West Nile mosquito de-listed as local pest

Fremont County Weed and Pest is no longer monitoring the local mosquito population for West Nile virus – for budgetary reasons.

Instead, other local government entities are taking on the task.

Tribal exclusion

Weed and Pest removed the culex tarsalis mosquito, which carries West Nile, from the official list of local pests at the end of last year, supervisor Aaron Foster said.

Advertisement

“We had to look at ways to save some money,” he explained. “The low-hanging fruit were things like the mosquito program, where our involvement was pretty minimal.”

Weed and Pest only got involved in West Nile management to help Tribal entities access the state’s Emergency Insect Management Grant back in 2008, he explained.

The grant program is only available to state agencies and political subdivisions, and Tribal governments do not fall under either of those categories.

“They can’t apply for it on their own,” Foster said. “It had to be done through a third party, (so) Weed and Pest agreed to do that. That’s why we declared the mosquito.”

Now that culex tarsalis is de-listed, he said Fremont County Public Health will serve as the pass-through granting agency for the local Tribes.

Advertisement

There may be other grant programs in the state that bar Tribal participation, and officials “might be looking to fix those (eligibility rules) next year,” Wyoming’s weed and pest coordinator Slade Franklin noted.

“I don’t think they had a clue at the time that they were excluding the Tribes,” Franklin said. “That just wasn’t part of the discussion.”

On our own, together

Other local government entities will have to apply for the Emergency Insect Management Grant on their own this year – and many have.

Weed and Pest helped with the process this year in order to ensure that mosquito trapping and testing could continue in Fremont County.

For example, the agency donated its West Nile testing equipment to the City of Riverton, which will offer the service to other government entities for a fee.

Lander public works director Lance Hopkin said he is working with Riverton to “synchronize our planning and our testing.”

“We’re working on an agreement (to) get our samples over to them,” he said. “We’re all kind of on our own but still trying to figure out how we work together.”

Foster said he has also received grant applications from Pavillion, Shoshoni and the public health office.

For more information call the Wyoming Department of Agriculture at 777-7321.

Related Posts

Have a news tip or an awesome photo to share?