Wallowa County has received a $29,000 grant to help its ranchers with nonlethal wolf deterrents in their struggle against livestock depredations.
The grant was a result of a $30,000 contribution from the federal government to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which was required to provide matching funds before distribution.
The county’s commissioners received a call from the state asking them to request a piece of the pie, as two of the four eligible counties did not apply. County commissioner Susan Roberts didn’t hesitate to make sure the county got its seat at the table.
Roberts said that fladry, best described as a red flag fence, only works as a temporary deterrent. The commissioner went the more permanent route of buying range rider Greg Jennings a new Yamaha Wolverine ATV and a trailer to ride the range.
The new ATV has a cab, winch and heater to make the riding more comfortable for Jennings, who was happy with his upgrade.
“I’m sure it will be nice and handy, a lot nicer than the four-wheeler. I can throw stuff in the bed and still have lots of room,” he said. “It has another seat so I can take someone with me if I need to.”
Commissioner and rancher Todd Nash, whose herd has suffered more than one confirmed depredation, approved the purchase as well.
“It was for nonlethal and had to be used,” Nash said. “Greg had just about worn out his four-wheeler, and he’s been exposed to the weather on it. I think it’s a good use of funds.”
The county spent around $17,000 on the Wolverine and plans to buy a couple of more radio receivers so range riders can more effectively communicate with ranchers about wolf locations. Keeping the funds in the county was important. The ATV was purchased from Outlaw Motor Sports in Enterprise, who appreciated the business.
“It’s really great that the county supports local businesses, and we’re glad Greg’s job will be more comforable,” said co-owner Dustin James.
Roberts said that the remaining $12,000 will need to be spent before Jan. 31 of next year or the funds will be forfeited. She added that a Jan. 12 meeting of the wolf compensation committee will determine how the remainder of the funds are used.