The Montana Livestock Loss Board received $170,000 in grant funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to fund non-lethal projects to reduce wolf-livestock conflicts and help pay verified wolf damage claims.
“This grant will help ensure that our state is effectively managing wolves through science-based management while reimbursing livestock producers for losses,” Gov. Steve Bullock said in a statement. “It also enables the Livestock Loss Board to fulfill its mission by addressing mitigation.”
George Edwards, program manager for the LLB, received confirmation of the grant last week.
“It’s good news for the program, and really good news for livestock producers who are struggling with the realities of having wolves back on the landscape,” Edwards said.
The funding comes from the Wolf Livestock Demonstration Project Grant Program and is intended to “assist livestock producers in undertaking proactive, non-lethal activities to reduce the risk of livestock loss from predation by wolves” and compensate producers for livestock losses caused by wolves.
Edwards said $100,000 of the funding must be spent on non-lethal management projects and will require a 50 percent cost-share.
“We’ve never had money for prevention projects, so we’re pretty excited,” he said.
The board will develop guidelines for a prevention project grant program at its next meeting.
“It won’t take us long to get a grant program up and running, and I’d anticipate a high level of interest,” Edwards said.
The remainder of the grant, $70,000, will used for verified wolf damage claims.
Montana was one of 10 states and one tribal nation to receive funding from the program.
Created in 2007, the Livestock Loss Board has paid out $581,271 in verified wolf damage claims.
The board will be meeting Sept. 6 at the Stage Stop Inn in Choteau, with a listening session from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and the regular meeting from 1 to 4 p.m. The meeting agenda is available on the Livestock Loss Board website.
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