Meet Our Speakers: Jay Kehne

Jay Kehne is an advocate for wolf recovery and adaptive grazing management for Conservation Northwest. His work draws from over 30 years of experience working for the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and networking with the community and local ranchers. As wolves—an endangered species in many regions—repopulate, they are venturing into Washington from Idaho and British Columbia for the first time in 100 years. Wolves are another danger for livestock beyond the persisting threats of bears, cougars, and coyotes. Despite general distrust of environmental interests and conflicting foundational values, Jay strives to engage ranchers to support livestock management techniques that simultaneously ensure ranchers’ economic security and wolf survival. After Jay was selected to the Fish and Wildlife Commission, the community was concerned Jay’s contributions did not represent the interests and people of eastern Washington. Despite these challenges, Jay works tirelessly to find strategies for wolf management that support ranching, ecological, and environmental interests. For example, once wolves recover and are no longer listed as endangered, future policy could enable removal of wolf packs if they cause excessive cattle loss past a threshold. Fundamentally, Jay believes wolf recovery will happen in Washington and looks forward to working on the challenges associated with a stronger ecosystem containing wolves.

By Elizabeth Greenfield