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Idaho Elk Habitat, Research, Wolf Management Benefit from RMEF Grants

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $211,400 in grants that will fund more than a dozen habitat enhancement, research and hunting heritage projects in the state of Idaho.

The grants will directly benefit 15,676 acres spread across Ada, Bear Lake, Blaine, Boise, Bonneville, Boundary, Camas, Caribou, Clearwater, Elmore, Franklin, Idaho, Owyhee, Teton and Twin Falls Counties. There are also two projects of statewide benefit.

“It is common knowledge that Idaho’s elk population is suffering in some areas of the state due, in part, to the loss of habitat and later, the reintroduction of wolves,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Part of this grant funding will help pay for the third year of a scientific study monitoring elk in central Idaho by applying elk nutrition and habitat models successfully developed in other nearby states.”

Allen also thanked Idaho volunteers for their dedicated efforts in raising funds through banquets, membership drives and other events to benefit elk and elk country in their back yard and around the country.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners have completed 467 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Idaho with a combined value of more than $59.7 million. These projects have protected or enhanced 418,580 acres of habitat and have opened or secured public access to 22,002 acres.

Here is a sampling of Idaho’s 2015 projects, listed by county:

Ada County—Provide funding to complete the final .23 miles of wildlife exclusion fence that will safely funnel big game species from upland areas to an underpass where they can safely cross beneath State Highway 21, reducing the risk and number of collisions on this section of the highway on the Boise River Wildlife Management Area.

Camas County—Treat 300 acres of weed infestations scattered across the Fairfield and Ketchum Ranger Districts on the Sawtooth National Forest by focusing on elk winter range areas burned by wildfires in 2007, 2008 and 2013 (also benefits Blaine and Elmore
Counties).

Clearwater County—Provide Torstenson Family Endowment funds for the third year of research to implement a monitoring program for elk in the Clearwater Basin. Initial work will include establishing a land use habitat matrix for the Basin to be used as the foundation for management and monitoring of elk, applying the new Oregon-Washington elk nutrition and habitat models, and capturing and collaring wild elk for subsequent monitoring which will help managers decide where habitat treatments need to be made and also develop a prioritization for future work (also affects Idaho County).

Statewide—Provide $50,000 to assist Idaho’s wolf management plan. The funding goes toward hiring a wolf tracking expert to assist in locating non-documented wolf packs as well as documenting mid-winter pack composition through aerial tracking and remote camera work.

Go here to see a full listing of RMEF’s 2015 projects in Idaho.

Partners for the Idaho projects include the Caribou-Targhee, Idaho Panhandle and Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and various other tribal, civic and government organizations.

Courtesy of RMEF