Majority of money dedicated to nonlethal efforts
By MITCH LIES
SALEM -- The Oregon Department of Agriculture has approved nearly $83,000 in grants to eight counties to compensate ranchers for costs associated with wolves.
"The conflict between wolves and livestock is controversial, and addressing this issue appropriately is important to all sides," ODA Director Katy Coba said in a news release. "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."
The biggest award by far went to Wallowa County, where wolves have killed more than 20 head of livestock in recent years.
Wallowa County received $13,320 to cover direct losses to wolf depredation and $25,405 for nonlethal control efforts to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock.
Some of the funds pay administrative costs. The vast majority is passed directly to ranchers.
Wallowa County is only place in the state with confirmed losses to wolf depredation since August, when the fund was initiated.
More than $66,000 of the $82,970 distributed by the state -- or about 80 percent of the money -- is dedicated to nonlethal efforts.
Umatilla County, with $15,495 in awards, received the second highest amount; followed by Union with $9,000 and Baker with $7,995.
Malheur, Grant and Jefferson counties each were awarded $3,495. Crook County was awarded $1,270.
Oregon lawmakers provided the state's wolf compensation fund $150,000 for the 2011-13 biennium.
The ODA worked with the office of Gov. John Kitzhaber in approving the awards.