During the Meeting the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission discussed:
- Upcoming Commission Educational Sessions
- Public Listening Sessions
- Application process for the Stakeholder Advisory Group
- Frequency of Commission meetings for the remainder of 2021
View a recording of the meeting below. The meeting was streamed live on Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s YouTube page.
Commission Educational Sessions
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Assistant Director of Aquatic, Terrestrial and Natural Resources Reid DeWalt indicated the purpose of the educational sessions would be to educate the commission and public on specific topics of interest (e.g., wolf depredation and livestock conflicts, wolf management, reintroduction efforts in other states, and discussion of disease issues like chronic wasting disease and hydatid disease among other potential topics).
The online webinar-style sessions will draw from subject matter experts from Colorado Parks and Wildlife as well as outside organizations with experience in wolf management issues and other states who have wolves. The series will be posted on Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s website and provided through various communication channels for the public and stakeholders to access. The ultimate goal of this series is to provide the commission and the public with high-level exposure to terminology, experiences of others, insights into conflict mitigation, and some other ideas around wolf planning and restoration. The agency is also looking at the best ways to meet the needs of educators through problem-based learning modules.
Public Listening Sessions
Proposition 114 directs the Commission to hold statewide hearings to collect information to be considered for the wolf reintroduction plan, including scientific, economic, and social considerations pertaining to wolf restoration.
While there was agreement that in-person meetings are preferable, there was also acknowledgement that restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic may mean some of the first meetings are held virtually, with the hope of moving to more in-person meetings by the summer.
There was strong Commission support for a robust stakeholder process, with extra emphasis given to communities on Colorado’s Western Slope, where residents are most likely to be affected by wolf reintroduction.
There was general agreement with DNR Director Dan Gibbs, that the process needed to start as soon as possible, “while remaining nimble and recognizing that every county is not the same as far as where they’re at with COVID.”
Application process for the Stakeholder Advisory Group
The Commission reviewed the roles of the two advisory groups it will convene, in consultation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, to support the management planning process: a Technical Working Group (TWG) and a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG). These groups are advisory bodies to the PWC. They are not decision-making bodies and have no authority on wolf management policy, research, or operations.
The TWG will be responsible for contributing to the scientific content of the Plan, while the SAG will be provided opportunities to make substantive contributions for consideration. Where the SAG is able to achieve consensus on conservation objectives or management strategies, their input will receive priority consideration.
The Commission discussed the pros and cons of commission members serving as ex-officio non-voting members of the SAG. While there was not unanimous agreement, the Commission ultimately decided that to avoid the perception of any undue or unintended influence, no Commission members would sit on these working groups.
Frequency of Commission meetings for the remainder of 2021
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission plans to include additional time in its regularly scheduled meetings for the remainder of 2021 to discuss implementing Proposition 114. An additional meeting may also be added in December 2021 based on the need.
Opportunities for questions and feedback
A complete agenda along with all materials for public review for this meeting can be found on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. The public is encouraged to email written comments related to the wolf restoration and management planning process to the commission at firstname.lastname@example.org. Details on providing public comments for virtual meetings are available on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.
The commission meets regularly and typically travels to communities around the state to facilitate public participation and will resume doing so once COVID-related guidelines allow. Anyone can listen to commission meetings through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. This opportunity keeps constituents informed about the development of regulations and how the commission works with Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff to manage the parks, wildlife and outdoor recreation programs administered by the agency. Find out more about the commission on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.
Travis Duncan is a public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Denver. Travis has lived in Colorado nearly 20 years and loves the outdoors. If you have a question, please email him at email@example.com.