|The public comment period for the draft Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan has been extended by a month, and a third public hearing scheduled, to ensure that all Oregonians with an interest in wolves have sufficient time to provide input, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced.
With the new timeline, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to make a final rulemaking decision on the draft plan and associated administrative rules Friday, February 11, 2005, during a regularly scheduled meeting to be held in Troutdale. Final adoption was originally scheduled for early January. The seven-member Commission is the rulemaking body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon.
The decision to extend the public comment period was made after the Union County Cattlemen made a formal demand as allowed under the Oregon Administrative Procedures Act.
The official public comment period for rulemaking began November 1 and lasts through close of business, Thursday, February 10, 2005. People wishing to comment on the draft plan and draft rules may submit written comments by mail, e-mail or fax, and may testify at any of three public hearings to be held in front of the Commission on December 10, 2004, January 6, 2005, and February 10, 2005. Although all comments will be considered, the Commission has encouraged those with written comments to submit them before February 4, 2005, to allow Commission members the maximum amount of time to analyze the comments before voting on the plan.
The draft plan, minority reports, draft administrative rules and other information can be found on ODFW's Web site at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/main.html. Copies also may be obtained by request at any ODFW regional or district office.
Written public comments on the draft plan will be accepted at the following locations:
* E-mail: Odfw.Comments@state.or.us .
* Fax: (503) 947-6009.
* Mail: ODFW Information and Education Division, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE, Salem, OR 97303-4924.
Public hearings will be held on the following dates and locations:
* Friday, December 10, 2004: ODFW, Commission Room, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE, Salem, OR 97303-4924. The draft wolf plan is currently last on the Commission's day-long agenda and public testimony is expected to begin in the afternoon.
* Thursday, January 6, 2005: ODFW, Commission Room, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE, Salem, OR 97303-4924. Testimony will be taken 1-5 p.m.
* Thursday, February 10, 2005: Testimony will be taken 1-5 p.m. at a location to be announced in Troutdale.
The draft wolf plan does not call for actively reintroducing wolves from other states or provinces, but to manage wolves that naturally disperse into Oregon. No wolves are confirmed in Oregon at this time, but biologists expect wolves to establish a permanent Oregon population as the Idaho wolf population grows and disperses. Wolves are currently protected under both the state and federal endangered species acts.
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