Subject: Help Wolverines Survive
Dear [Decision Maker],
Wolverines are the heart and soul of the North Cascades and the Rocky Mountains and they are on the rebound! The US Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make sure wolverines are still in our country for generations to come. While listing wolverines as "threatened" is an essential step that will help recover wolverines, the Service must also: consider most activities occurring within their high elevation habitat to constitute a significant threat to recovery; designate robust critical habitat that includes currently unprotected areas and recognizes the essential need for core habitat and corridors that connect core habitats; and recognize that climate change exacerbates other existing threats, warranting even more aggressive conservation measures.
The Service should recognize road- and highway-building, noisy motorized recreation, and development as threats and take action to increase wolverine protections by prohibiting "harassment" or "harm." under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act. The Service should design recovery plans to provide the best habitat possible, not the least capable; to provide the least human disturbance as possible, not the most they can tolerate. Wolverines avoid people. Females with kits in a den are disturbed by snowmobiles, machines with nearly unlimited reach that can go fast, far, and loudly into critical denning habitats.
The Service should consider all public lands in the Cascades and Rockies above 2,500 feet for critical habitat protection. Most of this is comprised of National Forest roadless areas, Wilderness, and National Parks. When designating critical habitat, the Service should look for areas with deep, persistent, and reliable snow cover, and vital dispersal corridors within the Cascades and between Cascade and Rocky Mountains so to ensure a well-connected network of denning and dispersal habitat. In Washington State, protections should include places like Esmerelda Basin, Jolly Mountain, Miller Peak, Scatter Creek, Davis Peak, Silver Peak, Blowout Mountain and Windy Ridge.
Climate change and increasing human development are progressively isolating wolverine to their mountain strongholds. Maintaining and restoring habitat connectivity and protecting wolverines from mortality and additional habitat loss is key to allowing them to persist in their snowy habitats and helping them move safely across the landscape. One way to bolster habitat connectivity is to support efforts to provide safe passage for dispersing wolverine in the Cascades (I-90 Snoqualmie East Project, Highway 2 improvements), and other efforts that maintain or promote connectivity between wolverine in the Cascades and Rockies.