As we’re writing this dust is just starting to settle on Wyoming’s 2014 Legislative Session. We’re happy to report that with your help and our support two bills important to Wyoming Trout Unlimited passed the Wyoming Legislature and have been signed into law by the Governor. Support from conservationists like you was critical to the passage of both bills.
The first measure, SF 45, authorized the Game and Fish to request money in future budgets from the state’s General Fund for two programs, health care and grizzly bear management. This change is important as the burden of those costs will no longer fall on sportsmen, but can be shared by all of those who benefit from Wyoming’s wildlife. In essence, the bill represented an important opportunity to change the way the Wyoming Game and Fish funds it’s employee health benefits and puts the agency on par with how most other state agencies pay for their health care. In addition, it moves the legislatively mandated grizzly bear management costs to the general fund. That this legislation passed this year was particularly important as the legislature previously declined two license fee increases requested by the Game and Fish Department, resulting in subsequent cuts to key programs including many that have to do directly with fish. Wyoming Trout Unlimited collaborated with a number of other groups who supported this bill’s passage and we’re proud to say that WYTU members were particularly active supporting this bill in interim committees and during the legislative session.
Wyoming TU was also particularly interested in the passage of SF 82, the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust (WWNRT) Large Projects bill. The WWNRT, created in 2005, is one of the best tools Wyoming has to accomplish good conservation work. SF 82 authorized the Trust to fund it’s current slate of board-approved and vetted projects, which including the Yellowstone Lake project studying mitigation of the largest threat to Yellowstone cutthroat in the lake – that of lake trout. This important project will allow for the completion of lake trout movement and spawning data collection and analysis, and will investigate ways to further prevent lake trout spawning recruitment. We’re very pleased at this positive measure for Wyoming’s iconic native fish and believe that this effort is critical to the future of the Yellowstone cutthroat in it’s home waters of Wyoming.
Again, thanks for all of your individual support and effort during the legislative session. We couldn’t have had these successes that will benefit Wyoming’s fisheries without your help.