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Nov20

Double Your Donation to Protect Wolves & Wild Places!

CWMRH-MatchingGiftHeader-lowerresPhoto credits (Wolf photo: ODFW. Devil's Staircase photo: Tim Giraudier.)
 
We envision vast old-growth forests, rivers full of wild salmon, wolves howling in the backcountry, and vibrant communities sustained by the unique landscapes of the Cascadia Bioregion.
 
This has been such an exciting, challenging, and historic year for conservation work and wolves throughout Cascadia!  We need your help to continue protecting, preserving, and restoring our wild places and creatures.  By making a tax-deductible donation now, you can double your impact because Mountain Rose Herbs will match every donation through the month of November dollar for dollar up to $5,000!
 
 
Cascadia Wildlands motto is: “We Like It Wild.” But it could just as easily be: “We Get Things Done.”  This is precisely why Cascadia Wildlands is one of the main nonprofit organizations which Mountain Rose Herbs supports.  
 
Mountain Rose Herbs is passionate about incorporating sustainability and ecological harmony into the heart of everything we do.  As plant lovers and herbalists, we are intimately connected with the incredible healing power and beauty offered through our experiences with the wild.   As an herbal company, we have worked to infuse this nature centered perspective into all of our practices. 
 
We need organizations like Cascadia Wildlands to continue fighting for, protecting, preserving, and rebuilding our wild ecosystems throughout the Pacific Northwest from central Alaska to northern California.  The fierce grassroots organization is instrumental in protecting and restoring many of the places and creatures that we all cherish.  
 
Join us in protecting and preserving Cascadia!  Every dollar raised will be matched and will go directly towards wildlands and species conservation. 
 
Cascadia Wildlands is currently working on many critical projects and campaigns including:
 
1. Restoring wolves back into the Pacific West.
2. Halting coyote and wolf killing contests.
3. Safeguarding fish and wildlife habitat in Oregon's Elliott State Forest.
4. Stopping old-growth clearcutting in Alaska’s renowned Tongass National Forest.
5. And much, much more.
 
If you’d like to help protect and preserve Cascadia, then please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.  To learn more about Cascadia Wildlands and our current campaigns, recent victories, and upcoming events, please visit www.CascWild.org
 
 
Sincerely,
 
Irene
 
Board of Directors, Cascadia Wildlands
Customer Experience Director, Mountain Rose Herbs
mrh logo
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nov17

Conservationists Challenge Insufficient Lynx Protection

Press Release
For Immediate Release
November 17, 2014
 
Contacts: 
Nick Cady, Legal Director, Cascadia Wildlands, 314-482-3746
John Mellgren, Attorney, Western Environmental Law Center, 541-525-5087 
 
Conservationists Challenge Insufficient Lynx Protection
Feds Fail to Protect Rare Cat’s Habitat in Oregon and Washington, Undermining Recovery
 
EUGENE, Ore. —Today, the Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in federal court under the Endangered Species Act for inadequately protecting Canada lynx habitat, a canadian-lynxthreatened species, on behalf of WildEarth Guardians, Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild, and Conservation Northwest. 
 
In September, USFWS announced a two-part decision expanding the protection of individual cats to wherever they are found in the Lower 48, not just in select states. However, at the same time, the agency undermined the cat’s recovery by excluding large swaths of its range from critical habitat designation.
 
Despite mounting evidence that lynx habitat is more expansive than previously thought, USFWS announced it will exclude all occupied lynx habitat in the Southern Rockies, and important lynx habitat in parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and other states in the species’ historic, current, and available range. 
 
“Washington is home to a very important population of rare lynx, and Oregon contains large areas of lynx-compatible habitat that are important for the future recovery of these wild cats,” said John Mellgren, Staff Attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center. “By excluding these areas, the Service is failing its obligation to ensure that lynx can recover across the American west.” 
 
USFWS first listed lynx as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 2000. The listing protects individual lynx from harm. Under the ESA, the Service is also required to designate critical habitat to ensure the long-term survival and recovery of the species. However, the Service failed to designate any critical habitat for the species until 2006. (Federal agencies are required to consult with USFWS on actions they carry out, fund, or authorize to ensure that their actions will not destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. The designation does not impact private property.)
 
That designation was inadequate, and after two successful lawsuits brought by conservationists in 2008 and 2010, a district court in Montana left USFWS’s meager lynx habitat protection in place, but remanded it to the agency for improvement. This resulted in still inadequate habitat designation. 
 
Although lynx habitat is under threat throughout the contiguous U.S., the Service’s new designation again excluded much of the cat’s last best habitat in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Oregon from protection, and failed to protect vast tracts in Maine, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Wyoming. The new designation also failed to protect 2,593 square miles of lynx habitat that the Service originally proposed to protect in 2013.
“The Service, through this new rule, is attempting to protect just enough areas to prevent extinction,” said Nick Cady with Cascadia Wildlands. “This bare minimum effort by the agency is indicative of a troubling pattern of ignoring the mandate to recover species so that they no longer require federal protections.”  
 
John Mellgren and Matthew Bishop, of the Western Environmental Law Center, are representing WildEarth Guardians, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, and Conservation Northwest in litigation challenging the Service’s inadequate lynx critical habitat designation.
 
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Nov13

Help Us Stop Senseless Wolf and Coyote Killing Contests

 

Dear Cascadia Wildlands Supporter:
 
Cascadia Wildlands needs your support in our fight against predator killing contests. (click here)
 
Coyote Derby
Predator killing contests—like the one pictured above—are not hunting.  They are cruel undertakings that perpetuate long-disproven myths about wolves and coyotes.  In truth, they keep alive a form of animal bigotry that should have disappeared with the covered wagon. 
 
HELP US STOP THIS NOW! (click here)
 
While contests emphasizing predator body counts should not be condoned anywhere, the federal Bureau of Land Management and the USDA Forest Service are moving forward to issue a five-year permit for one of these obscene killing contests on federal lands in Idaho.  That’s right, on lands owned by you and me.  Unbelievable.
 
STAND UP FOR WOLVES AND COYOTES! (click here)
 
Today Cascadia Wildlands and our allies challenged the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service decision to allow this contest on federal public lands. We aim to stop them from allowing the senseless slaughter of our wildlife. A slaughter done for profit. A slaughter on our public lands. A slaughter driven by hate and ignorance.
 
STOP THIS SENSELESS SLAUGHTER ON YOUR LANDS NOW! (click here) 
 
Please consider making a generous special gift to help us fight this wildlife travesty in Idaho.  We need your support to pursue this action and our other work to forward wolf recovery in Cascadia and elsewhere in the American West.
 bob's signature
 
 
Bob Ferris
Executive Director
Cascadia Wildlife
 
P.S.  Donate between now and the end of November through Mountain Rose Herbs Matching Gift program and your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs up to a total $5000. Give today.
 
 
 
 

Nov13

Conservationists Sue to Stop Wolf and Coyote Killing Contest

 
Press Release
For Immediate Release: November 13, 2014
 
Contacts: 
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, 541.434.1463 nick@cascwild.org
Bethany Cotton, WildEarth Guardians, 503.327.4923, bcotton@wildearthguardians.org
Laura King, Attorney, Western Environmental Law Center, 406-204-4852
Lynne Stone, Boulder-White Clouds Council, 208.721.7301, bwcc@wildwhiteclouds.org
 
Conservationists Sue to Stop Wolf and Coyote Killing Contest: 
Groups Challenge Fed’s Decision to Allow Highly Controversial ‘Predator Derby’ 
 
SALMON, Idaho – Today, a coalition of conservation organizations sued the Bureau of Land Management for granting a 5-year permit allowing predator-killing contests on public lands surrounding Salmon, Idaho over the winter holiday season. The agency unlawfully relied on faulty analysis and failed to conduct a full environmental impact statement. The suit also names the U.S. Forest Service for failing to require a permit for the killing contests. The next competitive killing derby is slated for January 2-4, 2015.

Coyote Derby

“Killing contests that perpetuate false stereotypes about key species like wolves and coyotes, who play essential roles in healthy, vibrant ecosystems, have no place on our public lands,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians. “The Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service are abdicating their responsibilities as stewards of our public lands.”
 
An application for a BLM special recreation permit triggers the National Environmental Policy Act, which prohibits fast track permitting of highly controversial activities, such as this. During the NEPA process, BLM received over 100,000 comments expressing opposition to the event. In its analysis, BLM failed to adequately consider the risk to public safety posed by the killing contest, the impacts to local and regional carnivore populations, displacement of other users of public lands, less destructive alternatives to the killing contest, and other factors. Wolves are a BLM ‘sensitive species’ and are supposed to be protected by the agency. 
 
“The agencies are determined to stay on the sidelines of this killing contest,” said Laura King, an attorney from Western Environmental Law Center, who is representing the plaintiffs. “But federal law requires the agencies to engage—fully and in good faith—in evaluating the consequences of the contest on wolves, coyotes, and ecosystems.” 
 
Lynne Stone, director of the Boulder-White Clouds Council, who has lived and worked in central Idaho for over three decades, said, “killing contests like this have no place in a civilized society and are an embarrassment to our state. Shame on the agencies for allowing these events on our public lands.”
 
Science shows that wolves play a key role as apex carnivores, providing ecological benefits that cascade through ecosystems. Wolves bring elk and deer populations into balance, which allows streamside vegetation to recover, in turn creating habitat for songbirds and beavers and shade for fish. Coyotes, like wolves, serve a valuable ecological function by helping to control rodent populations and to maintain ecological integrity and species diversity. Unlike wolves, coyotes quickly rebound when they are killed indiscriminately, meaning killing contests actually undermine the sponsor’s stated goal of reducing coyote populations.
 
“There is simply no ecological or scientific justification for these killing derbies,” said Nick Cady, legal director of Cascadia Wildlands.  “These federal agencies are abusing public lands and wildlife to help finance an extremist, anti-wolf organization in Idaho.”
 
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To pursue this legal action and others Cascadia Wildlands needs your support.  So please consider making a generous donation to Cascadia Wildlands.Donate between now and the end of November through Mountain Rose Herbs Matching Gift program and your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs up to a total $5000. Please give today.
 

 

Nov12

Wonderland Auction: The Importance of Forays and Keeping it Wild

By Bob Ferris
Baking-Mad-Farm-and-Ruby-Peak
 
I like words and recently I was discussing the word “foray” with my wife. Foray is a great word with multiple meanings but essentially it is used to describe a raid or a venture into unknown territory or outside one’s comfort zone. I really like this latter venture context as it deals largely with what we like to encourage (i.e., we like it wild) and what we tend to feature during the “live” portion of our annual Wonderland Auctions. And this year is shaping up nicely in terms of “forays.”
 
It takes a lot to put together this auction and these packages are selected with care to not only be forays in this latter sense, but also to introduce and immerse our supporters to elements of Cascadia. Some of these packages are solid and some of them are in the conceptual stages.
 
One of the ones that we have finalized is with our friends at Barking Mad Farm in Enterprise, Oregon. Rob Klavins—our frequent collaborator at Oregon Wild—co-owns this bed and breakfast venture with his wife Emily and they have generously donated a two-night stay along with a wolf and wildflower tour.
 
alaska-aurora-borealisWe also have finalized a package that includes a three-night stay in Orca Adventure Lodge in Cordova, Alaska home of our northernmost operation. This package does not include airfare, but many who have purchased this package in the past point to it as a lifetime-best type of experience and a real opportunity to understand why we work in Alaska and what we are trying to protect.
 
In terms of packages in the works, we are working on details of other adventures such as a stay at fabled Black Butte Ranch, a fly fishing package on the Rogue River, a stay at Lake Tahoe, a wet and wild white-water rafting trip for 10 down the McKenzie River and an emerging wolf viewing opportunity on a ranch in Montana. So please stay tuned as there will be more to come soon.
 
But not all the forays are wild as some are more adventures in taste. For example, our friends at Sunshine Limo have donated transportation for a wine tour of local vintners—you will have to deal with wineries individually but it is safe to say that getting there and getting back in one piece from one of these sipping forays is more than half the battle.
 
Along these same lines we will be offering a quantity of Copper River salmon up for bid which not only is a pretty precious and tasty commodity, but also represents our close connection with friend and frequent partner Dune Lankard of the Eyak Preservation Council.
 
And advisory board member Bev McDonald will be taking a lucky set of dinners on a virtual food tour of Thailand again this year. So if you are thinking of having a delicious and intimate dinner party for six and the logistics are holding you back, this is a stellar and fun option not to be missed.  (Click here for more and emerging details about the event.)  
 
So get your tickets for this December 6th event at Lane Community College now.  Click the button below to purchase tickets electronically.
 
 
 
 

Nov08

Coos Bay LNG Facility: An undemocratic process for a “bridge fuel” that leads us closer to environmental and economic doom

By Bob Ferris
 
The most recent elections sting all of us who care about the environment and the future of the planet like rock Inhofesalt gingerly applied to an open wound.  Part of that sting is the peril we face when anti-scientific types like James Inhofe (at right) and Ted Cruz are considered for important and knowledge-based leadership roles in the Senate.  And part of it comes from the dual democratic insult of voter suppression and the fact that 88 percent of these votes did not come from the folks who will be most impacted longest by the decisions in these two committees far into the future—the youth of America—who did not fully participate in this decision.  I am very bullish on science-driven decision making and also the democratic process so these developments above bother me significantly.
 
These two factors are also at play in the Coos Bay LNG process as well.  For instance on the science end, it has been argued that liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a so-called “bridge fuel” that helps us get from a fuel that is worse to a better, cleaner fuel on our pathway off fossil-fuels all together.  This is a nice concept but it seems in this instance that it is a little like a bartender switching an intoxicated patron from bourbon to beer only to find that the imbiber is using that beer to make boilermakers.  A bridge fuel is only a bridge fuel if there is a concrete plan for this fuel to displace other, more damaging fuels.  There is no such plan, ergo LNG is not a bridge fuel for this and other reasons.  And while LNG produces less in the way of acid rain components than coal it is still a carbon-based fossil fuel that contributes to climate change and ocean acidification.  
 
In terms of the democratic insults of this project there are many starting with the potential condemnation of private lands for the pipelines and reduction of pipeline safety measures in rural areas where the potential loss of “significant life” is lower.  But the one that is currently sticking in my craw is the process that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is using to collect comments.  It is purposely and artificially complicated.  Therefore, it is exclusionary favoring those who would help turn this country into a resource colony (read: Third World Country) for China and other competing/job displacing economies and creating a barrier to country-folk most impacted or put at risk by this project.   
Jordan CoveIf you are like me and have a little left-over election angst that keeps you edgy during the day and awake at night, my suggestion is that you follow this link below and fight your way through this complicated and ridiculous process to send FERC and others who would ignore science and an open democratic process a clear message: We believe that 1) climate change is real and needs to be addressed rather than ignored; 2) the rights of rural people should be considered; 3) the profits of the few—especially foreign interests—should not be more important than the impacts to those US citizens that will be affected by fracking, suffer from climate change, or lose their jobs through giving further competitive advantage to rapacious economies overseas.  
 
And when you are done please recycle.  Share this action with others and give them the opportunity to start the process of personal healing by taking positive and informed action.  Thank you for your help!

Nov07

Ecology as a River

By Bob Ferris
 
As a scientist I spend a lot of time thinking about science, particularly ecology. And while I was on this Two Talking Wolves Tour with Todd Wilkinson I did a lot of driving which is also a good opportunity for contemplation.  In fact, elkas I drove south after the last presentation at Third Place Books in the Seattle area I had about two and a half hours to think while I was driving through torrential, have-to-pullover-now-style downpours in the wee hours of the night.
 
The above experience could largely explain why I started to think of ecology as a river, but the analogy works even when you are not worried about hydroplaning to your death between two semis who have made your world a little like the inside of an out-of-control carwash.  Replace habitat for gravity in this context and you have a system that generally flows downhill—swiftly or slowly—depending upon the “slope” or habitat quality.  With no slope you have no current resulting in a stagnant pool and that is fairly similar to what we see when habitats are seriously degraded.
 
The fun and mischief in both ecology and rivers come from the anomalies.  Rocks, tree trunks, differentially erodible substrates all make rivers do funny things like causing eddies, rapids and slack water.  These anomalies have a similar impact on rivers flowing to the sea as do changes in weather patterns, invasive species presence, unsettled predator-prey dynamics and human disturbances like clearcutting and livestock grazing have on ecological functions.  But just as it would be ridiculous to conclude that all rivers run uphill because of eddies, it makes little sense to conclude that wolves are wiping out elk because populations levels of this ungulate are declining from historically high and unsustainable numbers in Yellowstone.  
 
Scouting Class 4 RapidRivers and ecology are complicated and take time to understand or even to approach understanding. Perhaps that is why many of us run them, study them or do both.  But it is also why these variable and complex systems should not be approached casually and without forethought or preparation (My friend Martin and I at left scouting a Class IV rapid on the Lower Salmon River in Idaho).  Anyone who has done a 180 in a canoe over seemingly calm waters or has had to change their thinking as more studies emerge on a particular phenomenon, understands that there is peril in thinking that a single observation or finding allows you to draw broad conclusions.   Those who parrot the claim that wolves are wiping out elk should understand that to many of us who study these systems and their assemblages of dynamics that is just like saying all rivers run uphill.
 
 
 
 

Nov06

Revenge Forestry: A Flare-up in the Elliott State Forest (an Excerpt)

October 14, 2014
by Jonathan Frochtzwajg, Oregon Business Magazine
 
When the Eugene-based timber company Seneca Jones made a $1.8 million bid on land in southern Oregon's Elliott State Forest earlier this year, it wasn't a business decision; it was personal. The 788-acre parcel (along with twoSeneca Clearcut at Dawn other parcels in the Elliott) had been put up for auction at the end of 2013.
 
Just before bidding was scheduled to end, the environmental group Cascadia Forest Defenders sent a letter to Seneca Jones and other Oregon timber companies.
 
Click here to view full article
 

Nov06

Of False Assumptions, Old Men, and Denning Wolves

By Bob Ferris
 
I do not often now days get the luxury of listening to scientists talk about wolves.  So I took great pleasure in sitting and listening to the recent wolf panel on the University of Washington campus in Seattle put on by the Pacific Wolf U of W Wolf ConferenceCoalition and their partners (at right).  It was great to listen to some of the best and the brightest wolf researchers talk about their current findings in the realm of wolves and also people.  
 
While there were many, many important revelations, three of them to me were most significant.  The first was the general and repeated conclusion that random wolf control or culling of wolves did little good and probably caused harm, unless you killed on a massive and publicly unacceptable scale.   We had known this for years about coyotes but this clarified and solidified what we suspected about wolves and also mountain lions as well.  It was good also that officials from Washington State were in the audience and heard this message too.  That should be helpful moving forward.
 
The second tidbit I picked up related to pack member age and to a certain degree gender.  Older males were very important—that perked me up.  The older males could not chase anything down like the younger males and smaller females, but they were important during the actual killing of bigger prey as they were considerably larger and stronger.  (Yes, let’s hear it for older males.)
 
The last critical point I garnered has been the one rolling around more and more in my mind: Breeding pairs are more likely to depredate on livestock than lone wolves or non-breeding wolves.  When I think about this it makes perfect sense particularly when we look at public lands and the way grazing leases are used and when.    
 
Wolves tend to select dens near water, with good cover and away from disturbances like roads, settlement and clearcuts.  This sounds a little like what we would also expect for elk and also deer which makes perfect sense as wolves during a time when they localize movements would likely want to be near a constant and reliable food source.  (Remember that one of the clues that indicated that OR-7 might have found a mate and had pups was that his GPS collar indicated that his movements were localized.)
 
2008937557So what happens to the above reasonable scenario when cattle or sheep are brought to a grazing lease near a denning site with growing pups that need to be feed?  Cattle tend to displace elk and sheep generally eat elk and deer out of house and home like some massive, woolly amoeba.  So what is left for the wolves to do?  Viewed in this context these depredations reflect much less the evil intent or nature of wolves but rather the poor judgment and practice of humans.  Wolves—as Dave Mech often points out—are not saints but given this knowledge we really have to rethink even those infrequent instances of depredation and reconsider whose behavior is really at fault.  
 
We also should consider this when designing grazing programs on federal lands—particularly when dealing with federally protected wolves—perhaps reserving some areas as alternative leases available for relocating animals away from active denning sites.  As the land management agencies should be already be reducing overall grazing pressure to address climate change related drought conditions in the West, perhaps this climate planning exercise could also allow for provisions for this purpose.
 
Thanks to the Pacific Wolf Coalition, presenters, and funders like the Wilburforce Foundation for this wonderful event.  It was a great chance for me to see old and dear friends as well as immerse my mind in the richness of science and thought.  
 

 

Oct25

The Saga of Wolf Recovery in Washington

by Nick Cady
 
A highlight of Cascadia Wildlands' wolf conservation work includes a lawsuit that culminated in the successful negotiation of wolf/livestock conflict rules in Oregon between conservation groups, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and livestock producers.  Those rules provided concrete guidelines as to when the state could kill wolves in response to livestock depredations and helped eliminate the hysteria generated every time there was a potential conflict. 
 
In 2012, following the creation of the Oregon rule, Cascadia Wildlands then turned its eyes to Washington state.  Washington at the time had approximately the same number of wolves as Oregon (60), but had yet to experience the wolf/livestock conflicts that had caused so much polarization in Oregon.  Conflict between wolves and livestock in Wallowa County ultimately led to the livestock industry introducing2008937557 wolf kill legislation, threats of poaching, and threats of secession. 
 
Similar to Oregon, Washington had a wolf conservation and management plan that provided general standards for addressing conflicts between wolves and livestock, but the state lacked any specific rules or guidance on procedures that would be taken when livestock were killed.  We have found in Oregon that concrete rules provided predictability in agency response to these conflicts, which helped reduce nerves in both the conservation and livestock communities.  Additionally, these rules provided a clear path for Department staff to follow, which is critical because when there are dead livestock, the situation on the ground can become very heated and intense.  However, things had been relatively quiet in Washington because there had yet to be a depredation event in the state, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff had been dutifully working to sign up large ranching operations with cooperative agreements to implement measures to prevent wolf/livestock conflict before it occurred. 
 
Just as Cascadia staff began exploring the regulatory framework of the state, Washington experienced its first major depredation event in Stevens County, in the northeastern portion of the state where the Wedge Pack was denning.  Despite clear requirements in the wolf plan that the Department focus on non-lethal measures and that the wolves were and are still in the first stage of recovery, the Department panicked and before even confirming wolves were responsible for the depredations and not just scavenging, ordered the aerial gunning of the entire pack.  What made the situation worse was that the producer clamoring for the killing was a loud and well-known anti-wolf voice in the state and had openly rejected Departmental and conservation community assistance to prevent the depredations.  The Department ended up spending over $77,000 in taxpayer money to kill the entire pack and appease the rancher. 
 
The Department's actions appropriately caused massive public outcry, and resulted in an official legislative investigation into the event.  Cascadia began organizing conservation allies, and filed an official rule-making petition with the Department to create lethal control rules similar to the rules developed in Oregon, so that the Department would not be pressured into a similar response in the future.  After initial conversations, the Department agreed that rules were needed, and in exchange for us dismissing the petition, the Department agreed to begin negotiating rules through the Washington Wolf Advisory Group, which contained conservation, state, and agricultural representatives.  After a year of too many meetings and very little progress made, the Department suspended the rule-making process, and Cascadia and our conservation allies refiled our petition with the aim of getting the attention of and enlisting the help of Washington's Governor Jay Inslee.
 
While this process was ongoing, Cascadia staff began catching whiffs of unrest in Stevens County again concerning a pack of wolves on tribal land, the Huckleberry pack. The pack had been hunted previously by the tribe, and was being suspected of being responsible for some missing sheep on lands bordering the reservation. 
 
Cascadia has continually argued to the Department that research on the predator/livestock conflicts has shown that killing individual wolves does nothing to decrease depredations, but in some cases has been shown to increase depredation levels, because of a destabilized pack structure.  Taking an entire pack may end depredations for a period, but it opens the area up to quick recolonization by other packs as has happened where the Wedge Pack was killed and replaced by the Profanity Peak Pack.
 
But with the Huckleberry pack, Cascadia staff received a call from the Department and we were informed that there had been some confirmed, weeks-old depredations, but the sheep had been moved out of the area, non-lethal preventative measures were beginning to be implemented, and a reassurance of "don't worry this will not be another Wedge pack situation."  That weekend, we got a message that the Department had hired Wildlife Services (see more on this reckless agency) who was aerial gunning the pack.  We managed to get ahold of agency staff, and we were told that they could not tell us what was going on.
 
We were able to generate a massive amount of public comment (thanks to our dutiful members) and got ahold of friendly legislators that were able to get the Department to suspend the aerial gunning and pull the trap line they had set for the wolves.  The Department notified us that a wolf had been killed, and eventually discovered that it was the alpha female of the pack, which they apparently were instructed not to kill.  We also discovered that the sheep had not be removed from the area, and the Department was not telling the whole story regarding the implementation of preventative measures.
 
Again, hysteria and public outcry ensued.  The agency secrecy, lies, and the accidental killing of the alpha female outraged the conservation community.  The killing of only one wolf and not the entire pack led to mass craziness in Stevens County, and a resolution by the County was issued, demanding citizens shoot wolves on site in violation of Washington laws (see more on Cascadia's response to this resolution here). 
 
It became patently clear that things just were not working within the Department.  The Governor became involved and called for a meeting between conservation interests and Department staff.  Cascadia staff journeyed north, and big changes have resulted.  First, the Department is going to completely restructure the Wolf Advisory Group, with an entirely new membership and oversight by an impartial mediator.  Second, revision of the Department's lethal control guidelines occurred, which describe when the Department can and will move to lethal control.  Third, the Department is looking to develop rules that would require livestock producers to have taken non-lethal, preventative measures prior to requesting lethal control. Finally, both Director Phil Anderson and Game Division Manager Dave Ware are stepping down, both who have been largely running the Department's wolf program. 
 
Cascadia is cautiously optimistic about these pending changes, and believe this is an excellent opportunity to systematically reform wolf management in Washington, which is admittedly and obviously broken. Stay tuned for big changes in Washington, and Cascadia will be weighing in at every step.  When the hiring process begins for new leadership in Washington, we will ask you to weigh in on this and other opportunities to shape wolf conservation in Washington. It has been a long haul thus far, and things are improving for gray wolf recovery in Washington state.
 
 
 

 

 

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