The Oregon Department of Agriculture, working with Governor Kitzhaber’s office, has approved $82,970 in funding appropriated by the 2011 State Legislature for county-level work to implement the Oregon Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance County Block Grant Program. Funds have been distributed to eight counties east of the Cascade Mountains for actual livestock losses caused by wolves and for proactive efforts to prevent wolf impacts on livestock.
“We are pleased to announce these awards, and we thank everyone involved for their efforts to implement this new program,” says Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba. “The conflict between wolves and livestock is controversial, and addressing the issue appropriately is important to all sides. We think this program is a good example of how government at the state and county levels can effectively work together to make a difference.”
Wallowa, Union, Baker, and Umatilla counties- four counties experiencing the bulk of the state’s wolf activity- have received $71,215, or 86 percent, of the money allocated from the fund.
The state has paid 100 percent of the claims tied to confirmed or probable livestock losses due to wolves. Livestock owners worked with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to document these losses. Payments for depredations are made on a reimbursement basis. Wallowa County is the only county that experienced confirmed or probable livestock losses and was awarded $13,320 to compensate affected ranchers for those losses.
Of the total funding provided by the block grants, $66,500, or 80 percent, is going towards proactive, non-lethal efforts to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock. County level advisory committees established by the program’s legislation advanced grant requests to undertake proactive conflict deterrence efforts.
Governor John Kitzhaber praised the implementation of the new program.
“I commend the counties, their local advisory committees, and landowners for recognizing the program and underlying law’s dual purpose of compensating for livestock losses when they happen while providing grants to try and deter wolf-livestock conflicts from happening in the first place,” says Governor Kitzhaber.
Kitzhaber also praised the efforts of Wallowa County, which received $25,000 for preventative activities- the largest amount for prevention among the eight counties receiving funds- as well as compensation funds for actual livestock death or injury due to wolf activity.
ODA Director Coba agreed.
“Wallowa County’s first-ever application to this program was very well done, balanced and documented,” says Coba. “It can serve as a model for other counties in the future.”
No funds have been distributed for potential future depredations in Wallowa or any other county. 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 advisory committee.
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:
– Wallowa $38,725 – Umatilla $15,495 – Union $9,000 – Baker $7,995 – Malheur $3,495 – Grant $3,495 – Jefferson $3,495 – Crook $1,270