MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $215,625 in grant funding to enhance wildlife habitat and assist with elk research in Colorado.
The grants benefit 6,481 acres across Delta, Eagle, Fremont, Garfield, Grand, Gunnison, Las Animas, Mesa, Moffat, Montrose, Park, Saguache and Teller Counties. There is also one project of statewide benefit.
“Colorado is home to the most elk in any state,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This funding pays for various treatments that will improve habitat for elk, deer and a wide range of other wildlife species.”
RMEF volunteers in Colorado raised funding for the 16 projects at banquets, membership drives and other events.
Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 703 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $161.2 million. These projects conserved or enhanced 437,923 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 108,179 acres.
Here is a sampling of the 2017 projects, listed by county:
Grand County—Thin encroaching pinyon-juniper growth on 1,842 acres and prescribe burn an additional 1,031 acres previously treated in 2015 with assistance from RMEF on Bureau of Land Management land in the Radium Valley area (also benefits Eagle County).
Mesa County—Masticate 894 acres including mixed mountain shrub understory within 519 acres of ponderosa pine and pinyon-juniper encroaching on 262 acres of sagebrush parks and seed 375 acres of the sagebrush habitat to enhance year-round elk habitat on the Uncompahgre National Forest.
Moffat County—Provide funding for a study to gain a better understanding of elk and livestock distribution and movement and grazing impacts to rangeland condition on the Dinosaur National Monument to help guide management practices that minimize elk and livestock conflicts, identify future habitat projects and meet elk harvest objectives.
Montrose County—Provide funding for a two-year pilot study to determine pregnancy rates and fetal counts to assist biologists in determining the potential causes of low elk recruitment in southwest Colorado (also benefits Las Animas County).
Colorado project partners include the Arapaho & Roosevelt; Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison; and Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, private landowners, sportsmen and other organizations.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 220,000 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.