SALEM — Wolves are increasing in numbers and expanding in distribution across Oregon, the Fish and Wildlife Commission heard at its meeting in Salem on Friday.
ODFW Wolf Coordinator Russ Morgan presented the 2014 Oregon Wolf Report. ODFW documented 77 known wolves in Oregon in 2014, including 26 pups that survived through the end of the year. Eight of Oregon’s nine known wolf packs were “breeding pairs,” meaning they had at least two pups born in spring that survived through the end of the year. Six new pairs of wolves were also documented in Oregon last year, Morgan said.
While 2014 saw fewer incidents of livestock depredation by wolves than the previous year, Morgan noted an increase in sheep depredation. He also discussed the management rules in effect since late January 2015 in the eastern third of Oregon (east of state highways 395-78-95), where the state is in Phase II of its Wolf Management Plan.
“Non-lethal preventive measures are still very important in Phase II,” Morgan told commissioners.
The commission also approved $755,093 in funding for 14 enhancement and one restoration projects recommended by the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Board, and a combined 2015-17 program budget for the R&E and Salmon Trout Enhancement programs.
The commission appointed William Bronson, a retired forester from Eugene, as the new landowner representative for the Access and Habitat Board and approved continued funding for several A&H projects that provide public hunting access to private land.
The commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. It usually meets monthly. The next meeting is April 24 in Bend.