Commission commits more support toward wildlife crossing projects

Wyoming CWD plan approved

7/17/2020 9:48:45 PM

Cheyenne - The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission met this week in Rawlins to make several big decisions for wildlife. 

The Commission voted to put $500,000 on-the-ground to fund the 1-25 Buffalo to Kaycee fence modification project to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. The Commission challenged community and conservation groups to raise additional dollars, to which the Commission committed to match one-to-one up to $250,000. The total project cost is approximately $2.4 million and will benefit wildlife and local communities. 

“Wildlife crossings provide economic benefits, and these types of projects create jobs in local communities all over the state,” said Commissioner David Rael. 

The Wyoming Chronic Wasting Disease Management Plan passed Commission approval as presented. The plan is the result of a year-long collaborative process led by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, alongside the public and stakeholders, to develop a path forward to manage the fatal disease in the state's deer, elk and moose populations.

The Commission approved the annual Game and Fish budget — a regular task at July meetings. The 2021 budget reflected a 5.3% reduction in the Commission’s standard budget and a 18% reduction in the one-time project budget. While Game and Fish doesn’t receive state general fund dollars, the Commission reduced the budget in anticipation of any future revenue  impacts. The bulk of the Game and Fish budget comes from sportsperson dollars.

“Even though there is less in this year’s budget, money cut from the budget will remain with the Game and Fish Department and the Commission. We are not a state general-funded agency, so those dollars won’t go away. They will go back into the Commission’s operating fund and reinvested for wildlife in the future,” said Commision Vice President Pat Crank. 

The Commission heard an update on the new Cody Regional Office construction. The project is on-track for the construction bidding process to begin in November. Game and Fish is committed to a transparent construction process, and the public can visit the Game and Fish website for updates, costs and proposed plans.

The Commission also approved the 2020 wolf hunting seasons, the wolverine management plan and special allocation of antelope licenses, among other proposals. 

Director Brian Nesvik recognized the Commission for winning the 2020 Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Commission of the Year Award. The Department also presented their annual agency awards to acknowledge employees. Justin Binfet, wildlife management coordinator for the Casper Region, received the Director’s Award for 2019. 

The next Commission meeting is September 9-10 in Thermopolis.


(Sara DiRienzo (307-777-4540))

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