The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Wolf Livestock Compensation Grants program could be in jeopardy due to the state’s impressive budget shortfall. The program was established and funded in 2021 to compensate livestock owners for depredation experienced with the presence of gray wolves.  Since gray wolves began to repopulate California in the mid-2010s, wolf packs have now been established in six RCRC member counties. And with the animal designated as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act, it limits ranchers' ability to mitigate wolf presence impacts on their livestock.  

RCRC was instrumental in securing the initial $3 million funding allocation that was included in the 2021-22 State Budget package for the program, which was subsequently developed by CDFW and a wide-ranging group of stakeholders. To date, CDFW has received 102 applications projected to exhaust the program's current funds. Given California’s budget shortfall, the state’s (and legislature’s) willingness to replenish the funds and continue issuing grants to impacted livestock owners is in jeopardy.  

RCRC has been in discussions with the California Natural Resources Agency and CDFW advocating for the program; however, it would be very helpful if the Legislature hears directly from impacted counties on the importance of funding the program. A template letter to the appropriate budget committees can be downloaded here.  Please contact RCRC Senior Policy Advocate, Staci Heaton with any questions or for more information.