Grants provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for the state of California will ensure the future of elk and elk habitat by improving forage, helping restore aspen stands and riparian areas, applying noxious weed treatments, capturing and relocating elk, and also provide funding for other conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects.
RMEF’s grants awarded in 2013 for California total $285,595 and positively affect 6,591 acres in 14 counties: Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Shasta, Siskiyou, Merced, Modoc, Monterey, Placer, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Tuolumne. An additional project has statewide interest.
“These grants will help fund 10 different habitat enhancement projects that will provide a better supply of forage and water for elk,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “They also offer funding for 14 different projects promoting our hunting tradition and heritage such as youth camps, hunting and fishing outings, and shooting clubs and competitions.”
Since 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 488 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value more than $38.7 million.
“We have more than 12,000 members in California. We thank them and our dedicated volunteers who generated the funding for these projects through banquet fundraising and membership drives. They are truly making a difference for elk and elk habitat in their own backyard,” added Allen.
Allen also thanked RMEF chapters and volunteers around the nation for their dedication to conservation all across elk country.
RMEF grants will help fund the following projects, listed by county:
Calaveras County—Provide funding for the Gold Country Shooters Trap Team in Sloughhouse so boys and girls in grades 4-12 who would not be able to participate can do so to learn about gun safety, skill development, sportsmanship, individual responsibility, self-discipline, positive academic progress and personnel commitment
(also affects Amador County).
Contra Costa County—Provide funding for the De La Salle Trap Shooting Team to assist boys and girls in grades 9-12 as they learn gun safety, skill development, teamwork and other positive benefits.
Colusa County—Provide RMEF volunteer manpower to fill in erosion area with boulders and fiber material as a means to shore up riparian habitat in Upper Craig Canyon of the Cache Creek Natural Area.
Del Norte County—Thin, hand-pile, prune and burn encroaching conifers and brush on 38 acres of meadow habitat inside a 750-acre project area within the Smith River National Recreation Area to improve habitat for elk.
Mendocino County—Enhance 104 acres with prescribed burning followed by hand-pulling of invasive plants to improve forage on coastal prairie habitat at Sinkyone Wilderness State Park.
Merced County—Mow 10 acres, apply herbicides on 200 acres, burn 200 acres and plant 50 acres with native seed and grass plugs to restore areas invaded by invasive weeds within the 760-acre Tule elk enclosure on the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge (NWR); and provide funding to help capture and relocate 30 Tule elk from the San Luis NWR to other locations in the state to bring this herd to population objective and genetically benefit the receiving elk herds.
Modoc County—Burn 1,000 acres of previously thinned units to revitalize shrubs, reduce encroaching young pine, cedar, fir and juniper as well as increase forage and encourage black oak production on year-round elk habitat within the Washington Mountain area on the Modoc National Forest approximately six miles north of Canby; and burn 599 acres on Bureau of Land Management land to remove juniper that invaded aspen stands, sagebrush and bitterbrush communities to improve early seral bunchgrass habitat near the Surprise Valley.
Monterey County—Treat 2,000 acres of noxious weeds to re-establish vegetation for Tule elk and other wildlife at Fort Hunter Liggett Military Reservation; provide sponsorship of the 11th annual Youth Trout Fishing Derby that drew 315 youth and their families to Fort Hunter Liggett by helping stock Del Venturi Reservoir with 2,100 pounds of fish, purchasing fishing poles for the first 200 children and offering a free barbeque lunch; and provide RMEF volunteer manpower to remove barbed wire fence from the military base to benefit a Tule elk herd numbering 500-600.
Placer County—Provide funding for the Granite Bay High School Trap Team which had its most successful season to date competing with other high schools and clubs throughout California; provide funding for the Roseville High School Trap Team which off-set the cost of competition fees for its 35-50 students; and provide funding to purchase equipment and ammunition for the Colfax High School Trap Team so students can experience personal growth, gun safety and responsibility, self-confidence and team participation skills.
San Luis Obispo County—Host annual Chimineas Ranch Junior Elk Hunt for first time youth elk hunter and family. RMEF volunteers guide the hunt, prepare meals and provide transportation.
Santa Barbara County—Provide funding for the Debra Takayama Memorial Junior Pheasant Hunt that offers education and instruction for youth about hunter safety, wildlife law enforcement, wildlife management, shooting skills and the techniques of pheasant hunting as well as a pheasant hunt itself in Santa Barbara.
Shasta County—Restore 1,200 acres of aspen and wet meadow habitat on private lands approximately 10 miles south of Burney to improve forage for deer, elk and other wildlife; provide funding for local RMEF chapter to host up to 40 kids at a hunter safety class in Fall River; and provide funding for the Anderson Union High School shooting range so the ammunition is at no cost to students.
Siskiyou County—Restore 14 meadow openings on 160 acres of the Klamath National Forest by chainsaw thinning of encroaching conifers to improve forage for Roosevelt elk, also making existing water source more accessible; reconstruct, enlarge and seal a three-acre pond to be used as a dependable wildlife water source on private land important to California’s Roosevelt elk herd; and mechanical treatment of young juniper to be chipped and sold for biomass to restore sagebrush steppe habitat on 500 acres of BLM land three miles southeast of Dorris as part of a 3,000 acre project covering 3-5 years.
Tuolumne County—Provide funding for the Mother Lode Gun Club Junior Trap Team in Jamestown so pre-high school members can afford to learn safe firearms skills and participate in competitions.; and provide funding to purchase ammunition for the Sonora High School Trap Club so members can learn gun safety, skill development, self-confidence and teamwork.
Statewide—Provide funding for the California Council of Land Trusts which is influential with matters of legislation and moneys available for land conservation projects, both conservation easements and acquisitions.
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 2013 projects in California include the Klamath, Modoc and Six Rivers National Forests, as well as the Bureau of Land Management, San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, Fort Hunter Liggett Military Reservation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, private landowners, and other agencies, businesses, organizations and foundations.
Logo courtesy Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation