November 09, 2020

Pouring Bureaucratic Syrup on the Wolves

Gray wolf (Colorado Parks & Wildlife)
The people have spoken: Coloradans voted by a roughly 1% margin to order Colorado Parks & Wildlife to re-introduce gray wolves.   Or as one site put it: "Urban vote decides for rural Colorado."

As the Grand Junction ABC affiliate reports, roughly 62% of Western Slope voters said no to the measure, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Front Range voter advantage.

Which is usually the way it goes on statewide votes. 

The pro-wolf faction adopted the language of nature:

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, a backer of the proposition, said this is the first time citizens have voted to initiate the restoration of a native species.

“Voters throughout Colorado took politicians out of the picture, choosing to restore natural balance by returning wolves to their rightful place in Colorado,” said Rob Edward, fund president.

 CPW director Dan Prenzlow bowed to the inevitable:

“Our agency consists of some of the best and brightest in the field of wildlife management and conservation. I know our wildlife experts encompass the professionalism, expertise, and scientific focus that is essential in developing a strategic species management plan. CPW is committed to developing a comprehensive plan and in order to do that, we will need input from Coloradans across our state. We are evaluating the best path forward to ensure that all statewide interests are well represented."

So where does the money come from?
(Graphic: University of Maine)

When agency heads start talking about "leadership" and "plans" and "stakeholders" and "statewider interests," and other vague terms, I call it "pouring bureaucratic syrup over a problem." Lots of soothing talk, sort of telling a child who awoke from a bad dream to just go back to sleep, Mommy is here.  Glug-glug-glug.

(I knew one US Forest Service district ranger who absolutely mastered it; I don't know if she accepted Smokey Bear as her personal savior, but she sure could drop twenty buzzwords in one sentence.)

Colorado now has a Wolf Management Website where you can track the process of trying to do what the voters requested while trying to find the money to pay for it. There is good information there on the legalities of "introduced" wolves versus those who wander in on their own, which agency (federal or stte) manages which wolves, and so on.

UPDATE: Newly elected State Senator Bob Rankin, who represents the area that included both self-transplanted wolves and the proposed wolf release, plants to introduce a bill to re-locate an equivalent number of wolves to Boulder and Jefferson counties. (Jefferson includes most of Denver's western suburbs.) 

“I do intend to do that,” Rankin — who won formal election to the state Senate last week — said following his victory. “I’m going to have to admit: it’s more just a protest, more than anything else, to call attention to the fact that the people most affected voted against [Proposition 114].”

 The bill stands no chance, and he knows it. There was a "credible" sighting on the Eastern Slope earlier this year though.




Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

I noted this event in my overlong, and still running, election thread on my blog. Regarding this, my comment (which linked back to an earlier post here), was as follows:

A ballot initiative in Colorado was very narrowly passed requiring the Colorado Department of Fish and Game to reintroduce wolves to the western slope of Colorado.

There's a lot that's wrong with this idea, including its geographic scope. An NPR article on it depicted two Boomer hippy backers in their dwelling in Denver, the crowded weedy metropolis on the East slope where wolves won't be going. I'd support introducing wolves to Denver, but that proposal wasn't made. . . not surprisingly.

Additionally, wolves have reintroduced themselves to the West slope and don't need Flower Power to do it. Given that, hopefully the Colorado fish and game can just maintain that the wolves self reintroduction accomplished the goal and manage that.

Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

As an aside, if you haven't heard the CBC comedy show This Was That's bogus interview (it always pretended to be a news program, often quite effectively) about reintroducing grizzly bears to a city park in Toronto, you really should. It's hilarious.

Not that this is related to the topic at hand, rather my snarky comment regarding Denver brought that up.