The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced the reopening of the comment period on the May 5, 2011, proposed rule to delist the gray wolf population in the Western Great Lakes and revise the listing to remove all or parts of 29 eastern states where the listed species did not historically occur. The action will allow for additional public review and the inclusion of any new information.Gray wolves were originally listed as subspecies or as regional populations of subspecies in the lower 48 states and Mexico under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and its predecessor statutes. In 1978, the Service reclassified the gray wolf as an endangered species across all of the lower 48 states and Mexico, except in Minnesota where the gray wolf was classified as threatened.
In the rule issued earlier this year, the Service proposed to remove gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes area — which includes Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin, and portions of adjoining states — from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife because wolves have recovered in this area and no longer require the protection of the ESA. The Service also proposed to revise the range of the gray wolf (Canus lupus) in all or parts of 29 eastern states, which, based in part on recognition of the eastern wolf (Canus lycaon) as a full species, were not part of the historical range of the gray wolf.
The comment period for this proposed rule closed on July 5, 2011, and the Service received significant comments from states and other stakeholders concerning North American wolf taxonomy. MUCC submitted our comments at that time, indicating our support for the delisting effort and our desire to see wolves managed as one population, regardless of the taxonomic classification.
The Service is seeking all information, data, and comments from the public with respect to any new information relevant to the taxonomy of wolves in North America. Written comments on this proposal may be submitted by one of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. [FWS-R3-ES-2011-0029].
- U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. [FWS-R3-ES-2011-0029]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
All comments and materials, as well as supporting documentation used in preparing the proposed rule will be made available for public inspection.The notice reopening the comment period will publish in the Federal Register on August 26, 2011. Comments must be received within 30 days, on or before September 26, 2011. The Service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.
More information is available online at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf/.