Grants and funding provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will go toward the reestablishment of healthy elk habitat and populations, and directly bolster wolf management practices in Idaho.

The RMEF grants and additional funding total $223,943 and directly affect Bear Lake, Blaine, Bonneville, Boundary, Caribou, Clearwater, Idaho, Latah and Shoshone Counties. There are also several projects of statewide interest.

“It’s no secret elk populations and habitat declined over the last few decades in north-central Idaho. RMEF is stepping up funding and research efforts and working with our partners to address improvements,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We are also increasing our efforts to assist and strengthen the state’s wolf management program.”

Allen also thanked RMEF’s Idaho volunteers for their dedication with banquet activities and membership fundraising drives for raising the grant funding which stays on the ground in their home state.

RMEF grants will help fund the following 2013 projects, listed by county:

Bear Lake—Treatments to prevent the expansion of noxious weeds within two areas covering 150 acres on the Montpelier and Soda Springs Ranger Districts of the Caribou National Forest (also affects Caribou and Bonneville counties).

Blaine County—Prescribed burning on 2,400 acres in the Upper Little Wood River area of the Sawtooth National Forest to improve elk winter range by reducing the density and competition from smaller trees and promoting the growth of large Douglas fir trees, expanding and regenerating aspen stands, and providing a more diverse sagebrush community.

Bonneville County—Provide funding for a video highlighting the importance of the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area (TCWMA) for elk and other species that will be used as part of effort to secure a TCWMA mitigation trust fund in perpetuity. View the video below:

Boundary County—Prescribed burning on 800 acres within the Deer Creek drainage, a tributary of the Moyle River, on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest to improve habitat and winter and summer elk range as part of a multi-year project that also benefits mule and whitetail deer, moose and grizzly bears.

Clearwater County—Provide extensive landscape restoration of early-seral habitat in north-central Idaho’s Clearwater Basin to restore healthy forage and elk populations (also affects Idaho County); and implementation of a monitoring program in the Clearwater Basin to increase habitat and elk populations by establishing a land use habitat matrix to be used as the foundation for management and monitoring of elk, applying the new OR-WA elk nutrition and habitat models, and capturing and collaring wild elk (also affects Idaho County). The project includes funding from the Torstenson Family Endowment, which is used solely to further RMEF’s core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

Idaho County—Prescribed burning to improve forage quality on 800 acres of Bureau of Land Management land within the Bally Mountain Vegetation Management Project area; and provide funding for noxious weed treatment on 160 acres to enhance forage for elk on private land protected with an RMEF-held conservation easement above Clear Creek.

Latah County—Provide funding for the RMEF Palouse Whitepine Chapter to host an Outdoor Dream Foundation moose hunt for a 12-year-old boy from Utah born without a left ventricle in his heart.

Shoshone County—Prescribed burning to create or enhance 2,000 acres of winter and summer habitat in the Upper Coeur d’Alene River Basin on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest as part of a multi-year effort positively affecting nearly 13,000 acres.

Statewide—Provide funding to the Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council –an association of approximately 30 hunting, fishing and trapping organizations in Idaho– which reviews issues in the legislature, Idaho Game and Fish, IDGF Commission and other agencies that affect sportsmen and women while dealing with Chronic Wasting Disease, game farms, habitat concerns, fishing and hunting access, big game tag availability and other issues; offer $50,000 in funding assistance to IDGF for Idaho’s wolf management efforts, and provide funding for the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts which is a group of 19 separate nonprofit land trust organizations and two local and state government-sponsored programs working on private land conservation and voluntary conservation agreements throughout Idaho.

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

Partners for the 2013 projects include the Caribou, Idaho Panhandle and Sawtooth national forests, as well as the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts, various sportsmen’s organizations and a private landowner.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 425 different conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Idaho with a combined value of more than $52 million.

Logo courtesy Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

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