The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is updating the state’s wolf management plan and is looking to the public for input.
To that end, the agency is creating a new wolf plan advisory committee to help inform the update to the management plan. Applications are now open for the committee, which is one of several ways the DNR will engage with the public on the plan.
“It’s critical to have all voices about wolves at the table,” said Dan Stark, the DNR’s wolf management specialist. “With the public’s input, we can effectively evaluate how the wolf management plan is working and identify what may need to be improved.”
Drafted in 2001, the state’s wolf management plan provides the framework that guides the state’s decisions about wolf regulations, population monitoring, management, damage control, education, research, and other issues.
In addition to the advisory committee, the DNR will gather public input through:
A public perception survey;
A public comment period; and
Open houses at area wildlife offices.
Tribal engagement and outside experts
Separate from, but complementary to, these public engagement efforts, the DNR will coordinate and communicate work on the wolf plan directly with Minnesota’s tribal governments. In addition, the DNR is seeking to form a technical committee that will include natural resource agencies, tribal representatives, agricultural agencies, and universities to provide expert review of the information presented and discussed during the 12-month planning process.
How to apply for the wolf plan advisory committee:
The DNR seeks committee members who represent diverse perspectives, including hunting and trapping; wolf advocacy and animal rights; livestock and agriculture; forestry, conservation and environmental protection; and local governments.
People interested in serving can find information about the advisory committee’s structure and functions, expectations of members, and how to apply on the DNR website. The application deadline is Dec. 20. The DNR will select members in January, and convene the committee’s first meeting in February.
Stark said the goal of the wolf management plan is to ensure the long-term survival of wolves in Minnesota while addressing wolf-human conflicts. “We know people have strong feelings about wolves,” Stark said, “so it’s important that we understand and consider Minnesotans’ diverse insights, concerns and values regarding wolves.”
Meetings and engagement opportunities will begin in spring 2020 and continue through the summer. The plan is expected to be ready for final public review and comment next October and finalized in December 2020.
The state’s 2001 wolf management plan resulted from legislation, a public input process, and recommendations from a 33-member advisory group. The planned update is part of the DNR’s commitment to ensuring the document reflects current issues and understandings about wolves.
Information about wolves in Minnesota, annual population surveys, reported mortalities, responding appropriately to wolf encounters, and protecting pets and livestock can be found on the DNR’s wolf management webpage.