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Wyoming is protecting a 'rare piece of the world'

February 17, 2008View for printing

Sometimes it's as simple as building a ramp.

Wild animals find their way into stock tanks on grazing lands because they're drawn to the consistent source of water just as the livestock is -- and animals, especially small ones, can get trapped inside, and drown.

But if you install a ramp in the tank, the bunnies, birds, bats, shrews, voles and any other critters that fall in can climb back out, helping to minimize the impact of stock tanks on wildlife populations in the area.

Other projects are more complex.

By CHRIS MERRILL Star-Tribune environment reporter

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Wyoming's Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust Fund currently has about $57 million in interest-bearing accounts.

By CHRIS MERRILL Star-Tribune environment reporter

When the trust was created in 2005, the Legislature, with the support of Gov. Dave Freudenthal, established a goal of eventually funding the endowment with a total of $200 million.

Before the 2008 legislative session, Freudenthal's proposed budget called on the Legislature to invest an additional $43 million in the trust fund this year, to bring the total endowment up to $100 million, or half of the long-term target.

The Joint Appropriations Committee has proposed investing about two-thirds as much, $29 million, which would increase the total fund to $86 million.

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