Op-Ed: Moffat County, AGNC calls on Governor, CPW to engage in robust, transparent and effective discussion regarding Prop 114 | CraigDailyPress.com
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Op-Ed: Moffat County, AGNC calls on Governor, CPW to engage in robust, transparent and effective discussion regarding Prop 114

Op-Ed: Moffat County, AGNC calls on Governor, CPW to engage in robust, transparent and effective discussion regarding Prop 114

 

Courtesy Photo / Moffat County
Moffat County commissioners Don Cook, Ray Beck, and Donald Broom.

Once again, out-of-state special interests have funded a ballot initiative (Proposition 114-Wolf Introduction) to manage wildlife in a manner that is neither scientific nor in the best interest of wildlife or the citizens of Colorado.

We are greatly concerned when we hear wildlife commission members advocating to fast-track wolf introduction (releasing wolves in 2021) and foregoing adequate time to develop a comprehensive management plan. Proposition 114 requires that CPW “takes steps necessary to begin reintroduction of gray wolves by December 31,2023.”

Our county strongly objects to any efforts to short-circuit or abandon the planning window provided by Prop 114 that interferes with public input, transparency, and that jeopardizes the safety of our communities and economies.



Our county is in support of the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC) submission of a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request to determine if, indeed, CPW and the Governor’s office are working to accelerate the development of a plan and limit public and stakeholder input on this important matter.

Proposition 114, requiring the reintroduction of gray wolves on designated lands in Colorado, west of the continental divide, passed by a narrow >2% margin in November. It is not hard for urban voters to support such a measure when it doesn’t impact them.



The measure states the General Assembly, “Shall make such appropriations as are necessary to fund the programs authorized and obligations, including fair compensation for livestock losses … but cannot be paid from moneys in the wildlife cash fund…”

Money is not the only issue. Wolf presence around livestock, change behaviors of livestock. Whether it’s cattle, sheep, domestic horses, or “wild horse” herds in Sandwash, wolves negatively impact other animals. Wolves change grazing behaviors, herding characteristics, add stress to pregnant livestock, and generally negatively impacts the ability to care for, and manage domesticated animals. Wolves have been naturally migrating into Colorado for some time, but now we will spend millions of dollars on an unnecessary recovery program at the expense of education, transportation, health care and any number of State priorities.

Each wolf will take approximately 22 ungulates each year just to survive which could lead to radical reductions in hunting licenses, ergo radical reductions in available funds for all wildlife programs.

As elected officials, we are charged with the health, safety, and welfare of our constituents as well as visitors to our communities. The language passed by voters in Proposition 114 indicates a lengthy planning period to address concerns. The ballot measure calls for statewide hearings to gather information needed to develop a plan for reintroduction. Information to be gathered includes scientific, economic, and social considerations as stated in the ballot language.

Elected officials across Northwestern Colorado call on his administration and CPW to engage in a robust, transparent and effective discussion through public hearings across the State, to develop a plan that will accomplish the directive of Proposition 114. Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado’s wildlife specialists, should thoughtfully. and inclusively, lead this planning effort consistent with the 3 year time frame of Proposition 114.

Our residents voted against this measure and as stakeholders, as well as the people in Colorado most directly impacted by wolf introductions, we should be very involved in the development of a plan that will have far reaching and long-lasting consequences to our citizens, communities, wildlife, and economies.

Respectfully,

Commissioners Ray Beck, Don Cook, and Donald Broom


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