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RE: E-M:/ Wolf Followup from USFWS and DNR

Enviro-Mich message from "Tim Flynn" <tflynn@freeway.net>


Thanks for posting the USFWS/DNR response to your post.   While Mike's and
Lori's clarification of what's in the Federal plan is helpful, it does not
eliminate concerns over the future of the Wolf in the Lake States.   This is
especially true for those of us who think recovery should include more than
just a token population on the edge of extirpation.

Some of us believe that the Wolf should be recovered fully so as to become
once again a keystone species of the Northwoods, the apex predator, able to
once again play it's part in the evolutionary drama of our native habitat.

The "recovery" plan is for minimal populations, not full recovery.  The Wolf
should not be treated as a interesting attraction in a large zoo, like the
current management treats the elk population in Michigan.

Additionally I've got concerns about whether the Federal conditions have
indeed been meet.   Specifically in regards to the connection of Michigan's
and Wisconsin's wolves to the MN population.   David Mladenoff's research,
published in the journal Conservation Biology, clearly identifies a corridor
of lousy, and getting worse, habitat separating MN wolves from Michigan and
Wisconsin (the freeway corridor to Duluth).    This freeway and the
associated development corridor is becoming more of a barrier each day.
The State, and Federal plans has ignored this element, thus provide no long
term viability to the wolves of MI and WI.   A well connected population in
the long run will require the purchase of lands in this corridor to keep a
"wall of sprawl" from cutting off MN wolves from WI & MI.

In Michigan winter shipping on the Great Lakes cuts off the connection of
Michigan's wolves from their Canadian brothers, further isolating Michigan's
small recovering population.

In regards to the Michigan's state level de-listing criteria, the recovery
goal quite likely violates the State's ESA.   Specifically the requirement
to recover the species in the lower peninsula, since the NLP was a
"significant" portion of the wolves historic habitat.   While the plan only
requires 200 wolves in the UP and law has different language.   No viable
wolf pop in the NLP, no legal or ethical, de-listing.

The DNR is currently making this mistake by de-listing the American Marten,
which they admit is struggling to survive in the NLP and is still at least
"threaten" and likely still endangered there.

So Mike and Lori thanks for the criteria, but what is required and what
should be done are too different things if we care about the long term
ecological integrity of the upper Great Lakes.

Tim Flynn

> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich -
> The following is from Mike DeCapita of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
> East Lansing Field Office, and was put together with assistance from Ron
> Refsnider of USFWS and Lori Sargent of MDNR in reaction to my previous posting
> expressing concern about the comeback of the wolf in Michigan and proposed
> downlistings.  Thanks to Mike, Ron and Lori for clarifying my
> misinterpretations.  Mike also offered up web-sites on the wolf issue which
> would be useful for all following this topic!
> Anne Woiwode
> ____________________
> Hello Anne,
> I read your enviro-mich message regarding wolf recovery.  I want to try and
> clarify the issue regarding criteria for federal reclassification
> (downlisting from E to T) and delisting.  Your message contains some
> statements that point to confusion between state and federal wolf recovery
> plans, and the difference between reclassification (endangered to threatened)
> and delisting (recovery) criteria.
> The Service has decided that approved plans for wolf management in MN, MI, and
> WI will be an important factor in our delisting decision, although they are
> not required.  However, what these state plans say does not determine the
> federal reclassification criteria for Wisconsin and Michigan which are
> 1)survival of wolf assured in MN and 2) 80 wolves for 3 consecutive years in
> WI.  The Federal plan also states that 100 wolves in MI and WI, closely tied
> to the MN population, would be a viable population.
> You also state that the Michigan plan requires 200 wolves in the state for 5
> years for reclassification to occur.  I assume that you are referring to the
> wolf's state legal status, rather than federal status.  But 200 wolves for 5
> years could allow state delisting, rather than reclassification. The Michigan
> criterion for reclassification from state-endangered to state-threatened is
> identical to the federal numerical criterion for federal delisting:  100
> wolves in Wisconsin-Michigan for 5 consecutive years.
> One other important point is that Minnesota wolves remain federally protected.
> Even if "the current politics [in Minnesota] might just as well adopt a plan
> that is not adequate to assure a source population [for Michigan]" (extracted
> from your third to last paragraph), such a MN plan cannot be implemented if
> it would result in actions that violate the ESA. The federal ESA over-rides
> any conflicting state law or state management plan.

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