Most folks who are planning to attend, no doubt already know it, but this is a reminder.You will only be allowed to talk for 2-3 minutes, but the most important thing is to let the media know there is wolf support in the crowd.
Here is the schedule of the remaining hearings.
March 6, 2007, at Boise Convention Center on the Grove, 850 W. Front Street, Boise, ID
March 7, 2007, at Pendleton Red Lion Inn, 304 S.E. Nye Street, Pendleton, OR
March 8, 2007, at Oxford Inns and Suites, 15015 East Indiana Avenue, Spokane Valley, WA
In each location, the public meetings will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the public hearings will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A brief presentation on the Service’s proposal will be given during the public meetings at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and will be followed by a question-and-answer period. During the public hearing, formal oral testimony will be accepted. Written comments also will be accepted at the public meeting and the hearing.
Here are some talking points-
Today wolves are not ready to lose federal protection because:
-The Wyoming and Idaho plans will not protect wolves. Wolf management should not be turned over to states whose state wolf plans do not provide sufficient protections to ensure wolf populations will continue to exist.
-The FWS should not be including portions of adjacent states into the proposed area for delisting, especially where the adjacent states have asked not to be included. Washington State is just starting the development of its own wolf plan and does not want the FWS splitting off 1/3 of the state for differing levels of protection.
-Because wolves travel easily across state borders, protections in the Northern Rockies should not be lifted until all states (Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Montana) have wolf plans that can provide the continued protections wolves need to survive.
The boundaries FWS drew for including parts of Oregon and Washington don’t make sense for any potential wolf recovery in these states. The FWS has said the areas where federal protections would be lifted would be high conflict areas for wolves, but these are also the very areas wolves must travel through to recolonize elsewhere in the state.
-Robust wolf populations in Idaho and Wyoming are essential to return wolves to Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Utah, which are all part of the gray wolf’s historic range.
-Wyoming would allow wolves to be shot on sight in most of the State, and the Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected Wyoming’s management plan.
-Idaho Governor Butch Otter has said the state will seek to kill 75% of the wolf population; Idaho’s official position (based on Idaho House Joint Memorial 5 which prefaces the Idaho wolf Management plan) calls for removing all wolves from Idaho “by any means necessary.” Idaho has never repealed HJM 5. It is still official state policy.
It is not clear that current wolf populations are adequate to ensure recovery in the region. Human population growth, habitat development and disease (such as mange and parvo-virus) present ongoing challenges to wolf recovery.