Rep. Joel Kretz introduces wolf relocation legislation

Rep. Joel Kretz (7th Legislative Dist.)

OLYMPIA – After Western Washington legislators extolled the value of wolf packs in Eastern Washington, Rep. Joel Kretz (7th District) decided he would assist in the efforts to make relocating wolf packs to Western Washington easier through legislation this year.

House Bill 1258 would remove barriers, both natural and regulatory, to the relocation of wolves from around the state to Western Washington locations, such as the Olympic Peninsula and San Juan Islands.

“We have a situation where folks on the west side of the state really want to share in the ecological benefits wolves bring to our state, but barriers such as Interstate Five and waterways, like those surrounding the San Juan Islands, inhibit the natural migration of wolves to those areas,” Kretz explained. “My bill would create a system by which community members, including legislators, could request wolves be transported by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife across the natural barriers to thrive in new habitat where they will be welcomed.”

Kretz said Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) is one of the biggest proponents of wolf reintroduction to the state and two of the San Juan Islands would be perfect for reintroduction.

The legislator says he’s having fun, but is also serious about the measure.

“You know I went around with a blue sheet thinking they’d rush to get on board, but I didn’t get one signature from the west side. This was a fun one, because that’s where all the support for the wolves comes from. They like wolves, but only when they’re in our district,” said Kretz.

House Bill 1258 would ensure all Washingtonians share in the benefits of an expanding wolf population, according to the bill’s title.

“This is a one-Washington bill, this is a classic of what you hear when they want to build a stadium and such. This is their chance to step up and create a truly united Washington.

“I’m serious and I’m going to push it. If I could get our delisting bill through that would allow regional delisting areas as the federal government (east of Highway 97) has done it wouldn’t have such an impact.”

Kretz said the way it stands now the wolves have to be recovered statewide, but he says that could take decades.

“Washington State has a long tradition of land stewardship that makes excellent agriculture regions and habitat for large predators, such as wolves,” Kretz said.

“Private landowners are the best and most effective environmentalists. As such, there are areas on the west side of the state that would fit the bill for large predator habitat. We should not geographically limit the migration of wolves to areas where they will be welcomed and there is the habitat that allows them to flourish,” he said.

Kretz added that he and other residents in the Seventh District feel greedy for hoarding all the ecological benefits of wolf packs.

“It’s clear our part of the state is home to the lion’s share of these large predators. My bill would help the Department of Fish and Wildlife accelerate the pace of translocating wolves so all Washingtonians can enjoy them,” Kretz said.

“This move could generate the eco-tourism west side legislators always cite as part of growing our economy.”

The Wauconda Republican was concerned with the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s decision to host public meetings on wolf management in areas of the state where there aren’t any wolves.

“The department hosted public forums in Spokane Valley, Olympia and Seattle. These places don’t have any wolf packs, which raises one obvious question: Why hold the meeting there?” Kretz asked. “Those meetings should have been held in locations where people have actual experience in dealing with the animals. My constituents are frustrated and I don’t blame them.”

However, if the measure proposed by Kretz were signed into law, meetings in Seattle and other locales on the west side of the state would be necessary.

“My bill, if passed, would truly be a successful collaboration between east and west, urban and rural and rich and poor parts of the state,” said Kretz.

“Those residents and communities that support housing wolf packs at all costs are free to do so. Those of us dealing with the economic costs associated with loss of livestock and pets can deem the wolves nuisances and, therefore, make the animals available for relocation where they will be set free to roam unfettered in new habitat.”

Kretz said he expects the legislation will be embraced in a bipartisan manner.

“This truly is a “one Washington” bill,” Kretz said.

For more information, visit his website at: www.houserepublicans.wa.gov.

 

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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10 Responses to Rep. Joel Kretz introduces wolf relocation legislation

  1. Jeff Evans January 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    Best use of our tax dollars yet. Good job Joel, saw three above Chesaw that they could take.

  2. Debra K. Donahue January 25, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    A big thanks to Joel for trying to remedy a potential disaster to the ungulate herds in our area. Seems every day there are more reports of wolves seen. Our area also is housing more wolf packs than anywhere else in the state. The WDFW Wolf Management Plan does not address the issue of an overpopulation of wolves in one area, and with very few in other areas. The westside of WA State is a big proponent of the wolves, yet they have little to none of them. So in all fairness it would be beneficial to our area, to transport a few of our packs to those who have none. I find it interesting that there is ANY opposition to this bill, as many prowolf advocates are "excited" to see wolves in the landscape, and one would think that this bill would tickle them pink. Yet, they are opposing such a bill… leads me to believe they want and love wolves in everyone else's backyard, but not their own. Also, the wolves are getting closer and closer to our rural towns and they do not belong in human populated areas. They belong in the wilderness and away from people. We will soon see more livestock depredation, and ungulate herd decimation. Our area does not have enough ungulates to accommodate this many wolf packs, and will lead to them feed on cattle, other livestock, and pets. We can look next door to our neighbor Idaho and see what an overpopulation of wolves does to the ungulate herds, ranchers, and pet owners. There are wolves running through small towns and into schoolyards… we should not tolerate such a thing happening here. I live 2.5 miles south of Oroville and the local wolf pack has spent a week at my house awhile back… believe it is down in Tonasket now. Needless to say, my dogs cannot go outside without me, nor can my children or grandchildren, and when I go out must pack a gun for protection. One would think these measures need not be taken living where I do… but the wolves WILL change our lifestyles. Do hope that Joel's House Bill 1258 will move through smoothly.

  3. Angela Eggert Field January 25, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    LIKE, LIKE, LIKE!!!

  4. Dory McIsaac January 25, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

    Good response, Debra. Maybe once they are relocated from WA east to west, then WA could get a special permit and take a few from Idaho over there, too…

  5. Rick Hagen January 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    Great Idea! Would be such a Joy for the nice folks on the west side of the state to be able to experiance these majestic creatures. We would happily send some from Eastern Oregon. Portland and surrounding areas would be a good fit for this program too.

    “You know I went around with a blue sheet thinking they’d rush to get on board, but I didn’t get one signature from the west side.

    It's time for a change if your politicians won't support this bill-hence depriving all thr fine citizens a chance to live in Harmony with wolves!

  6. Rick Hagen January 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    Great Idea! Would be such a Joy for the nice folks on the west side of the state to be able to experiance these majestic creatures. We would happily send some from Eastern Oregon. Portland and surrounding areas would be a good fit for this program too.

    “You know I went around with a blue sheet thinking they’d rush to get on board, but I didn’t get one signature from the west side.

    It's time for a change if your politicians won't support this bill-hence depriving all thr fine citizens a chance to live in Harmony with wolves!

  7. Jack Graham January 26, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    And while were at it let's reintroduce some grizzly bears in washington DC and see how they get along

  8. Bobbi Hackett January 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Is it possible to impeach a legislator in this State? Joel Kretz has embarrassed himself, the Republican Party, and the Seventh District with his childish, attention seeking political gamesmanship. This is classic bubble (singular reality) behavior.
    How much tax payer money is he wasting by pursuing this bad joke and bad politics? Mr. Kretz did not name one resident of the Seventh District who is being ravaged by marauding wolf packs. The effective private landowner conservationists I know have been working for years to develop private/business/government partnerships and define best practices for resource management. What has been Mr. Kretz’s contribution to that effort? We need more than a warm body in Olympia.
    Does this bill represent the opinion of the State Republican Party? The days of politely tolerating “stupid,” as Republican leadership admitted, are over. This kind of divisive humor and bubble reasoning lost the Republican Party political power and credibility. Mr. Kretz did not name one other legislator – East or West side – who has signed on to his bill. What part of “one Washington” does he not understand? This humor may be funny in private conversation but, I for one do not find it funny. At least he was honest enough to expose his political IQ.
    I don’t know what Mr. Kretz understands about dignity and respect; I was taught that respect is earned. One earns respect by treating other people respectfully. What I want and need from my representative is a leader who understands and facilitates partnership. I want a leader who has the skills needed to facilitate the common vision of the all the people in our district. How do you know that vision if you only talk to imaginary frustrated ranchers? Does he think he is the only special interest who feels like they have no voice; who are frustrated with the political status quo?
    Our district’s economy is founded on the value we place on interconnection with nature. Farming, ranching, tourism, mining, healthcare, justice, lifestyle are all based on the foundation of dependence on and love of nature. We value dignity and respect and love for family and all community members.
    We need a leader mature enough to understand the Big Picture. We need a leader who has enough education to understand how the various pieces of that puzzle fit together. We need a leader who has a basic understanding of science, biology, economics, culture, and yes, politics. We need a leader who has the courage and skill to respectfully listen to and work with all his constituents and fellow legislators for our common well-being.
    We have jobs that need doing. We are innovating solutions to real problems. We need those jobs to pay. The structure of partnerships in the Seventh District already exists. We need a representative with some political savvy to champion our efforts in Olympia. We need a leader who will facilitate our efforts to make Equality, and the dignity of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness economically viable. We don’t need a bill that sticks it to a straw man.

  9. Rita Sullivan January 29, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Tell us what you REALLY think, Sister!! Good job!

  10. Carolyn Kiesz January 31, 2013 at 5:28 am #

    @ Bobbi Hacket – Get a grip! It is a humorous way to make a SERIOUS point. Wolves are dangerous predators. IF the folks on the WEST side of the state are so in love with wolves, as they seem to be — pushing them on the East side, then why not make wolves available to live in their communities. I believe it is an excellent idea to bring light to a serious subject. I know many people in Idaho who are fighting wolves that were introduced there. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. There is nothing that Kretz has done that is undignified or disrespectful. Your personal attack is astounding. "Imaginary frustrated ranchers?" Whoa… Are you talking about Elwood P. Doud or Joel Kretz?

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