Governor Mead’s Fish and Wildlife Task Force Appears Before the Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources (TRW) Committee.

 

Chairman Ryan Lance presented F&W Task Force Recommendations to the Joint TRW Interim Committee.

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Joint TRW Interim Committee in Kemmerer, WY

Here are the Task Force Recommendations to the TRW Committee:

1 a) Engage an objective and qualified third party to conduct a program review of the WY G&F Department with a report to the Governor before the 2016 legislative session.  Governor Mead has requested that once the program audit is complete, the Task Force reconvene to further review and, if necessary, refine its recommendations.

b) The WY G&F Commission should have the authority to establish fees for licenses, stamps and permits for programs directly related to game and fish species within the limits established by the legislature (e.g. limits on and frequency of adjustments, and agency operating fund balance).

c) Revenues generated from licenses, stamps and permits should be used for programs that benefit game species.

d) General fund appropriations should be allocated to fully fund management of currently legislatively funded non-game species and other “legislatively mandated” programs. “Non-game species” shall include Sensitive Species, Grizzly Bears, Wolves and Sage Grouse.  “Legislatively Mandated” programs shall include Aquatic Invasive Species and Veterinary Services.

e) Adjust Governor’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) budget to adequately address species that, if listed, may adversely affect Wyoming’s economy.

f) Fully fund the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust (WWNRT) at the authorized level in order to allow the Trust to achieve its purposes without future appropriations.

g) Until implementation Task Force recommendations 1b, 1c, and 1d, general fund appropriations should be allocated for the purpose of health insurance costs for employees in the commission funded programs.

h) WY G&F Department should be responsible for its own deferred maintenance expenses (currently $1.5 million). It is appropriate for general fund to continue funding capital improvements.

i) Engage with Wyoming congressional delegation with the goal of reforming the ESA.  In the interim, secure additional federal funding for state management of ESA to decrease Wyoming general fund appropriations.

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Representative Jaggi attending the TRW Committee meeting

Although there were many people in attendance; Task Force members, representatives of sportsmen or conservation organizations, etc, only four people testified.  Those which testified were: Representative Allen Jaggi, former TRW Member; Brett Moline, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation; myself, representing Wyoming Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife, and WY G&F Commissioner Charles Price.

 

The Joint TRW Committee chose not to take any actions at this time.  The F&W Task Force will be meeting once again in Casper, at the end of the month.  I will keep you posted as things continue to develop.

From the Desk of Bob Wharff