WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced a bipartisan amendment Wednesday that would delist the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes region, including Wisconsin, 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.
“Gray wolf listing decisions should come from wildlife experts. While Congress has failed to act, many northern Wisconsinites’ problems with wolves have only gotten worse. This critical amendment would allow wolf management plans that are based on federal and state wildlife expertise to move forward without legal ambiguity,” Senator Johnson said. “This is the proper time and place for Congress to discuss this issue, so I hope there will be full consideration of my amendment. I will continue to support northern Wisconsin farmers, ranchers, hunters, and land owners who suffer the consequences of the growing wolf population.”
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.