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Comment period extended for cougar management plan
     Date: January 6, 2006
   
SALEM The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission today announced it will extend the public comment period for revisions to the draft Oregon Cougar Management Plan, to ensure that those with an interest in the issue have sufficient time to provide input.

The decision was made after the Oregon Sporting Dogs Association, the Oregon chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Humane Society of the United States made formal requests, pursuant to ORS 183.335. The law provides for an agency extension of its intended rulemaking action at the request of interested parties.

With the new timeline, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to make a final rulemaking decision on the proposed cougar plan following a 1 p.m. hearing April 13 in Salem.

Oregons cougar population is estimated at more than 5,000 animals. While wildlife managers consider cougars an Oregon success story, the cats are encountering increasing conflicts with human and livestock populations.

ODFW last updated its cougar management plan in 1993. The proposed plan reflects changes to ODFWs management authorities since that time, and outlines a more responsive approach to managing cougars to minimize conflicts. It was developed during the past year with public and stakeholder input that has included six public meetings, two focus group meetings and more than 2,000 public comments from more than 1,000 individuals.

The proposed cougar management plan is available on ODFWs Web site, www.dfw.state.or.us.

ODFW welcomes comments on the draft Cougar Management Plan. Comments may be submitted via email to cougar.plan@state.or.us, or in-person at public meetings. Written comments should be sent to ODFW Cougar Plan, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE, Salem, OR 97303. Written comments must be received by April 12 to be included in packets delivered to the Commissioners. Comments will be accepted through the end of the cougar hearing April 13.

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