Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wolf fund frozen, at least for now

Oregon's wolf compensation fund is off-limits to ranchers under a recent order by Gov. John Kitzhaber to freeze some general funds. But the Oregon Department of Agriculture is asking counties to establish advisory committees and start assessing wolf compensation requests. Oregon State Veterinarian Don Hansen said he hopes the governor lifts the freeze by Feb. 15, the date the department would like to receive all requests for the newly established fund. "We're going to keep moving forward and think positively," Hansen said. Under the fund, Oregon ranchers are eligible for compensation for wolf depredation suffered after Aug. 2, which is when the fund was enacted. Also under the fund, the department will help ranchers pay for non-lethal measures to prevent wolf attacks. Oregon lawmakers put $100,000 in the fund for the 2011-13 biennium. In the case the state receives requests for more money than is available, Hansen said, officials will "distribute the funds as evenly and as fairly as we can." Wolves from one pack in Eastern Oregon, the Imnaha Pack, have killed 20 cows since the spring of 2010 and six since an Oct. 5 court-ordered stay ended ODFW's plans to kill two wolves from the pack...more

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