FWS rule implements Court decision; gray wolves re-listed in Northern Rocky Mountains (including Utah)
75 Fed. Reg. 65574 (Tuesday, October 26, 2010) / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R6–ES–2010–0074; 92220–1113–0000; ABC Code: C6 / RIN 1018–AX37
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reinstatement of Protections for the Gray Wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains in Compliance With a Court Order
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are issuing this final rule to comply with a court order that has the effect of reinstating the regulatory protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in most of the northern Rocky Mountains. Pursuant to the District of Montana court order dated August 5, 2010, this rule corrects the gray wolf listing for the northern half of Montana, the northern panhandle of Idaho, the eastern third of Washington and Oregon, and north-central Utah as endangered and reinstates the former special rules designating the gray wolf in the remainder of Montana and Idaho as nonessential experimental populations. Because ESA protections were not removed in Wyoming by our April 2, 2009 (74 FR 15123), final delisting rule, Wyoming is not impacted by this final rule. DATES: This action is effective October 26, 2010. However, the court order had legal effect immediately upon its filing at 2:43 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on August 5, 2010.
The gray wolf was once common in Utah, but it was extirpated (exterminated) from the state by early settlers. Recent reintroductions of the gray wolf have occurred in Idaho and Yellowstone National Park, but reintroductions are not currently planned for Utah. Utah claims the species remains locally extirpated, but acknowledges that gray wolves may move to Utah from surrounding states in the near future. In fact, Defenders of Wildlife has long relied upon "clear evidence that gray wolves can and have returned to Utah." See 2002 Defenders announcement. Image from Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
LINKS: See Court Opinion and prior ESA blawg posting.