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Proposed Rule Challenges State’s Wildlife Management Authority; Gov. Walker Requests Comment Period Extension


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(Juneau) – The State of Alaska strongly opposes draft regulations published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that would usurp the state’s authority to manage fish and wildlife in Alaska’s 16 national wildlife refuges.

Released today for preliminary public review, the proposed rule would require that fish and wildlife be managed for natural fluctuations, impacting the state’s ability to manage wildlife populations for subsistence and other consumptive uses under the sustained yield concept.

As proposed, the regulation would also contradict the state’s role under agreements made in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act to manage fish and wildlife on all lands in Alaska.

“Ultimately, the new regulations would have significant impacts on Alaskans,” said Bruce Dale, director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, “particularly those living a subsistence way of life.”

Further concerns have been raised that, once established in Alaska, similar regulations could be implemented in national wildlife refuges in other states.

“The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, of which all 50 state fish and wildlife agencies are members, is concerned that the USFWS, by administrative fiat or the result of litigation, will apply this draft regulation to all national wildlife refuges,” wrote AFWA Government Affairs Director Jen Mock Schaeffer in correspondence with the department.

Because of the proposed rule’s wide-ranging implications on the people of Alaska, Gov. Walker intends to request that the USFWS extend the public comment period from 60 to 121 days.

National wildlife refuge landholdings in Alaska are significant, comprising 76,774,229 acres statewide.

For more information, contact Bruce Dale at (907) 861-2101, or e-mail bruce.dale@alaska.gov .

 

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