Colorado Wolf Reintroduction – Your Action is Needed NOW
By Dave Shaffer
ACTION NEEDED NOW: Two wolf management bills just passed the Colorado House and Senate, and GOV. Polis needs to sign them into law.
As we’ve been discussing for a while, there are plans to begin reintroducing more wolves to the Western Slope region of Colorado no later than the end of this year. This wolf reintroduction was authorized by Colorado’s Proposition 114 which barely passed on Nov. 3, 2020, by the smallest of margins, 50.91% to 49.09%.
Recently, a group of Colorado lawmakers attempted to inject some sanity into the wolf reintroduction plan by introducing two bills, SB23-256 and SB23-255 in the Senate and House, which were resoundingly approved by the Colorado state legislature.
SB23-256 and SB23-255 would (1) mandate a 10(j)-waiver upholding the original terms of Proposition 114 before any wolves hit the ground and (2) appropriate funds for livestock owner compensation for wolf-caused injury and losses. With wolf reintroduction still scheduled to happen by December 31, 2023, this 10(j)-waiver must be granted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in order to remove the Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections and redirect jurisdiction for wolf management from USFWS to the state.
These bills are important safeguards that would return wildlife management decisions to the people actually doing the management work in Colorado, who could then include hunting as part of their management plan. Even though the passage of these bills is a significant win for hunters, livestock owners, native wildlife, and residents of Colorado, nothing is guaranteed until they are signed by the Governor.
Both bills are currently on Gov. Jared Polis’ desk so now is the time to let him know you support SB23-256 and SB23-255 and ask that he sign them into law as soon as possible.
I am writing to express my support for SB23-256 and SB23-255. These bills propose a comprehensive and balanced approach to manage the reintroduction of wolves in Colorado. By offering a 10(j) waiver for flexible wolf population management and providing compensation for livestock owners potentially affected by wolf activity, these bills ensure a fair and well-managed reintroduction process. I urge you to sign these bills into law.
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