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OWENS SEEKS BOOST IN WILDLIFE FUNDS

Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, wants more money for fish and wildlife - $135 million more than requested by the Bush administration.

Owens put together a joint letter signed by himself and nine other members of Congress backing increases for the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.He asked that $2 million of the Forest Service increases be earmarked for Utah, including $750,000 for statewide range and riparian area management.

Owens' bighorn wild sheep plan has been controversial in the state, with sheepgrowers unhappy because the wild sheep would displace domestic animals in some areas because the wild sheep are susceptible to diseases carried by domestic sheep.

Owens asked $300,000 be allocated to buy private land on the north slopes of the Uintas for big game winter range, and $50,000 to buy out private holdings in the Albion Basin in the Salt Lake City watershed.

In BLM money he requested $120,000 for his bighorn sheep plan, $700,000 additional for riparian and range management, $150,000 for endangered species, $150,000 for raptor monitoring, $180,000 for a waterfowl and wetland plan, and $150,000 for a fisheries habitat management plan.

He suggested $150,000 be provided for automating of BLM maps and resource inventories, which he said would be "crucial to consideration of my " 5.2 million acre BLM wilderness proposal.