Minnesota wolf management plan enters final week of public comment period

One week left to submit a comment regarding 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 prior to finalization, the DNR is seeking public feedback and comments.

The updated management plan provides a historical overview of wolf populations and distribution, factors that influence human-wolf conflict, and current Endangered Species Act protection status ( ESA). The draft plan also establishes a framework for future decisions on whether to hold a wolf hunting or trapping season if the wolf is removed from the federal EEZ.

Currently, wolves in Minnesota are listed as threatened under the federal ESA.

Although the plan aims to evaluate and update information, the overall goal is to create a plan that reflects current public attitudes and preferences.

“Some of the key changes, I think, are the emphasis on tribal and public perspectives and their roles in wolf conservation and management,” said Dan Stark, wildlife operations manager at Minnesota DNR.

Stark explains that Minnesota’s wolf populations have been relatively stable over the past few decades. While populations have fluctuated slightly since 2014, the population estimate remains around 2,700.

In an effort to gather public feedback, the DNR hosted an informational webinar on July 13 so the public could learn more about the updated plan and ask a question or submit a comment. Watch the recording informative webinar here.

Stark and the DNR have two busy months ahead of them. After compiling all public comments and summarizing the information, Stark said MNR expects to complete the final wolf management plan by fall 2022.

He shares that while not everyone agrees with everything included in the Wolf Management Plan, he hopes they can recognize the things they support in it.

“It’s about making sure that we have a healthy wolf population in the state and that we continue to support that population,” he adds, “Also dealing with conflicts that arise because the presence of wolves in the landscape creates problems.”

Those interested in submitting comments can do so in several ways. Either by completing a online surveyby emailing MRN officials at [email protected]or by sending 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 MNR website.

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with Dan Stark, director of wildlife operations for Minnesota DNR, about the wolf management plan. Audio of the interview and informational webinar below.

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