State of Washington
66th Legislature
2019 Regular Session
ByRepresentatives Kretz, Dent, and Eslick
Read first time 01/25/19.Referred to Committee on Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources.
AN ACT Relating to ensuring that all Washingtonians share in the benefits of an expanding wolf population; adding new sections to chapter 77.36 RCW; and creating a new section.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1. (1) The legislature finds that enthusiasm continues to build throughout the state by the opportunities created as Washington's wolf population continues to grow. Unfortunately, only a limited number of Washington residents are able to appreciate these majestic creatures in the wild. While the number of packs continues to multiply, they remain largely isolated in concentrated pockets of eastern Washington.
(2) The legislature further finds that moving a majority of the state's current gray wolf population elsewhere in the state would allow for the apex predators native prey in the region, which has thinned in recent years, to recover, and would simultaneously bring ecological balance to regions of this state that have been awaiting their return for decades.
(3) The legislature further finds that although the gray wolf population has flourished since their official return to Washington in 2008, the numerous benefits this animal species brings to the people of Washington requires its protection. The unique geography of one particular region of this state would make it ideal for the translocation of a portion of this species.
(4) The legislature further finds Bainbridge Island, known for its beauty and biological diversity, is an ideal location for the first state gray wolf sanctuary. The geographic isolation of Bainbridge Island creates a natural border to keep the wolves isolated to an area where they can be protected, studied, and, most importantly, admired by the region's animal lovers.
(5) The legislature further finds the benefits of a wolf sanctuary on Bainbridge Island to include, but not be limited to, balanced ecosystems, and native food sources and habitat to support a growing wolf population. The introduction of this apex predator to the island ecosystem would alleviate concerns of potential trophic cascade in other local species. Bainbridge Island's central location to a number of population centers also makes it an ideal location for the largely untapped wolf tourism industry. The ecological, economic, and spiritual benefits wolves have brought to eastern Washington needs to be shared with the rest of the state.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 77.36 RCW to read as follows:
(1) The department shall, in an effort to perpetuate the species and minimize landowner conflicts, rely on the translocation of wolves as the primary tool for managing wolf-related wildlife interactions in the areas of the state where wolves are naturally occurring.
(2)(a) The department must establish and administer a gray wolf sanctuary on an island in Puget Sound whose total land area is twenty-seven and sixty-one one-hundredths square miles.
(b) A wolf may only be translocated from an area of the state where it naturally occurred to the sanctuary established in (a) of this subsection.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3. A new section is added to chapter 77.36 RCW to read as follows:
The department shall consider lethal removal of wolves to attempt to change pack behavior to reduce the potential for recurrent depredations while continuing to promote wolf recovery consistent with the following criteria:
(1) Lethal removal of wolves must be considered for every four confirmed wolf kills of domestic dogs; for every four confirmed wolf kills of domestic cats; and for every two confirmed wolf kills of children;
(2) At least two proactive deterrence measures and responsive deterrence measures have been implemented and failed to meet the goal of changing pack behavior to reduce the potential for recurrent wolf depredations;
(3) The department expects depredations to continue;
(4) The department has documented the use of appropriate deterrence measures and notified the public of wolf activities in a timely manner; and
(5) The lethal removal of wolves is not expected to harm the wolf population's ability to reach recovery objectives statewide or within individual wolf recovery regions.
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