Stevens County commissioners request wolf collar data

Matthew Weaver/Capital Press Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Carnivore Section Manager Donny Martorello demonstrates the kind of wolf collar information access the department hopes to make available to ranchers by spring turnout of their livestock onto grazing areas during the department's meeting on wolf and livestock conflicts Feb. 27 in Colville, Wash.

By MATTHEW WEAVER

Capital Press

Commissioners in Stevens County have asked the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for data from wolf collars.

Commissioner Don Dashiell, a rancher in Hunters, Wash., said the commissioners requested that daily information be given to its information service department, to be distributed to the Stevens County Sheriff's Office.

The GPS collars help wildlife managers locate the wolves.

"So that they know at any time the most current locations of the collared wolves," he said. "We want to use it to head off any potential problems."

Dashiell hopes for a quick response to the request.

The county plans to put its own map of wolf sightings on its website.

"If the state has 10 sightings in Stevens County, we have a hundred," Dashiell said.

Donny Martorello, WDFW carnivore section manager, said the department has similar arrangements with other forms of data in government-to-government agreements.

"Without a doubt, we'll be sharing that data with them," he said.

Martorello said the department is working on a system to share location data from collared wolves with producers.

The department is working through operational and legal aspects of sharing data from a listed species and hopes to make it available by June 1, Martorello said.

The department receives coordinates from the collars every six hours. Martorello said the department would share that information with producers in a map or table format, or both, in real time with producers.

"They could see, just like we see, every six hours where at least the collared individual is," Martorello said.

"We're just trying to give the producers everything we can to help with the wolf-livestock conflict issue," Martorello said.

Online

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife: http://wdfw.wa.gov/

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