Radio Report: Kretz proposes state flexibility for counties to manage wolves where population goals have been met


A Northeast Washington lawmaker is hoping to make some changes in state law that would give relief to individuals and communities impacted by wolf repopulation efforts. John Sattgast reports from Olympia.

 Radio Report Transcript

SATTGAST: Since 2008, Washington’s gray wolf population, listed as endangered in 1980, has grown nearly 28 percent each year. The feds have delisted them. And now, Republican State Representative Joel Kretz of Wauconda wants to give some Northeast Washington counties that have met wolf population goals the ability to delist them.

But it’s a battle with Western Washington environmentalists who want wolves to remain on the state endangered list, regardless of population increases.

KRETZ: “We’re saving the last wolf in the world. Urban people that don’t know any better send them money. For them, it’s an emotional fundraising thing. It has nothing to do with facts or science.”

SATTGAST: Kretz has introduced legislation to direct the state Fish and Wildlife Department to work with local officials to create wolf management plans in counties where wolf population goals have been met.

KRETZ: “What we’re saying is if a single county has four breeding pairs, that county can apply to be taken out of the endangered species state list.”

SATTGAST: Kretz says more needs to be done for ranchers, cattlemen, and rural families who bear the brunt of predatory wolves.

KRETZ: “If you want to look at the goals of wolf recovery, we’ve exceeded everything in Northeastern Washington. And it’s time to have a little bit of relief.”

SATTGAST: John Sattgast, the state Capitol.

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