Minnesota wolf management plan enters final week of public comment period
One week remains to submit a comment concerning the Minnesota draft wolf management plan. The public comment period will officially end at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, August 8.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is updating the 2001 wolf management plan, and before finalization, the DNR wants to gather public feedback and comments.
The updated management plan provides a historical look at wolf populations and distribution, factors that influence human and wolf conflict, and the current Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection status. The draft plan also sets out a framework for future decisions about whether to hold a wolf hunting or trapping season should the wolf be removed from the federal ESA.
Currently, wolves in Minnesota are listed as threatened under the federal ESA.
While the plan aims to assess and update information, the overall objective is to create a plan that reflects current public attitudes and preferences.
“Some of the key changes, I think, are there’s an emphasis on tribal and public perspectives and their roles in wolf conservation and management,” Dan Stark, wildlife operations manager with the Minnesota DNR.
Stark explains that wolf populations across Minnesota have been relatively stable over the last several decades. While populations have fluctuated slightly since 2014, the population estimate remains about 2700.
In an effort to gather public feedback, the DNR hosted an informational webinar on July 13 as an opportunity for the public to learn more about the updated plan and ask a question or submit a comment. Watch the recorded informational webinar here.
Stark and the DNR have a busy couple of months ahead. After compiling all of the public comments and summarizing the information, Stark said the DNR anticipates having the final wolf management plan completed by fall of 2022.
He shares that while everyone may not agree with everything included within the wolf management plan, he hopes that there they can recognize things that they do support.
“It’s got to make sure that we have a healthy wolf population in the state, and that we continue to support having that population,” he adds, “Also addressing the conflicts that occur because having wolves on the landscape does create problems.”
Individuals interested in submitting comments can do so in several ways. Either by completing an online survey, emailing DNR officials at wolfplan.dnr.@state.mn.us, or mailing written comments to Wolf Plan, Box 20, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.
To learn more about wolves in Minnesota or read the draft management plan, visit the DNR website.
WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with Dan Stark, wildlife operations manager with the Minnesota DNR, about the wolf management plan. Audio from the interview and the informational webinar below.