By JON MITCHELL
Much of the equipment the Douglas County Wolf Advisory Board plans to purchase for non-lethal gray wolf management was determined Monday afternoon during the board’s public meeting at the Douglas County Courthouse.
The five-member advisory board, tasked with how the county should spend $8,000 in grant money from the Oregon Department of Agriculture, approved the allocation of close to $6,000 to purchase equipment citizens can use to deter gray wolves from coming onto, or near, their properties. County Commissioner Tom Kress said the money must be spent by the end of the year.
The board approved spending money on fladry — suspended strips of fabric or colored flags that will flap in a breeze — that can be put on a fence line and used as a wolf deterrent. Costs for the item were estimated at up to $4,387.92 per mile but as little as $2,166.96 per mile, according to an estimate sheet provided at the meeting.
Also approved was the purchase of up to 12 fox lights, which also serve as a predator deterrent and typically run close to $100 each. The board also agreed to allocate $750 to fund programs and mailings to residents and ranchers in the area where wolf activity has been reported on what are “good practices to minimize drawing wolves in,” according to committee member David Briggs.
Wolf activity has been reported in or near Douglas County since March of 2019, though no livestock depredations have been reported. The Indigo Pack of wolves — one of three gray wolf packs in western Oregon — has grown from a group of three in March of this past year to its current count of seven, according to officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Gray wolves in western Oregon have federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Penalties for taking, hurting or killing an endangered animal can reach up to one year in prison or a fine of up to $100,000.
The equipment is meant as a non-lethal way to deter wolves or predators from properties.
All of the documented activity from the Indigo Pack has been in eastern Douglas County north of Diamond Lake and around the borders of Lane, Douglas and Klamath counties.
Kress proposed that the equipment, after it has been purchased, be available to residents through an application process.