Ben Voelkel

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Natural Resources Management Act Wednesday that would delist the gray wolf in western Great Lakes states, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota, as well as Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The amendment would restore the gray wolf to the status determined to be appropriate by Department of Interior wildlife experts in 2011, and allow the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop a wolf population management program.

“Four years ago, an activist federal judge ignored recommendations from wildlife experts and President Obama’s Department of the Interior to delist the gray wolf as an endangered species in the western Great Lakes. It is past time for Congress to act on what we have heard from state DNR experts, Wisconsin farmers, ranchers, loggers and sportsmen for years: Gray wolf listing decisions should come from wildlife experts, not from courtrooms,”Sen. Johnson said. “This amendment allows wolf management plans that are based on federal and state wildlife expertise to move forward without legal ambiguity.”

Text of the amendment can be found here.

Sen. Johnson’s amendment is cosponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). Sen. Johnson has worked to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the western Great Lakes region since 2015 when he introduced legislation with former Rep. Reid Ribble (WI-8) to address the issue.

The gray wolf maintains a stable and growing population with an expanding territory in Wisconsin. A brief explanation of the issue from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service can be found here.

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