Rejuvenating decadent meadows used by foraging elk and other wildlife is the central theme in a list of Oregon conservation projects slated to receive grants in 2012 from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The RMEF funding commitment totals $165,500 and affects 17 counties: Benton, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler.

Two projects have statewide interest with implications across the northwestern U.S.

“Oregon’s native grasslands are slowly shrinking because of fire suppression, encroaching conifers and noxious weed infestations. The projects that we’re funding this year will help restore some of those areas to a more natural condition,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Our grants also will help to develop springs and guzzlers, remove old fencing and support important research across the state.”

RMEF’s mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. Since 1985, the organization and its partners have completed 703 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $42 million.

Funding for RMEF grants is based on local membership drives and banquet fundraising by RMEF chapters and volunteers in Oregon. Allen thanked RMEF supporters for their dedication to conservation both in Oregon and all across elk country.

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