Committee sets funding levels
Casper – Each year, the Wyoming Legislature must approve projects funded by the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust (WWNRT) Account in excess of $200,000, and on Jan. 10 the Select Natural Resources Funding Committee approved the Large Project Funding Bill.
“During this funding meeting, we reviewed all the projects, explained them and gave the committee a chance to ask questions about these projects,” explained Bob Budd, WWNRT executive director.
Budd called the meeting a good chance for new legislators on the committee to familiarize themselves with the projects of the organization.
Members of the committee include Senators Ogden Driskill, Larry Hicks and Bill Landon and Representatives Kermit Brown, John Freeman and Sue Wallis.
“We had a very good meeting,” Budd said. “It was an opportunity, particularly for the newer members of the committee, to get into the meat of the program and have input on how we operate and fund projects.”
There were 11 projects funded in the bill.
The Rim Ranch Conservation Easement of Sublette County was funded at $475,000, and the Wapiti Ridge Conservation Easement was funded at $300,000 in the bill. The Croonberg Ranch Conservation Easement was granted at $500,000. The Purple Sage Ranch Conservation Easement appropriation was set at $375,000.
A fire rehabilitation project in Big Horn County, called the Yellowtail fire rehabilitation project, was funded in the amount of $200,000.
The committee also listed $621,576 for the Yellowstone Lake II project.
Stateline Pike, a project by the Little Snake River Conservation District, was funded at $345,000.
An appropriation of $2 million was set for the Platte River Casper II project.
The Table Mountain Water II project saw a$264,000 appropriation.
The Wyoming Range Mule Deer Habitat project was set at an appropriation of $500,000, and the Harmony Diversion project saw an appropriation of $550,000.
Budd noted, “When we look at the state of Wyoming and our economic profile, we quickly come to the realization that agriculture, natural resources and tourism are a mainstay of our economy, and these projects are directly linked to maintaining our wildlife heritage and other aspects of natural resource management.”
The funding, he adds, is to enhance the natural resources of the state and move us into a place where we can deal with difficult wildlife and natural resources issues.
Members of the committee passed the funding bill as presented on a five to one vote.
The Large Project Funding Bill will be heard first in the House of Representatives during the 2014 session of the Wyoming Legislature.