Ag Dept. doles out wolf impact funds

By Oregon Dept of Agriculture

2013 block grants address wolf depredation & non-lethal prevention measures

The Oregon Department of Agriculture, working with Governor Kitzhaber’s office, has approved $25,038 in funding distributed to seven counties east of the Cascade Mountains as part of the Oregon Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance County Block Grant Program.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Legislature has approved $200,000 for the 2013-15 biennium to fund the county block grant program, which doubles the amount approved for 2011-13.

Funds for the 2013 grant period were limited by payments made in 2012 and a lack of contributions to the program from non-governmental sources. Funds for 2013 have been distributed for actual livestock losses caused by wolves, for missing livestock above the normal historical levels in areas of known wolf activity, for proactive efforts to prevent wolf and livestock interactions, and for county wolf program implementation.

“These block grants are an important part of advancing balanced solutions to wolf recovery issues,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “I’m pleased the Oregon Legislature has approved additional funds for the 2013-15 biennium, but as wolf numbers increase, so does the potential for conflict and the need for proactive measures. The state’s resources are not boundless, and we need partners to commit to diversifying and solidifying the funding for this program.”

Wallowa, Umatilla, Baker, and Union counties– four counties experiencing the bulk of the state’s wolf activity– have received $23,553, or 94 percent, of the money allocated for 2013.

The state has paid 100 percent of the claims submitted to ODA tied to confirmed or probable livestock losses due to wolves. Livestock owners worked with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to document these losses. Payments for depredations are made on a reimbursement basis. Wallowa, Baker, and Umatilla are the only three counties that have experienced confirmed or probable livestock losses and these three counties were awarded $7,396 to compensate affected ranchers for those losses.

Of the total funding provided by the block grants this year, $6,150 is going towards proactive, non-lethal efforts to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock. Last year, the initial year of the program, $66,500 or 80 percent went towards non-lethal prevention measures which continue to help reduce interaction between wolves and livestock. With the limited amount of money available for the second year of biennial funding, a majority of awards are compensating ranchers who have had livestock killed or injured since the last round of funding.

County level advisory committees established by the program’s legislation requested funds to undertake proactive conflict deterrence efforts. Historically, these deterrent techniques include bone pile removal, range riders, electric fencing, fladry, and, radio activated guard boxes.

This marks the first year that funding will be provided for missing livestock above normal historical levels in areas of known wolf activity. Livestock owners claiming these losses not only are required to provide historical documentation to their county advisory committees, but also required to reasonably eliminate other possible causes for their elevated missing livestock totals. Wallowa and Umatilla counties were awarded a total of $8,667 for missing livestock claims.

A total of $2,825 was awarded to six counties to help with county implementation costs.

The following is a list of the total awards made by ODA to counties as part of the Oregon Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance County Block Grant Program for the 2013 Grant Period:

Wallowa $14,038
Umatilla $6,045
Union $1,575
Baker $1,895
Malheur $495
Morrow $495
Wheeler $495

The fund process remains available for counties to address depredations that occur in the future. In that event, livestock operators should submit claims to their local county advisory committee.

Disclaimer: Articles featured on Oregon Report are the creation, responsibility and opinion of the authoring individual or organization which is featured at the top of every article.