The return of the gray wolf to Oregon has already resulted in conflicts between the predatory animal and livestock, leading to past, present and future losses for ranchers. But some help will soon become available via the state's $100,000 program to compensate ranchers for losses.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture is finalizing rules surrounding the compensation program passed by the state legislature.
"Even though a plan is in place to manage wolves returning to Oregon, there is compensation for the suffering of livestock and the producers who experience losses due to depredation," says Don Hansen, state veterinarian.
"The legislature has decided to support those people who have suffered losses as well as those who want to protect their livestock by practicing prevention."
House Bill 3560 directed ODA to establish an implement a wolf depredation compensation and financial assistance grant program. The funds may go to ranchers who have had their livestock killed or injured by wolves, or to those who take measures to reduce the possibility of wolf attacks.
The ultimate decision of who gets the money, how much, and why will be made at the county level.
"ODA has the responsibility to oversee the program, but the monies go to the counties," explains Hansen. "It's the counties who have the responsibility to apply the rules, request the grants, and distribute the funds that are received."
Counties are directed to award funds under one of two scenarios. Compensation may be paid to persons who suffer loss or injury due to livestock or working dogs due to wolf depredation. Financial assistance may also be provided to persons who implemented livestock management techniques or non-lethal wolf deterrence methods designed to limit wolf and livestock interactions.
The rules are set up to ensure the awards are appropriate and that money isn't handed out just because it is requested.