The Oregon Department of Agriculture just announced awards of $82,970 in grants to eight counties in eastern Oregon to help manage wolf conflicts. A portion of the funds ($13,320) is going toward repaying ranchers in Wallowa County for livestock losses to wolves. Most of the money ($66,500) is going toward preventing future livestock depredations.
Wallowa County, a hotbed of wolf conflicts, received a $38,725 altogether, nearly half of the total funds awarded. The county got kudos from Gov. John Kitzhaber and ODA Director Katy Coba for its application to the compensation program, which was created by a bill the Oregon Legislature passed last year.
“Wallowa County’s first-ever application to this program was very well done, balanced and documented,” said Coba. “It can serve as a model for other counties in the future.”
The Legislature set aside $100,000 in wolf compensation funds to be spent over two years. This is the first set of awards under the state’s new program, and it leaves $17,030 left to be distributed next year.
ODA spokesman Bruce Pokarney said his agency received $132,000 in applications for funds, but $37,000 of them were requests to repay ranchers for livestock losses that had not been confirmed wolf depredations.
Each of the eight counties that received grants has a wolf compensation committee with various stakeholders represented, as required by the law. Pokarney said those committees will make specific decisions about how the county’s funds get distributed.
Here’s how the grants broke down by county:
- Wallowa $38,725
- Umatilla $15,495
- Union $9,000
- Baker $7,995
- Malheur $3,495
- Grant $3,495
- Jefferson $3,495
- Crook $1,270