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Game and Fish To Cut Personnel and Programs Across Agency

Wyoming Game and Fish Department (Amy Richards/TSM)

Facing increasing costs and declining revenues, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will cut their FY 14 budget by 6.5 percent. These cuts are in addition to a 3 percent reduction to the FY 13 budget.The reduced FY14 budget is the first phase of a multi-year strategy to ensure anticipated revenue will support future expenditures.The commission will take a final vote on the 2014 budget at its July meeting.The department is in the initial stages of reducing its FY 15 budget by an additional $3 million. WGFD Director Scott Talbott said the “cuts include reductions in personnel and programs across the agency.” Talbott said the agency is continuing to work with the public and the legislature to find solutions to the revenue problems facing the department.

Included in the cuts to the commission’s budget are reductions in personnel costs by not filling some currently vacant positions and reductions of department budgets for access and conservation easements. Fish stocking will be reduced by as much as 20 percent. Other cuts include: reducing the department’s vehicle fleet and reducing employee travel; reducing the number of issues of Wyoming Wildlife Magazine from 12 to 6 annually; eliminating the department’s Leadership Development Program used to prepare employees for future leadership positions within the agency; reducing contributions to the University of Wyoming Co-op research program; and eliminating the annual Wyoming Hunting and Fishing Heritage Expo, which takes place every year in Casper.

Other programs affected include: habitat and sensitive species projects; capital improvements to fish hatcheries and other department facilities; the Access Atlas for sportsmen (no printed version but will still be available online); Wild Times publication for kids; National Archery in the Schools Program; and National Fishing in the Schools Program. Many additional cuts are being implemented throughout the department.

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