Virtual open houses planned and online comment will be available

Minnesota’s iconic wolf is the focus of upcoming public input opportunities sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources.

In three virtual meetings and a parallel online input period, the public will be asked to weigh in on various questions about wolves, including specific questions and open comment opportunities about wolf numbers and geographic range, conservation options, and impacts on agriculture and other wildlife species.

The DNR is seeking this input as it updates the state’s current 20-year-old wolf management plan.

“Discussions about wolves bring out opinions from a broad range of interests,” said Dan Stark, DNR wolf management specialist. “We want to both provide information about wolves in Minnesota and understand the concerns and issues that people have about the future of wolf management. These public meetings are part of a broader process to update the plan and give people an opportunity to share their views.”

How to participate

The virtual open houses will include informational presentations from the DNR and allow real-time public input and Q&A. The open houses will each focus on a particular geographic area, and all are welcome to join the open house focusing on their area of the state or region of interest. Each takes place from 6 to 8 p.m.

Northwest region: Sept. 29.

Central and southern region, including Twin Cities metro area: Oct. 6.

Northeast region: Oct. 8.

The open houses will be accessible by computer, smartphone, or phone (audio only for those joining by phone). Registration for the event is required and will be available Monday, Sept. 21, on the wolf plan webpage. Individuals wishing to be notified when registration opens can sign up to receive updates about wolves from the DNR. Attendees are encouraged to submit questions in advance on their registration form. The open houses will be recorded and available on the DNR website for those who cannot attend.

The public will also be able to share their input by commenting on the DNR website from Tuesday, Sept. 29, through Sunday, Nov. 1. Once a draft plan is ready, anticipated later this year, people will be able to comment on the draft plan itself.

“We look forward to having a dialogue about wolves in Minnesota,” Stark said. “What people think about where and how many wolves we have, conflicts regarding livestock depredation, the interrelationship of wolf and prey species, and future wolf management options are all important topics.”

More about the DNR’s plan update

Although wolves are currently listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, the Minnesota DNR and tribal authorities actively manage and monitor the state’s wolf population. Updating the state’s 2001 wolf management plan is important regardless of whether the federal government changes the listing status of the wolf in Minnesota.

Tribal staff as well as representatives of state and federal agencies, academic institutions, and other organizational partners involved in wolf management and research in Minnesota are providing expert input to the process to update the state’s wolf management plan through an ongoing technical committee.

A 20-member wolf plan advisory committee is also working to identify issues and explore options for wolf conservation in Minnesota. Committee members represent hunting and trapping, wolf advocacy and animal rights, livestock and agriculture, and other interests related to wolf conservation and management.

The state’s current 2001 wolf management plan guides wolf population monitoring, management, conflicts, enforcement, damage control, education, research and other issues. The DNR continues to be committed to taking a comprehensive approach to sustaining healthy wolf populations in Minnesota.

The plan update is independent of any federal action on the status of wolves under the Endangered Species Act. The updated plan will be available in 2021. More information is on the DNR’s wolf management plan webpage.

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