Ag awards wolf grants to stem 36% rise

wolf-or10The Oregon Department of Agriculture

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has approved $129,664 in funding distributed to 13 counties as part of the Oregon Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance County Block Grant Program. Funds for 2016 have been distributed for actual livestock losses or injuries 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.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon’s 2015 wolf population increased 36 percent from the previous year to 110 wolves.

Wallowa, Umatilla and Baker counties continued to experience the bulk of the state’s wolf activity and have received $101,953– approximately 78 percent of the money awarded for 2016.

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 are made on a reimbursement basis for depredations that occurred during the previous grant cycle. Wallowa, Klamath, and Umatilla were the only counties filing claims with ODA that experienced confirmed or probable livestock losses in the 2015 cycle. These three counties are being awarded $10,614 to compensate affected ranchers for losses due to death and/or injury. Wallowa County received $3,887, Klamath County received $3,796, and Umatilla County received $2,931 for compensation.

Of the total funding provided by the block grants this year, $71,500– or 55 percent– is going towards proactive, non-lethal efforts to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock. County level advisory committees established by the grant program’s legislation requested funds to undertake proactive conflict deterrence efforts. Historically, these deterrent techniques include one or more of the following activities:

· Reducing attractants– bone pile removal, carcass disposal sites
· Barriers– fencing, fladry, electrified fladry
· Human presence– range riders, herders
· Livestock protection dogs and other guarding animals
· Alarm or scare devices– Radio-Activated-Guard (RAG) device, other light and sound making devices
· Hazing or harassment of wolves– loud noises, spotlights, or other confrontation with wolves
· Livestock management/husbandry changes– changing pastures, night feeding, reduced calving period, birthing earlier, changing herd structure
· Experimental practices– bio-fencing, belling cattle
· Public outreach/education for ranchers

A total of $5,335 was awarded to nine counties to help with administrative 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 2016 Grant Period:

· Umatilla, $52,778
· Wallowa, $26,887
· Baker, $22,288
· Klamath, $8,796
· Union, $5,000
· Morrow, $3,675
· Lake, $3,000
· Crook, $2,000
· Wasco, $1,750
· Wheeler, $1,250
· Sherman, $1,250
· Malheur, $495
· Jackson, $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 wolf advisory committee.

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