The federal government and state of Minnesota will split the $220,000 cost of a renewed wolf-trapping program for 2015.
The program uses federal trappers to trap and kill wolves near where livestock and pets have been killed. It was used for decades in Minnesota to help relieve concerns of farmers and ranchers, and reduce tensions over wolf populations in the state.
The program was in limbo as the issue of wolf management remains unsettled. A federal court order in December has put wolf management back under federal control, ending state hunting and trapping seasons and restoring wolf protections under the Endangered Species Act. The order, however, didn't address the issue of government wolf trapping.
The Interior Department, several states and sportsmen's groups have appealed that ruling while several members of Congress also have introduced legislation that would force wolves back under state control, trumping the court order.
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., led the effort to restore the funding for government trapping.
"This is welcome news for farmers and ranchers who currently don't have a way to address wolves threatening their livestock. I'm pleased to see the state and USDA come together to address this issue," Peterson said in a prepared statement. "I'll continue to work in Congress to find a long-term solution to return gray wolf management back to Minnesota."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture wolf control program was possible in Minnesota when the animal was endangered in other states because wolves' status in Minnesota was, and is again, "threatened" under federal law.
The program routinely trapped and killed upwards of 200 wolves annually in areas where there were confirmed wolf-killed livestock.