Grand Canyon National Park Backcountry Management Plan – Public Comments Needed!
The Grand Canyon National Park is in the process of revising their Backcountry Management Plan and they are currently seeking public input on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. This is an important opportunity to speak up for wolves and to let the park know that people would like to see wolf recovery considered as part of the future management of the backcountry and wilderness resources of the park. For more information about the Grand Canyon Backcountry Management Plan, visit: http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/grca
You may submit your comments on-line through April 4, 2016.
Click here to submit your on-line comments: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=65&projectID=22633&documentID=69426
Comments can also be submitted by mail to: Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park, Attn: Backcountry Management Plan, PO Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023.
Please encourage the National Park Service to:
• Expand the scope of the plan beyond just visitor use to include active stewardship and restoration of the natural resources within the park.
• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently reintroducing the endangered Mexican gray wolf into a portion of Arizona. Scientists have identified the Grand Canyon region as an important future recovery area for wolves. Grand Canyon National Park should prepare for the eventual return of wolves to the region and incorporate management flexibility to temporarily close off backcountry areas to prevent visitor disturbances near wolf dens or other sensitive wolf habitat areas.
• Prioritize park management actions to protect and restore extirpated, rare, endangered or threatened species, as well as keystone species and their habitats.
Tell the Government to restore wolves in the Grand Canyon region!
The Grand Canyon region in northern Arizona and southern New Mexico has been identified by science as necessary for Mexican wolf recovery. Science also shows that wolves are important for restoring the ecological health of our wildlands.
But two misguided developments threaten our ability to restore wolves in the Grand Canyon region: efforts in Congress to strip Endangered Species protections from wolves across the U.S., and reintroduction rules that do not allow Mexican gray wolves to live north of I-40.
Please send a postcard to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and ask her to restore and protect wolves in the Grand Canyon region today. You can personalize and use some of the talking points below in your postcard.
Dear Secretary Jewell,
- As a resident of Arizona, I want wolves restored in my state, including in the Grand Canyon region north of I-40.
- Administrative or legislative actions that strip wolves' Endangered Species Act protection threaten wolf recovery. Please use your influence to stop all such actions from moving forward.
- The rules that keep Mexican gray wolves from living north of I-40 contradict the best available science on recovery and cheat us of the ecological benefits of restoring wolves in this important region.
- Wolves have been missing from most of Arizona and from Utah for too long. Please do everything necessary to restore them to the essential natural role in these states and throughout the U.S.
- Include your name and address in your message.
You can also email and call Secretary Jewell with this message:
Phone: (202) 208-7351
Thank you for speaking out for wolves today!
Please Comment on the Mexican wolf final EIS - due December 27!
Take Action to Save Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves!
This new version of the proposal for managing Mexican gray wolves ignores the best available science and tens of thousands of comments submitted urging greater protections and freedom to roam for these endangered animals. Read our Press Release with fellow conservation partners on the final EIS for the Mexican wolf rule change here.
Comments are due no later than December 27, 2014. Please submit comments today, telling the government that allowing more killing and risky captures of these wolves is unacceptable, and ask others to do the same.
Please include these points in your comments:
(If you personalize these, it will make your comments more effective. If you're short on time, you can just copy and paste them into the comment form here.)
* US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) should move forward with allowing new wolves to be released throughout the larger area proposed.The Mexican gray wolf is the most endangered mammal in the U.S. with only about 83 in the wild. Additional wolves must be released into the wild now to increase the genetic health of the species. Numerous wolves are in captive breeding facilities around the country, prepared for, and awaiting, release.
* USFWS should not allow more killing of critically endangered wolves. The proposal will push Mexican gray wolves towards extinction by allowing many more of them to be killed under all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with science or recovery. With fewer than 90 in the wild, every wolf is important. These native lobos need more protections, not less.
* Wolves need freedom from boundaries. Given room to roam, the wolves will establish themselves in suitable areas with adequate game. They will naturally avoid places with high densities of humans and low prey availability. USFWS must change the rules that do not allow wolves to establish new packs and populations in additional areas that are essential to their recovery.
* Additional populations of Mexican wolves north of I-40 are necessary to their recovery and genetic health, as is the ability for wolves to move between populations. Capturing and moving wolves because they roam beyond an artificial boundary is always a risky business that can result in death or trauma to the wolf.
* The USFWS should designate Mexican gray wolves as essential. By labeling all of the wild wolves as "nonessential" the USFWS ignores science and the reality of 16 years of experience with reintroducing wolves. The 83 wolves in the wild have up to 5 generations of experience in establishing packs and raising pups and are over 22% of all of the Mexican wolves in the world. The fifth generation wild lobos are not expendable and are essential to recovering this unique subspecies of wolf.
* The USFWS needs to quit stalling and complete a comprehensive recovery plan. USFWS admits that their 1982 recovery plan is not scientifically sound and does not meet current legal requirements – yet in its proposed rule USFWS continues to ignore the best available science and the recommendations of its own science recovery planning subgroup.
Submit your comments here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS_FRDOC_0001-1298
Enter Now: Grand Canyon Wolf Naming Contest!
Open to children and youth under 18 years old - deadline Thursday, December 4, 2014
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed, through DNA tests on scat, that there is a female northern Rockies gray wolf on the Kaibab National Forest, near the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
This brave female is the first wolf in this area for more than 70 years! This historic and cause for celebration!
We think this amazing pioneer inhabiting an area where wolves once thrived deserves a special name. That's why groups from all over the west are working together on this contest!
You must be under age 18 to enter. If you would like to help name this unique animal and be part of his or her story, please fill out the form here with your parent or legal guardian*: http://goo.gl/forms/WqfkUrdtTl
The deadline to enter is December 4, 2014
The winning name will be announced by Monday, December 8, 2014.
The Kaibab Plateau has forested lands with elevations up to 9,000 feet, surrounded by the sage, grasslands and canyons of lower elevations. It is bordered on the south by the Grand Canyon, on the east and west by tributary canyons of the Colorado River, and on the north by plains that are dissected by the tiers of uplifted cliffs of the Grand Staircase.
Wolves were once native to this part of the Grand Canyon region, but were wiped out by a federal extermination program in the early 1900's. Scientists say this area is great habitat for wolves.
Mexican gray wolves, a subspecies of gray wolves, live in Arizona and New Mexico but the government won't allow them to live north of Interstate 40. Gray wolves from the northern Rocky Mountains are mostly in states north of Utah and Colorado and are bigger than Mexican gray wolves, or lobos.
Gray wolves are legendary for traveling long distances, and this wolf would have have traveled hundreds of miles from her home in Wyoming or another Rocky Mountain state through Utah and into Arizona.
Gray wolves are currently federally protected under the Endangered Species Act in Arizona. If this is a wolf, the government should do all in its power to protect her or him.
Wolves are intelligent, feeling animals who often live in families (packs) with their mates, siblings, and pups. Sometimes, like this animal, they travel long distances from their original family to find a mate and start a family of their own.
Enter the contest here.
Thank you for helping!
*The information entered in the form will not be used for any commercial purpose or shared with anyone not involved in the contest except for publicity about the contest.
Photos courtesy of National Park Service staff and AZ Game and Fish Department
Act Now! US Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to Doom Mexican Wolves!
Speak out against draft plan to allow more killing of critically endangered wolves!
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has released a draft proposal to change the rules governing the Mexican wolf reintroduction.
The draft proposal, if implemented, will seriously jeopardize the continued existence of critically endangered Mexican gray wolves, who currently number less than 90 in the wild. The proposal ignores the best available science and recommendations by top wolf scientists.
- USFWS proposes to allow more Mexican wolves to be shot, trapped, and permanently removed from the wild.
- The proposal continues to designate the wild population of lobos as "non-essential," failing to give them additional protections necessary to their survival.
- And, while it does expand the area wolves can roam, it restricts them to parts of New Mexico and Arizona below I-40, even though leading wolf scientists say that populations of Mexican wolves north of I-40 are essential to the lobo's recovery.
The only completely good thing it does is to finally allow new wolves from the captive breeding population to be released into a larger area, a change desperately needed for genetic rescue of the wild population.
USFWS has released this draft proposal with a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for public comment and will hold hearings on August 11 in Pinetop, AZ August 11 and on August 13 in Truth or Consequences, NM.
PLEASE ACT NOW TO MAKE SURE THAT CHANGES TO HELP LOBOS THRIVE ARE INCLUDED IN THE FINAL RULE AND CHANGES THAT WILL LEAD TO THEIR EXTINCTION ARE DISCARDED.
Here are some of the ways you can help:
ATTEND A HEARING
If at all possible, attend a hearing in August. It is crucial that we demonstrate tremendous public support for Mexican wolf recovery. More hearing details are posted below and here.
Submit comments on the draft proposal before September 23, 2014 and include these specific talking points in addition to your personalized message:
1. I support expanding the area in which direct releases of Mexican wolves can occur, the one critical change included in the proposed rule.
- This change has been recommended by experts for over 10 years and needs to be implemented immediately. Currently, new releases are hindered because they can only happen in part of Arizona.
2. The USFWS should eliminate boundaries to the wolves' movement. The draft proposed rule prevents wolves returning to northern New Mexico and southern Colorado or to the Grand Canyon region, including northern Arizona and southern Utah.
- Preventing movement into northern New Mexico and southern Colorado and the Grand Canyon region, including northern Arizona and southern Utah, contradicts the best available science, which confirms that those areas are essential for Mexican wolf recovery.
- Additional populations of Mexican wolves are necessary to their recovery and genetic health, as is the ability for wolves to move between populations.
- Not allowing wolves outside of the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area will result in more captures that can result in death or trauma to the wolves. We can't afford to lose rare Mexican wolves just because they crossed an arbitrary, scientifically unsupported boundary. There should be no restrictions on the movements of Mexican wolves.
3. The USFWS should designate Mexican gray wolves as essential.
- The current labeling all of the wild wolves as "nonessential" ignores science and the reality of 15 years of experience with reintroducing wolves.
- The USFWS claims that even if all of the 83 wolves in the wild are wiped out this is not "likely to appreciably reduce the likelihood" of recovery of Mexican wolves in the wild is unsupported by science or common sense.
- The 83 wolves in the wild have up to four generations of experience in establishing packs and raising pups and are over 22% of all of the Mexican wolves in the world.
- After multiple generations of captive breeding with few releases, scientists warn that there may be serious genetic problems making captive wolves less able to thrive in the wild.
- The fourth generation wild lobos are not expendable and are essential to recovering this unique subspecies of wolf.
4. The USFWS needs to quit stalling and complete a comprehensive recovery plan.
- USFWS admits that their present, typewritten, 1982 recovery plan is not scientifically sound and does not meet current legal requirements – yet in its proposed rule USFWS continues to emphasize a woefully inadequate population of only 100 wolves in the wild. Instead of following the best available science on recovery, the Service is chasing after what a 31-year-old inadequate plan suggested as a good first step.
- Current proposals should contain no provisions that would preclude future recovery options.
5. The proposed expanded provisions for "take" (killing, trapping, and removals) of these critically endangered wolves are unacceptable and will not contribute to the wolves' recovery.
- Science-based program reviews have shown, and the USFWS has acknowledged, that the killing and permanent removal of wolves by agency managers to resolve "conflicts" has been a major cause of failing to meet the reintroduction objective.
- The proposed rule changes offer additional excuses for removing wolves. USFWS needs to tighten restrictions for "take" of Mexican wolves, not loosen them.
Submit your comments electronically here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056-6056
Or by U.S. mail or hand delivery to:
Processing, Attn: FWS–R2–ES–2013–
0056; Division of Policy and Directives
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275
Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.
SPREAD THE WORD
Ask everyone you know to act for Mexican wolves before it's too late.
Download flyers and post them in Southwest Cities and Towns.
USFWS’s decision on the proposed rule can help Mexican wolves finally thrive or can push them closer to extinction.
Please act today.
Thank you for giving these special wolves a voice in their future.