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New Publication Shows Publicly Funded Conservation Program Creates Private Sector Jobs in Wyoming

December 16, 2011

The Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust is estimated to have generated more than 500 jobs annually and $20.9 million in labor earnings in Wyoming since 2006.

This is one of the findings of a new publication released by the University of Wyoming Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources. "Economic Contributions of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust" details the benefits to Wyoming's economy in the form of labor earnings and jobs and valuable natural goods and services resulting from projects funded by the trust.

The publication is available online at

"Wyomingites have long enjoyed the agricultural, aesthetic and wildlife benefits associated with open space conservation, but little did we know until now that our citizens also enjoy economic benefits from the trust," says Indy Burke, director of the Ruckelshaus Institute.

The Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust is an independent state agency that funds projects intended to enhance and conserve wildlife habitat and natural resource values throughout the state. Established in 2005, the program is funded by interest earned on a permanent account, donations and legislative appropriations. More than 323 projects in all 23 Wyoming counties have been completed to date.

More than $35 million has been allocated from trust funds for these projects. Including matching contributions from other sources, expenditures for these projects have totaled approximately $200 million. Every dollar spent by the trust is matched on average with $5 or more of contributions from other sources. There have been more than 200 separate project contributors, including federal agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations and interested individuals.

The Ruckelshaus Institute partnered with The Trust for Public Land to analyze the economic impacts of the state's investment in the trust.

"We were glad to partner with The Trust for Public Land to conduct the analysis and provide some objective numbers that point to the economic contributions to the state's economy at the hand of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust," says David "Tex" Taylor, lead author on the study and faculty member in the Agricultural and Applied Economics Department at UW.

"Economic Contributions of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust" is a product of the Wyoming Open Spaces Initiative, a long-term Ruckelshaus Institute program intended to help improve the effectiveness of Wyoming citizens in maintaining Wyoming's open spaces through research, education and information dissemination, and decision-making assistance. For more than a decade, the Wyoming Open Spaces Initiative has provided Wyoming citizens with objective information on land-use trends, land-use planning, the effects of rural development and land conservation.

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