County asked to send rep to help draft wolf policy

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By David Giuliani

The San Miguel County Commission made its point clear a couple of months ago: No wolves are allowed in this county.

County officials, of course, are well aware that wolves don’t read local ordinances. They merely wanted to send the message to the federal government that they didn’t want any program to reintroduce the Mexican wolf or any other wolf to the county. That’s because cattlemen fear that the wolves would prey on their livestock.

Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is preparing a proposed rule for altering the the Mexican wolf experimental population area. The agency is asking counties to enter memorandums of understanding to have counties designate representatives on an interdisciplinary team to help prepare the rule with the federal agency.

Alex Tafoya, the county’s planning and zoning supervisor, told the commission Tuesday the county may want to send a representative, especially since it passed an amendment to its ordinance in May banning wolves and wolf hybrids.

However, Commissioner Hugh Ley wondered if the federal agency would provide reimbursements to help defray the costs of sending a representative. Otherwise, he said, it would be a huge drain on the county’s resources.

County Manager Les Montoya said he didn’t believe there would be reimbursements.

Ley said he wasn’t willing to expend county resources on sending a representative to meetings. “I don’t think we can be more explicit — no wolves in the county,” he said.

But he added that it was “enticing” to take part in the process of drafting the policy on wolves.

Montoya said the county could contact the New Mexico Association of Counties and determine whether that group could send a representative on behalf of counties.