WILDLIFE — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation says it is transferring $223,943 in grants and other funding to help boost elk habitat programs in Idaho, including $50,000 for the wolf management program.
The funding is directed mostly to nine counties including Boundary, Clearwater, Latah and Shoshone.
Projects include controlled burns and weed control to boost big-game forage with the goal of reestablishing healthy elk habitat and populations, RMEF officials said.
Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies.
“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. “We are also increasing our efforts to assist and strengthen the state’s wolf management program.”
The funding comes largely from the foundation's local fundraising banquets, he said.
Read on for the list of 2013 projects the funding will boost in each county.
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
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
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 northcentral
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.
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.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
RMEF is leading a conservation initiative that protected or enhanced habitat on more than
6.3 million acres—an area larger than Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yosemite,
Rocky Mountain and Great Smoky Mountains national parks combined.