Missoula, Mont.–Restoring and protecting habitat for foraging elk and other wildlife headline a list of 2011 grants for Nevada from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
The RMEF grants total $42,700 and affect Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Lyon, Nye, Washoe and White Pine counties.
One project has statewide interest, affecting teachers and students across Nevada.
“Like much of the West, Nevada is seeing elk-grazing areas slowly disappear beneath encroaching pinyon and juniper. Our grants this year will help restore some of that habitat to a more natural condition,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Our grants also are supporting a conservation easement that will permanently protect a piece of habitat crucial to the elk herd northeast of Wells.”
He added, “All together, the habitat improvement projects that RMEF is funding this year could add at least 2,649 acres to the 275,870 acres that we’ve previously helped to conserve or enhance for wildlife in Nevada.”
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 grant coffers in Nevada, saying, “Because of their amazing passion and generous support, a major conservation milestone is within reach.”
RMEF grants will help fund the following 2011 projects, listed by county:
Carson City–Provide sponsorship for Western Nevada Youth Calf Camp event to introduce families to outdoor recreation and conservation (also affects Washoe, Lyon, Douglas and Churchill counties).
Elko County–Secure conservation easement on 645 acres of habitat northeast of Wells. Property contains forage and water crucial to the region’s elk herd. Property also is home to mule deer, antelope, sage grouse and other wildlife.
Nye County–Remove entanglement threat to elk and other wildlife by taking down dilapidated interior fencing and repairing perimeter fencing on 651-acre Warner Ranch area of Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Statewide–Provide sponsorship for the 2011 Great Basin Teachers Workshop to help elementary, middle and high school educators reach more than 5,000 students with more effective lessons on renewable resources, wildlife and conservation.
White Pine County–Remove encroaching pinyon/juniper from 1,400 acres of elk foraging areas in Duck Creek Basin within the Schell Creek Mountain Range of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies. RMEF staff and volunteers select education projects to receive grants.
Partners for 2011 projects in Nevada include Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and other organizations.
Since 1984, RMEF and its partners have completed 190 different conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Nevada with a combined value of more than $15.1 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.