCntrWild/gray_wolf/wolf_main.htm .
Public comments on wolf issues continue to be accepted by the commission. Written comments may be submitted to ODFW Information and Education Division, P.O. Box 59, Portland, OR 97207.