MISSOULA, Mont.—Elk and other wildlife in arid New Mexico have access to improved water developments and enhanced habitat thanks to $110,376 in grant funding provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
“Water is at a premium across much of New Mexico,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “These grants, combined with continuing RMEF volunteer projects, lead to the construction, repair or upgrade of at least a dozen different wildlife water developments. The grant funding also helps pay for thinning, prescribed burns and other habitat stewardship work that improves forage for elk and other wildlife.”
Nineteen projects benefit 14,387 acres in Bernalillo, Catron, Colfax, Curry, De Baca, Lincoln, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Juan, Socorro and Roosevelt Counties. Additionally, there are four projects of statewide benefit.
“This funding is available thanks to the efforts of our dedicated volunteers,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “They give of their time, talents and resources to raise these funds that are put back on the ground across New Mexico. Many of them also roll up their sleeves to take part in boots-on-the-ground conservation projects. For that, we thank them.”
Volunteers generated the funding by hosting banquets, conducting membership drives and taking part in other fundraising events.
Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 401 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in New Mexico with a combined value of nearly $43.7 million. These projects protected or enhanced 521,453 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 100,633 acres.
Here is a sampling of the 2018 projects, listed by county:
Catron County—prescribe burn 4,500 acres within the Collin’s Park area on the Gila National Forest to benefit year-round elk range and prescribe burn 1,037 acres within a vital elk calving area at Slaughter Mesa in Game Management Unit 15
Rio Arriba County—assist the Santa Fe National Forest with implementing a landscape-scale prescribed burn program across 2,000 acres in multiple ranger districts to increase forage quality and quantity that also reduces the risk of catastrophic wildfire (also benefits Sandoval County).
Socorro County—provide RMEF volunteer manpower to repair and replace three different water development operations (also benefits Lincoln County).
Statewide—provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding toward 1,990 hunter orange safety vests for graduates of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish hunter education program.
New Mexico project partners include the Bureau of Land Management, Gila and Santa Fe National Forests, and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish as well as sportsmen, government, civic and other organizations.
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 7.6 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.