Elk, deer and other wildlife in Minnesota are getting 1,167 acres of more lush, nutritious and palatable forage, thanks to habitat enhancement work funded in part by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The RMEF funding commitment totals $33,477 and directly affects Beltrami, Kittson and Marshall Counties.

Additionally, RMEF is funding several hunting heritage projects of statewide interest.

“Minnesota has about 175 elk, primarily in the Grygla herd and a border herd that moves back and forth to Canada,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “By improving habitat and laying the groundwork for future improvements on key public lands, we can help keep Minnesota elk and other species healthy and productive.”

RMEF’s mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. Since 1985, the organization and its partners completed 125 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Minnesota with a combined value of more than $2.1 million.

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

RMEF grants will help fund the following 2012 projects in Minnesota:

  • Beltrami County—Improve forage for elk by shearing brush to restart plant succession on 250 acres across Grygla, Moose River and Wapiti Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) (also includes Marshall County); maintain four miles of firebreak using thinning and mowing to prepare for future prescribed burns at Grygla, Thief and Wapiti WMAs (also includes Marshall County).
  • Kittson County—Improvement of wildlife habitat at the Halma Swamp and Devil’s Playground WMAs by removing invasive common buckthorn which overtakes native species; maintain existing and establish new forage plots on 176 acres to alleviate agricultural depredation and improve health of elk herd.
  • Marshall County—Seed and fertilize 73 acres of forage plots on the Grygla and Wapiti WMAs to keep elk on public land and alleviate depredation on private farmland (also includes Beltrami County).
  • Statewide—Host a Shooting Access For Everyone (SAFE) event at the Minnesota 2012 Game Fair to introduce families to traditional outdoor sports and conservation; provide sponsorship for Minnesota 4-H 2012 Shooting Sports and Wildlife Program, “Wildlife Camp in a Box,” for youth education, sponsor Minnesota 2012-2013 National Archery in the Schools Program, sponsor Minnesota Department of Natural Resources “Wild About Elk” education trunk; sponsor Minnesota 2012 Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus; sponsor Minnesota 2012 Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, family, college, and woman outreach programs to engage citizens in outdoor recreation and conservation.

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 volunteers and staff select hunting heritage projects to be funded.

Partners for 2012 projects in Minnesota include Minnesota 4-H, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other agencies, Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance, Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, organizations and corporations.

Logo courtesy Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

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