MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded grants to provide funding for two dozen projects across the state of Utah that enhance more than 51,000 acres of wildlife habitat.
“There is an ever-increasing need for biologists and game managers to get a better handle on big game migration and survival rates to ensure the future of elk and other wildlife. This funding will assist five different scientific research projects designed to do that,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “The grants also assist on-the-ground habitat stewardship work including aspen regeneration, prescribed burns and the repair or creation of a number of wildlife water developments.”
The grants, awarded in 2017, total $219,584 and will directly benefit Cache, Carbon, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, Grand, Millard, Piute, San Juan, Sevier, Summit, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch and Wayne Counties. One project covers northern Utah and five others are of statewide benefit.
RMEF volunteers and members across Utah raised the funding by taking part in banquets, membership drives, Utah’s Conservation Permit program and other events.
Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 602 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Utah with a combined value of more than $82.7 million. These projects protected or enhanced 1,149,692 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 23,970 acres.
Here is a sampling of the Utah projects, listed by county:
Sevier County—Thin 600-800 acres of aspen stands, prescribe burn within 1,700 acres of aspen/mixed conifer stands, burn slash piles, seed 500 acres and prepare 900 acres of mixed conifer/spruce fir in preparation for thinning work on the Fishlake National Forest as part of the Monroe Mountain project, large-scale aspen ecosystem restoration work designed to improve habitat for elk, mule deer and a host of other wildlife as well as reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire (also benefits Piute County).
Uintah County—Install 13 wildlife water guzzlers across lower elevation areas in the Bureau of Land Management’s Book Cliffs Bitter Creek area where water is often scarce for wildlife.
Wasatch County—Prescribe burn 5,615 acres to reduce canopy cover in juniper, aspen and conifer stands south of the Heber Ranger District on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest to improve wildlife habitat and reduce the threat of severe wildfire.
Statewide—Provide funding for a wildlife initiative that collars elk, deer and other big game species to determine survival rates, home ranges, habitat use, body condition and migration routes as a foundation for future statewide habitat restoration projects.
Partners for the Utah projects include the Fishlake, Manti-La Sal and Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Utah Department of Natural Resources as well as universities, private landowners and various sportsmen, wildlife and civic 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.