Heidi McIntosh, a lawyer with Earthjustice, said it’s long overdue and will set much-needed benchmarks for a full recovery.
“That was one of the main reasons that the wolves had really continued to struggle for survival despite the fact that they’ve been listed now for 40 years," McIntosh said.
Earthjustice is one of the groups that sued to force the agency to set a deadline and finish the plan.
The plan could introduce the Mexican gray wolf to southern Colorado—something Gov. John Hickenlooper, farmers and ranchers have opposed because the animals aren't native to the state.
“Number one, first and foremost, would be not to extend that critical habitat into Colorado," said Brent Boydston, with the Colorado Farm Bureau.
Environmental groups say Mexican gray wolf introduction in Colorado could provide more genetic diversity to the 97 wolves that currently live in New Mexico and Arizona.