CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved an $81.3 million dollar budget for fiscal year 2022 at a meeting in Sheridan this week. The budget includes $57,000 for well work to build employee housing in Jackson.
The operational budget supports the day-to-day work for Wyoming Game and Fish, which does not receive sate general fund dollars. The Commission also approved $3.7 million for one-time projects, including a new Game an Fish website, wildlife research projects, and an independent facilitator for the Wyoming Wildlife Taskforce.
Work is ongoing to build housing for Game and Fish employees working in Jackson. The department drilled three test wells on the South Park property, finding success with one flowing sufficiently at 70 gallons/minute. The Commission voted to spend $57,000 to complete the well work, which will ultimately conclude in two production wells. John Kennedy, Game and Fish deputy director extended thanks to Teton County.
“Teton County has been very helpful with this housing project, and we’re grateful for that support so our agency and employees continue to serve the Jackson community,” Kennedy said. “We will continue to coordinate with the county and look forward to engaging with the public as we move forward with this project.”
In an effort to further protect Wyoming from aquatic invasive species, the Commission approved 22 rapid response plans for priority waters across Wyoming. The plans detail how Game and Fish would respond if invasive zebra or quagga mussels were found. In all, the Commission has approved 23 plans which focus on containment; all are available on the Game and Fish website.
The Commission also approved a series of regulations: Chap. 22 – Watercraft regulations, Chap. 47 – Gray wolf hunting seasons, Chap. 4- Furbearing animal hunting or trapping seasons and Chap. 46 – Fishing regulations.
The department updated commissioners on the progress of several priority projects. Construction for the new Cody regional office is on schedule. The building is expected to be complete by July 2022. The department also presented its management plan for invasive grasses, like cheatgrass and medusahead, that will be implemented over the next several years.
Each July, the department regularly presents its annual awards. Director Brian Nesvik recognized Rick King, chief of the wildlife division, with the Director’s Award. Additionally, Game and Fish awarded divisional employee of the year awards:
- Meghan Lockwood, Policy and planning coordinator, Cheyenne – Director’s office
- Jerry Cowles, Regional habitat and access supervisor, Laramie – Services Division
- Will Shultz, Staff biologist, Cheyenne – Wildlife Division
Casi Crites, Federal aid coordinator/grant section supervisor, Cheyenne – Fiscal Division
- Darren Rhea, Fish biologist, Pinedale – Fish Division
The department also gave two Special Recognition awards. Game and Fish retirees Reg Rothwell and Rich Guenzel were lauded for their continued research work on pronghorn and Dr. Jim Logan, who retired this year as the Wyoming State Veterinarian, for his collaborative work on wildlife diseases.