During their January meeting, the Colorado Parks & Wildlife Commission began grappling with the mandate of Proposition 114. Governor Jared Polis addressed the commissioners and urged them to work diligently to create and approve a scientifically defensible reintroduction plan during the next 12 to 18 months, such that the first wave of reintroductions begin before the end of 2022. Governor Polis made a powerful case that getting the job done efficiently and effectively was possible because wolf reintroduction is a well-known science at this point.
Unfortunately, many of the commissioners seemed more inclined to listen to the urgings of the special interests aligned against wolves. They punted on adopting an efficient schedule and seemed prepared to embrace holding the planning process hostage by a prolonged, convoluted advisory group process that won’t meet the public involvement mandate of Proposition 114. That’s not to say that having an advisory group is an inherently bad idea, but the agency empaneling such groups must ensure that the power dynamics are fair.
On February 8th, the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project pushed back against the current planning timeline and direction. Our letter to the commissioners and key decision makers to adopt Governor Polis’s reasonable timeline to get the first round of reintroductions complete before the end of 2022. We also addressed specific concerns regarding the proposed stakeholder and advisory groups, advising that the majority of selected stakeholders need to represent best interests of wolf restoration, rather than the status quo.
You can read the full text of our letter via this link.