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WALLA WALLA — Umatilla County is among five Oregon counties selected to receive additional funds to help prevent wolves from preying on livestock.
The county will be awarded $15,500, part of a total of $37,782 approved for wolf-control measures by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
In Umatilla County, the money will pay for range riders to patrol areas where herds are present and fladry — electrified rope with attached colored flagging that flaps in the breeze — designed to scare off wolves.
According to an ODA release, the other counties slated to receive funds are Wallowa County, $15,532; Crook County, $3,000; Malheur County, $2,990 and Morrow County, $760.
The funds are in addition to more than $25,000 distributed in June as part of the Oregon Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance County Block Grant Program.
Along with range riders and fladry, other measures employed are removal of cattle bones piled on ranching property that might attract wolves and radio-activated guard boxes that deter wolves wearing a tracking collar.
Money for the supplemental funding is part of the $200,000 approved by the Oregon Legislature for the 2013-15 biennium. Agriculture officials said that while the supplemental funds target preventive measures, money will continue to be available to reimburse ranchers who have suffered confirmed or probable livestock losses due to wolf activity.
According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are five confirmed wolf packs in Oregon, all located in the northeast corner of the state with much of their territory located in Umatilla and Wallowa counties. One of those five packs, the Walla Walla Pack, shares territory between Oregon and southeastern Washington in the upper Walla Walla River drainage.
The first confirmed wolf kills in Umatilla County occurred in May 2012 in the Weston Mountain area when two ewes and two lambs were found dead in a pen and one additional lamb was missing. A second wolf depredation resulting in three dead and one injured sheep was reported on May 12 of that year about six miles away from first depredation.
Since the start of this year, the ODFW listed three reports of confirmed wolf kills in Umatilla County. The first one was in the Weston Mountain area in May in which four sheep were killed. The second was in June, also in the Weston Mountain area, in which a single sheep was killed. The third case occurred in the Upper Pine Creek area in August in which a mature goat was killed.
Andy Porter can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8318.