MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded grants to fund 39 projects in 14 counties that will improve habitat, elk research and hunting heritage across the state of Wyoming.
The grants total $438,865 and will directly benefit 15,214 acres spread across Big Horn, Carbon, Fremont, Hot Springs, Johnson, Lincoln, Natrona, Park, Sheridan, Sublette, Sweetwater, Teton, Washakie and Weston Counties. There are also five projects of statewide benefit.
“Much of this grant funding will go toward prescribed burns, aspen restoration, forest thinning and noxious weed treatments aimed at improving habitat for elk and other wildlife,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We also provided funding to improve public access for hunters and anglers to private land as well as research projects that monitor elk migration and habitat use.”
Partners for the Wyoming projects include the Bighorn, Bridger-Teton, Medicine Bow-Routt, Shoshone and Caribou-Targhee National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, private landowners and various sportsmen, wildlife, civic, university and government organizations.
“We cannot say enough about our hard-working RMEF volunteers who raised this funding through banquets, membership drives and other events. They are making a tremendous difference by helping to ensure the future of elk and elk country in their own backyards,” added Allen.
Allen also thanked volunteers and members around the nation for their dedication to elk and conservation.
Since 1985, RMEF and its partners have completed 606 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wyoming with a combined value of more than $118.7 million. These projects have protected or enhanced 1,050,936 acres of habitat, of which 73,200 acres have been opened or secured for public access.
Here is a sampling of Wyoming’s 2015 projects, listed by county:
Carbon County — Burn 660 acres of older age class shrubs and 206 acres of mixed conifer and decadent aspen stands in the northern Sierra Madre Range on the Medicine Bow National Forest.
Park County — Provide funding for research aimed to increase the scientific, agency, and public understanding of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem elk migrations by compiling current data, evaluating seasonal influences, improving monitoring methods and providing outreach (also affects Teton and Fremont Counties).
Sublette County — Burn the final 611 acres of the Cottonwood II Vegetation Management Project, a 1,176-acre aspen enhancement project on the east slope of the Wyoming Range in the North and South Cottonwood Creek drainages on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Thinning preceded the burning. Healthy aspen stands in this area can attract elk from feedgrounds earlier in the spring and hold elk later in autumn, subsequently reducing dependency on artificial feeding and reducing the risk of intraspecific brucellosis transmission.
Statewide — Continue sponsorship of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s (WGFD) Private Lands Public Wildlife Access Program that works to secure access for hunters and anglers to private lands; and provide Torstenson Family Endowment funds to pay for the donation of 1,500 RMEF youth membership knives to students of WGFD hunter education classes.
Go here to see a full listing of RMEF’s 2015 projects in Wyoming.
Courtesy of RMEF