By Jalen Maki
The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday, April 19 meeting passed a resolution supporting a population goal of 350 gray wolves in Wisconsin.
The resolution points to the 1999 establishment by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and 2007 reaffirmation of a wolf population goal of 350 “based on prey availability and human population density.”
The DNR is currently following the 2007 framework and is reviewing the state’s wolf management plan. Tribal consultations and a public comment period were scheduled for this spring, with MNR expected to present a final version of the plan to the Natural Resources Board at a later date.
Prior to the council vote, three members of the public voiced their opposition to the resolution.
Several Lincoln County residents wrote letters regarding wolves in the county, and a fourth member of the public read the letters on behalf of the writers. One letter encouraged the council to “respect science and the professionals who spend their lives studying this subject”, while another spoke out against wolf hunting.
A member of the public spoke in support of the resolution, saying that from 2010 to 2017, “half of the county councils in Wisconsin passed a resolution similar to this, and I think that tells you where come the county councils as representatives of their people.”
Following comments from members of the public, council discussed the resolution.
District 13 Supervisor Calvin Callahan noted that many farming and outdoor groups, as well as the majority of respondents to a pair of surveys conducted by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies in the University of Wisconsin-Madison, supported plateauing Wisconsin’s wolf population. at 350.
“I think it’s very fair to say that the people of the state of Wisconsin, the people here in the northern part of the state, our constituents, agree that the wolf population is a problem,” said Callahan. “We let it, to the State Legislature, to the DNR time and time again, and they constantly let us down. We shouldn’t even have to worry about it at the county level, but unfortunately, due to a lack of leadership in Madison by the current governor’s administration, we are forced to listen to our constituents and do something about it. this subject.
District 19 Supervisor Julie L. Allen felt the resolution’s introduction was “a bit premature,” noting that the DNR would have to complete its wolf management plan before saying she would vote against the resolution.
A proposed amendment to the resolution that called for strike language regarding the population goal of 350 wolves and replaced it with “no more than 50% of the designated population” by the DNR failed after discussion, garnering a vote.
After further discussion, the resolution was finally passed by a roll-call vote of 15 to 6.
Callahan, District 1 Supervisor Bill Bialecki, District 2 Supervisor Lori Anderson-Malm, District 4 Supervisor Steven L. Osness Jr., District 6 Supervisor Norbert “Nubs” Ashbeck, District 8 Supervisor Laurie Theil, District 9 Supervisor Don Friske, District 10 Supervisor Jesse Boyd, District 11 Supervisor Randy Detert, District 12 Supervisor Julie DePasse, District 15 Supervisor Marty R. Lemke, District 17 Supervisor George Brixius, District 18 Supervisor Ken Wickham, District Supervisor 20 Angela Cummings and District 22 Supervisor Greg Hartwig.
Allen, District 3 Supervisor Elizabeth McCrank, District 7 Supervisor Greta Rusch, District 14 Supervisor Brian Hafeman, District 16 Supervisor Michael J. Loka and District 21 Supervisor Eugene Simon were opposed.
With the passage of the resolution, the council “advises Wisconsin to reaffirm a wolf population goal of 350 or less in Wisconsin’s next wolf management plan; encourages the WDNR to include elected officials from counties with significant wolf conflict on the DNR’s Wolf Advisory Committee; requests that WDNR and other partners implement meaningful population controls in the Wisconsin wolf management plan; and requests that WDNR not move problematic wolves from other counties in the state to Lincoln County.
The resolution will be forwarded to the “offices of the Governor of Wisconsin, the Secretary of WDNR, Preston Cole, the Secretary of DATCP, Randy Romanski, and state and federal legislators who represent Lincoln County,” according to the resolution.
“When WDNR’s public comment period for the revised Wolf Management Plan is announced, the resolution will be sent to the designated contact determined by WDNR,” the resolution reads.