Oregon Elk Country Gets $270K Upgrade

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MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $270,840 in grant funding for 22 habitat enhancement and hunting heritage outreach projects across Oregon.

The conservation work directly benefits more than 21,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Baker, Benton, Crook, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Lake, Lane, Linn, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler Counties.

“Overly thick stands of trees and noxious weeds lead to poor habitat for elk and other wildlife. These grants will enhance that habitat through a wide variety of forest stewardship work,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We appreciate our volunteers for their time, efforts and dedication in generating this funding to make these projects possible.”

RMEF volunteers in Oregon raised the funding by carrying out banquets, membership drives and other events.

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 889 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $57.5 million. These projects protected or enhanced 795,604 acres of habitat and opened or improve public access to 133,569 acres.

Here is a sampling of projects, listed by county:

Grant County—Construct fencing around a one-acre aspen stand cleared of encroaching conifers, apply seed for native grass, plant riparian hardwood seedlings and purchase fencing materials to cage riparian hardwoods so they can become a future seed source to improve riparian habitat along Bear Creek on the Malheur National Forest.

Harney County—Seed/plant browse, forb and grass species across 15,554 acres, reconstruct or build 68 miles of fencing to manage livestock grazing and repair three water guzzlers on BLM land between Bend and Burns that burned in the 2017 Cinder Butte Wildfire.

Umatilla County—Apply noxious weed and seeding treatments on 600 acres of elk winter range on the Bridge Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Union County—Thin 612 acres of young, overstocked conifer stands to increase forage quality and quantity on yearlong elk habitat on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in the Blue Mountains plus improve decades-old road closures to help draw elk away from private lands (also benefits Baker County).

Oregon project partners include Fremont-Winema, Malheur, Ochoco, Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman and Willamette National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, private landowners 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 more than 227,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.3 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.