By Associated Press - Wednesday, March 18, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state of Minnesota have agreed to provide $220,000 to control gray wolves that prey on livestock in the state, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson announced Wednesday.

The Minnesota Democrat said it was welcome news for farmers and ranchers who haven’t been allowed to shoot or trap wolves that threaten their livestock since a federal judge in December put wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan back on the endangered list.

The USDA and Minnesota will each provide $110,000 to fund predation control through Sept. 30, his office said.

“I’m pleased to see the state and USDA come together to address this issue,” Peterson said in a statement. “I’ll continue to work in Congress to find a long-term solution to return gray wolf management back to Minnesota.”

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that the three states’ wolf management plans didn’t provide adequate protection. She noted that the species has not come close to repopulating its historic range. Her ruling banned sport hunting and trapping of wolves in those states.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin and Michigan filed notices last month saying they plan to appeal the court ruling.

Peterson and other members of Congress from the region are sponsoring bills to return wolf management to the three states, but no action is scheduled.

The three states have about 3,700 wolves combined. Under the ruling, wolves are once again classified as threatened in Minnesota and endangered in Wisconsin and Michigan. Wolves’ threatened status in Minnesota allows the government to kill wolves to protect livestock, but no funding had been available. The endangered status In Wisconsin and Michigan allows officials there to kill wolves only to protect human life.

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