MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $107,605 in grant funding toward 19 habitat stewardship and hunting heritage projects in New Mexico.
The grants benefit 4,670 acres across Bernalillo, Catron, Curry, Grant, Lincoln, Otero, Roosevelt, San Juan, San Miguel and Torrance Counties. There are also two projects of statewide benefit and another that benefits northeast Arizona.
“Water is at a high premium across New Mexico’s arid landscape,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Nearly a third of our projects this year focus on improving water sources for elk and other wildlife.”
RMEF members in New Mexico raised the funds via banquets, membership drives and other efforts.
Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 374 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in New Mexico with a combined value of more than $42.9 million. These projects conserved and enhanced 512,691 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 88,958 acres.
Here is a sampling of the 2017 projects, listed by county:
Catron County—Mechanically treat 350 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managed land in the Coyote Peak area in preparation for a future prescribed burn as part of a multi-year effort to maintain and enhance elk and mule deer across the Pelona Mountain Landscape
Grant County—Prescribe burn 320 acres in the Mimbres Valley to remove encroaching pinyon-juniper as part of an ongoing effort to reintroduce and maintain fire on the landscape and benefit wildlife habitat across the Gila National Forest.
Lincoln County—Create four small wetlands and expand another to benefit 800 acres in the Smokey Bear Ranger District on the Lincoln National Forest as well as construct a fence around each to limit the use to wildlife in an area where the elk population tripled over the last ten years.