MISSOULA, Mont.-Relocating elk and improving habitat in the Clam Lake area, plus sponsoring numerous youth education initiatives across Wisconsin, are the main themes in a list of 2011 grants for Wisconsin from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

All together, the new RMEF grants total $ $52,111 and affect 24 counties: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Douglas, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green Lake, Iowa, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Lafayette, Marathon, Milwaukee, Portage, Price, Sawyer, St. Croix, Washburn, Waukesha and Wood counties.

“The ‘assisted dispersal’ of the Clam Lake elk herd is making news in Wisconsin, and we’re pleased to help with that relocation project. We expect it to help the herd grow by moving elk to new areas with good habitat and reducing elk mortality from wolves and highway accidents,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.

Allen said about 120 acres of habitat will be enhanced with 2011 grants in Wisconsin.

Nationally, RMEF hopes to impact about 100,000 acres in 2011 to reach the 6 million-acre lifetime mark in lands conserved or enhanced for elk and other wildlife.

Allen thanked RMEF volunteers and fundraiser attendees for building the organization’s conservation impact in Wisconsin and across elk country, saying, “Because of their amazing passion and generous support, we’re doing some great things locally and a national conservation milestone is within reach.”

RMEF grants will help fund the following 2011 projects, listed by county:

Ashland County-Improve forage for elk on the decommissioned Navy ELF corridor by applying herbicide on 20 acres and bio-controls (insects) on 2 acres, mowing 58 acres, hand-cutting trees and shrubs on 30 acres and prescribe burning 12 acres in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (also affects Sawyer County); provide funding for radio telemetry equipment operated by students from Glidden High School to research elk habitat use and movement patterns in the Clam Lake area (also affects Price County); sponsor Clam Lake Elk Visitor Center costs associated with an informational kiosk.

Barron County-Provide sponsorship for Coyland Creek 2011 Youth in the Outdoors Day to introduce youths to outdoor recreation and conservation (also affects Polk, Burnett and Washburn counties).

Columbia County-Provide sponsorship for Fall River School District National Archery in the Schools Program to introduce students to outdoor recreation and conservation.

Dane County-Provide sponsorship for Blackhawk Bowhunters Archery Club programs to introduce youths to outdoor recreation and conservation; sponsor Lake Marion 2011 Family Fishing Day.

Dodge County-Provide sponsorship for Wisconsin Outdoor Alliance Foundation 2011 Outdoor Education Expo to introduce youths from across the state to outdoor recreation and conservation.

Douglas County-Provide sponsorship for Superior High School National Archery in the Schools Program to introduce students to outdoor recreation and conservation.

Forest County-Provide sponsorship for Laona School District National Archery in the Schools Program to introduce students to outdoor recreation and conservation.

Green Lake County-Provide sponsorship for the Berlin Conservation Club’s 2011 Youth Outdoor Skills Day to introduce youths to outdoor recreation and conservation (also affects Fond du Lac County).

Iowa County-Provide sponsorship for Friends of West Park 2011 Youth Fishing Day to introduce students to outdoor recreation and conservation.

Kewaunee County-Provide sponsorship for St. Paul’s Lutheran School National Archery in the Schools Program to introduce students to outdoor education and conservation.

La Crosse County-Provide sponsorship for La Crosse Rifle Club hunter safety program to educate youths on proper use of firearms and archery equipment; sponsor West Salem Rod and Gun Club 2011 youth event.

Lafayette County-Provide sponsorship for Lafayette County 4-H Club archery program to introduce youths to outdoor recreation and conservation.

Marathon County-Provide sponsorship for Marathon County 2011 Sporting Heritage Day to introduce youth to outdoor recreation and conservation; sponsor Wausau West High School National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP); sponsor Rib Mountain Bowmen Club House NASP; sponsor Weston Hunter Safety Group hunter safety classes; sponsor Stratford Sharp Shooters and Stratford Public Schools NASP.

Portage County-Provide sponsorship for Antler Archers 2011 Youth Archery Program to introduce youths to outdoor recreation and conservation.

Price County-Provide sponsorship for the Phillips School District Outdoor Activity Group which works to introduce students to outdoor recreation and conservation; sponsor Phillips Sportsman’s Club 2011 Youth Field Day to introduce Phillips area youth to outdoor recreation and conservation.

Sawyer County-Relocate 12-15 elk from the Clam Lake herd to unoccupied habitat expected to enhance elk survival and expansion rates (also affects Ashland, Bayfield and Price counties); provide sponsorship for Hayward RMEF 2011 Outdoor Youth Day to introduce students to outdoor recreation and conservation.

Statewide-Provide sponsorship for Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) production of a hunting regulations informational packet; sponsor WDNR Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center 2011 Learn to Hunt Workshops; sponsor WDNR biologist attendance at Eastern Elk Management Workshop in preparation for Wisconsin’s first elk hunt in 2012.

St. Croix County-Provide sponsorship for Baldwin Christian School National Archery in the Schools Program to introduce students to outdoor recreation and conservation.

Waukesha County-Provide sponsorship for Wisconsin House Outdoorsmen hunter education programs to instruct students on hunting and firearms (also affects Milwaukee County).

Wood County-Provide sponsorship for Wisconsin Rapids Kiwanis Club 2011 Youth Outdoor Day to introduce youths from across the state to outdoor recreation and conservation; sponsor West Central Wisconsin 2011 Intro to the Outdoors Youth Education Day.

Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities. RMEF staff and volunteers select education projects to receive grants.

Partners for 2011 projects in Wisconsin include U.S. Forest Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, sportsmen clubs and many other organizations.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners have completed 211 different conservation and education projects in Wisconsin with a combined value of more than $5.9 million.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.9 million acres-a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.

Contact:
Steve Wagner, Blue Heron Communications, 800-654-3766, steve@blueheroncomm.com.

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