MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $212,707 in grant funding for 16 habitat enhancement, research and hunting heritage projects in Colorado.
Those projects benefit nearly 15,000 acres of habitat for elk and other wildlife in Archuleta, Chaffee, Conejos, Delta, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Mineral, Montrose, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande and Saguache Counties. There is also one project of statewide benefit.
“There is an ongoing need to apply active forest management techniques like prescribed burning and forest thinning across Colorado elk country. Such conservation work enhances wildlife habitat but it also improves overall forest health,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Grant funding will also assist scientific research to help managers track and better manage elk herds.”
RMEF has nearly 17,000 members and 28 chapters in Colorado. RMEF volunteers generated the funding by hosting banquets, membership drives and other events.
Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 728 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Colorado with a combined value of more than $167 million. These projects protected or enhanced 448,691 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 107,992 acres.
Here is a sampling of projects, listed by county:
Archuleta County—Apply noxious weed treatments across 300 acres of meadows, including elk calving grounds, within the upper portion of the First Fork of Piedra River drainage on the San Juan National Forest.
Gunnison County—Provide funding to capture and collar 30-40 elk to assist biologists and game managers as they learn more about grazing, hunting, habitat and other factors that affect the habits of migratory elk in the Gunnison National Forest and on Bureau of Land Management land (also benefits Saguache County).
Montrose County—Restore a non-functioning wildlife water development on the Uncompahgre Plateau that is elk winter range within the Uncompahgre National Forest.
Rio Blanco County—Prescribe burn 10,000 acres in six to eight different burn areas across four ranger districts on the White River National Forest to benefit wildlife habitat
and overall forest health (also benefits Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin Counties).
Colorado project partners include the Arapaho, Rio Grande, San Isabel, San Juan, White River and Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and various sportsmen, civic and outdoor industry and business groups.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.4 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, elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.