Wolf reintroduction meetings have been taking place in all corners of Colorado for the last 18 months. During an informational meeting held on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at Garfield County Fairgrounds, the apprehension and concern from all stakeholders was palpable. Tom Harrington, ranch manager at Crystal River Ranch, eloquently summed up the sentiments of livestock producers. “Being compensated for the losses of what we put our lives into every day won’t make it tolerable,” he stated.
The event, sponsored by Holy Cross Cattlemen’s Association, Western Landowners Alliance, the Bookcliff, Mount Sopris and South Side Conservation districts, and the Garfield County Colorado State University Extension, had approximately 165 in attendance. Topics of discussion included a 10(j) rule update, managing and mitigating conflicts on grazing allotments, compensation, importance of record keeping for producers and resources for conflict mitigation.
“We don’t want to see ranchers lose heart, cash-in and raise houses instead of livestock,” said Lenny Klinglesmith, rancher from Meeker and member of the Stakeholder Advisory Group. “We have to put our independent thinking aside and work together. Communicate with your neighbors.”
Matt Yamashita, Colorado Public Wildlife’s (CPW) Area 8 wildlife manager, had this to say. “CPW has been tasked with reintroduction and implementation of wolves in the State of Colorado by Dec. 31. We are working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to capture up to 10 wolves. Capture period is mid-December to March.” The reintroduction efforts will be focused in Eagle, Grand and Summit counties.
Scott Becker, Region 6 wolf coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fielded questions about the finalized designation of Colorado’s gray wolves as an experimental population under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act. That decision, approved by Fish and Wildlife on Nov. 7, goes into effect on Dec. 8. Wolves remain on the state’s Threatened and Endangered Species List, and will be managed in a phased approach.
In Phases I and II, there are two types of permits that CPW can issue as management tools. A limited duration permit is required for lethal take by private landowners in the event of chronic depredation. A retroactive permit may be issued for taking of wolves in the act of attacking or chasing livestock.
To view CPW’s Wolf Resource Guide, visit www.bit.ly/CPWResourceGuide. For Colorado’s final Wolf Restoration and Management Plan, visit www.bit.ly/WolfManagementPlan. And, to view more on the 10(j) rule, visit