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Colo. legislators ponder measures for ranchers

Range riders considered to help protect herds from wolves.

Farm Press Staff

April 10, 2024

1 Min Read
Gray wolf
Gray wolf.U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The voter-approved initiative in Colorado to transplant wolves there from Oregon has left the state’s legislators scrambling to find ways to help ranchers avoid conflicts with the apex predators.

Colorado’s departments of Agriculture and Parks and Wildlife have submitted a budget request that includes funding to hire range riders, who are boots-on-the-ground support for livestock producers to help protect herds from wolves.

The agencies are also working with herd owners and producers in Grand County, Colo., to respond to a depredation incident reported April 2. The agencies say they’ve been building the capacity to anticipate and prepare for any predator livestock incidents.

A dedicated Wolf Depredation Compensation cash fund has $175,000, provided from the state’s General Fund, in its balance and will receive $350,000 additional General Funds per fiscal year to keep a healthy balance in the fund on an ongoing basis.

For the current fiscal year, CPW has spending authority for up to $175,000 from this fund to compensate livestock owners for wolf depredation. CPW requested increased ongoing spending authority of up to $525,000 per year beginning FY 24-25 in the department’s budget proposal, which is currently being considered by the General Assembly.

Related:Colorado releases wolves brought from Oregon

CDA has a $580,936 General Fund request under consideration by the state legislature in FY 2024-25 and $424,647 General Fund ongoing to provide non-lethal wolf depredation assistance, including range riding and supplies to Colorado’s farmers and ranchers through a network of three wildlife managers.

Colorado imported 10 wolves from Oregon in December as part of a repopulation plan called for in a 2020 state ballot initiative.

Source: Colorado Department of Agriculture

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