MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $314,629 in grant funding to assist with elk research, habitat enhancement, permanent land protection and improving public access in Wyoming.
The grants benefit 42,586 acres across Albany, Big Horn, Campbell, Carbon, Converse, Fremont, Johnson, Hot Springs, Lincoln, Park, Sheridan, Sublette, Sweetwater, Teton and Washakie Counties. There is also one project of statewide benefit.
“Critical research will aid wildlife managers in learning more about elk populations, their forage needs and the importance of both public and private land in migratory patterns within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “RMEF funding will also assist with a wide range of habitat enhancement work and in bolstering public access efforts.”
Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 668 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wyoming with a combined value of more than $129.6 million. These projects conserved or enhanced 1,105,360 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 151,548 acres.
RMEF volunteers in Wyoming raised the grant funding by carrying out banquets, membership drives and other events.
Here is a sampling of highlighted projects, listed by county:
Carbon County — Enhance 11,278 acres of critical winter range and summer range for elk and mule deer near Baggs via noxious weed treatment, removal of encroaching junipers, thinning serviceberry and removal of sagebrush from aspen stands in an area used by 3,000 mule deer.
Park County — Provide additional funding for a multi-year migration study that follows elk from low-elevation winter ranges on the east and southern slopes of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to high-elevation summer ranges mostly within Yellowstone National Park with its findings expected to guide future on-the-ground conservation efforts (also benefits Teton and Fremont Counties).
Sublette County — Provide funding for a conservation easement on the Hoback Rim in northern Sublette County bordering the Bridger-Teton National Forest and an existing RMEF conservation easement thus protecting vital wildlife habitat.
Sweetwater County — Provide funding to assist with the capture and collaring of elk calves as an extension of the Deer-Elk Ecology Research Project that began in 2015 to determine why elk populations are growing in southwest Wyoming while mule deer populations are struggling.
Statewide — Continue sponsorship of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Access Yes Program that seeks to secure access for hunters and anglers to private lands across the state.
Go here for a complete project listing.
Wyoming project partners include the Bighorn, Bridger-Teton, Medicine Bow and Shoshone National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game and Fish Department and private landowners as well as sportsmen, government, civic, universities and other organizations.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK. Take action: join and/or donate.
Courtesy of RMEF