Idaho Grants Fund Research, Habitat Work

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Idaho Grants Fund Research, Habitat Work

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $274,556 in grant funding to assist with research, habitat stewardship work and hunting heritage projects across the state of Idaho.

Fourteen projects benefit nearly 17,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Blaine, Bonneville, Camas, Cassia, Clearwater, Elmore, Gooding, Idaho, Latah, Lemhi, Lincoln, Minidoka, Twin Falls and Washington Counties. There is one additional project of statewide benefit.

“Elk need quality habitat to survive and thrive,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “These grant funds go directly toward research and on-the-ground habitat stewardship projects that benefit elk and a wide range of other wildlife species.”

RMEF volunteers in the state of Idaho generated the funding by hosting banquets, membership drives and other events.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 526 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Idaho with a combine value of more than $65.9 million. These projects conserved and enhanced 470,847 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 24,817 acres.

Here is a sampling of the 2017 projects, listed by county:

Blaine County—Plant 13,000 antelope bitterbrush and 112,000 Wyoming big sagebrush seedlings across 8,506 acres that burned in the 2016 Laidlaw Wildfire in Craters of the Moon National Monument as part of a three-year plan to restore sagebrush steppe habitat impacted by the wildfire (also benefits Minidoka County).

Clearwater County—Provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding in support of extensive landscape restoration of early-seral habitat to meet ecosystem goals and services, including the restoration of healthy elk habitats and populations in the Clearwater Basin of north-central Idaho where elk populations have declined (also benefits Idaho County); and provide TFE funding for continuing elk habitat use and nutrition status research in the Clearwater Basin as a precursor to large-scale habitat restoration efforts (also benefits Idaho County).

Elmore County—Provide funding to assist with collaring 30 elk in southern Idaho to determine the effectiveness of various management techniques employed to reduce elk agricultural crop depredation (also benefits Blaine, Camas, Gooding, Lincoln, and Washington Counties).

Go here for a complete project listing.

Idaho project partners include the Caribou-Targhee, Clearwater, Salmon-Challis and Sawtooth National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and private landowners as well as sportsmen, government, civic and other organizations.

RMEF uses TFE funding solely to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

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.

Below is a complete listing of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2017 grants for the state of Pennsylvania. Find more information here.

Below is a complete listing of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2017 grants for the state of Idaho.

Blaine County—Plant 13,000 antelope bitterbrush and 112,000 Wyoming big sagebrush seedlings across 8,506 acres that burned in the 2016 Laidlaw Wildfire in Craters of the Moon National Monument as part of a three-year plan to restore sagebrush steppe habitat impacted by the wildfire (also benefits Minidoka County).

Bonneville County—Burn 700 acres followed by noxious weed treatment to improve aspen habitat as part of a multi-year effort to enhance more than 24,000 acres in the Palisades Ranger District on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest; thin, prescribe burn, burn slash piles, apply noxious weed treatment and plant 300 to 500 cottonwood trees along a riparian corridor across a total of 634 acres to enhance winter range for elk and mule deer on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest; and provide funding at the request of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) to implement emergency feeding operations at the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in response to the lack of forage following the 2016 Henry Creek Wildfire and to keep wintering elk off of neighboring private lands.

Clearwater County—Provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding in support of extensive landscape restoration of early-seral habitat to meet ecosystem goals and services, including the restoration of healthy elk habitats and populations in the Clearwater Basin of north-central Idaho where elk populations have declined (also benefits Idaho County); provide TFE funding for continuing elk habitat use and nutrition status research in the Clearwater Basin as a precursor to large-scale habitat restoration efforts (also benefits Idaho County); and remove mature aspen and encroaching conifer on 50 acres of the Clearwater National Forest to release aspen regeneration.

Elmore County—Provide funding to assist with collaring 30 elk in southern Idaho to determine the effectiveness of various management techniques employed to reduce elk agricultural crop depredation (also benefits Blaine, Camas, Gooding, Lincoln, and Washington Counties).

Gooding County—Plant 15,000 antelope bitterbrush and 130,000 Wyoming big sagebrush seedlings across 3,900 acres of Bureau of Land Management that burned in the 2011 Blair Wildfire as part of a long-term restoration effort to improve this sagebrush steppe habitat for elk, mule deer and other wildlife.

Idaho County—Treat 1,000 acres for noxious weeds followed by seeding and fence100 acres to protect from livestock grazing on a RMEF-held conservation easement property to increase the quality and quantity of forage for elk and deer herds.

Latah County—Provide funding and RMEF volunteer support for a moose and black bear hunt for a 13-year-old boy fighting a neurological disorder; and provide funding for the Potlatch Shooting Sports 4-H Club to teach safe and responsible use of firearms, hunter education and other skills to youth ages eight through 18.

Lemhi County—Treat 600 acres of elk habitat within the Salmon River corridor on the Salmon-Challis National Forest to combat a cheatgrass invasion.

Twin Falls County—Slash multiple burn blocks for prescribed burning across 1,500 acres on the west side of Rock Creek Drainage and to the east of Deadline Ridge on the Sawtooth National Forest to benefit summer habitat for elk, mule deer and moose (also benefits Cassia County).

Statewide—Provide funding to the Idaho Sportsmen’s Alliance which works to protect and advance our outdoor heritage of hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting in Idaho by reviewing legislative and IDFG issues, drafting analytical and position papers, and advising the legislative sportsmen’s caucus, the IDFG Commission and other agencies about Chronic Wasting Disease, game farms, habitat issues, fishing and hunting access, big game tag availability and other topics.