December 18, 2018

Michigan’s Elk, Hunting Heritage Receive Boost from RMEF Grants

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—In continuing its long-term relationship in Michigan, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded more than $30,000 in grant funding to benefit elk, elk habitat and hunting programs in the Wolverine State.

“We are excited to make this funding as Michigan is celebrating 100 years of elk on the ground,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “The grants will benefit elk and other wildlife by improving habitat across the elk range.”

Michigan is home to more than 6,000 RMEF members and 19 chapters. RMEF volunteers raised the funds by hosting banquets, membership drives and other events.

“We can’t say enough about our volunteers,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “They provide their time, talents and abilities to further our conservation mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. We simply cannot do it without them.”

Here are RMEF’s 2018 projects in Michigan, listed by county:

Cheboygan County

·        Remove brush and invasive autumn olive from 70 acres of openings and seed with annual rye to build soils that will later be planted to cool season legumes that are more palatable for elk and other wildlife in the Pigeon River State Forest and can be maintained by mowing and fertilizing.

·        Remove all brush and small trees to maintain and restore openings across 111 acres of the Pigeon River State Forest while also tilling and planting vegetation to benefit elk and other wildlife.


Otsego County

·        Provide funding for a conservation easement to permanently protect 56 acres of prime wildlife and riparian habitat along the Pigeon River.


Macomb County

·        Provide funding for equipment to benefit the Trinity Lutheran School’s archery program in Clinton Township that teaches 6th through 8th grade students about archery, teamwork and competition.


Statewide

·        Provide funding for the two-day Michigan Youth Hunter Education Challenge in Lansing that offers youth an opportunity to test their skills at a variety of hunting techniques under simulated hunting conditions. The event includes archery, muzzleloading, shotgun and .22 rifle shooting in addition to wildlife identification, orienteering and hunter safety and ethics.

RMEF funded its first Michigan project in 1990, a three-year cooperative study with Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan State University to collect data on the movement and population of Michigan’s elk. At the time, Michigan’s elk herd was the only wild, free-ranging huntable elk herd east of the Mississippi.

Since 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 159 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $5.4 million. These projects protected or enhanced 5,897 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 877 acres.

Michigan project partners include the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as well as other sportsmen, outdoor industry, additional organizations and private landowners.

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RMEF Enabling Perpetuation of GI Wolves

*Editor’s Note* – Below is a press release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. It is the announcement of a $50,000 grant to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for wolf management. The presser states that half the $50,000 will be used for “wolf collaring and management actions for problem wolves.” The other half for  “developing what’s called the Patch Occupancy Model (POM) for estimating wolf populations.”

The Federal Government and their totalitarian NGOs, took on a criminal enterprise to force wolves onto the landscape which included the Montana region. Once they strong-armed their “GI Wolves” onto the public, they then forced the Montana taxpayers to now pick up the bill to continue their criminal enterprise. Can you spell extortion? So why is the RMEF enabling the continuation of this criminal enterprise?

Instead of spending $25,000 on collaring problem wolves, why not just kill the damned things and get rid of them? In addition, only a moron thinks that a computer-driven, outcome-based, fake “model” can more accurately tell fake managers how many wolves there really are. The only thing fake computer models will do is manipulate an already rigged system that can be used to con organizations, like the RMEF, out of $50,000 to further perpetuate their criminal activities.

RMEF should use the $50,000 to pay hunters and trappers to kill the wolves and in return this action will please members of the RMEF who are tired of seeing their money spent so that more wolves can be grown which, in turn, further erodes their hunting opportunities. How many elk tags have been taken away from hunters since the proliferation of GI Wolves?

This makes absolutely no sense at all. RMEF needs to rethink their policies.

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

RMEF Grant to Benefit Montana Wolf Management

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) a $50,000 grant to assist with wolf management in the state of Montana.

“Montana’s wolf population is more than three times larger than federally-required minimum mandates,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This funding will help FWP get a better grasp on wolf numbers as a benefit to wildlife managers tasked with seeking to balance predator and prey populations while doing so in a more cost effective manner.”

Half of the grant funding will go toward wolf collaring and management actions for problem wolves. The other half will assist a joint effort by FWP and the University of Montana in further developing what’s called the Patch Occupancy Model (POM) for estimating wolf populations.

POM incorporates data on territory and wolf pack sizes along with hunter observations and known wolf locations to get to a more accurate estimation of wolf populations. It is a much cheaper undertaking than previous efforts since it incorporates data analysis rather than direct counting efforts.

Montana’s 2016 wolf report shows a minimum of 477 wolves which is down from 536 wolves counted in 2015, however it does not necessarily reflect a reduction in wolf numbers, but rather a reduction in counting effort.

“Though the minimum count is down, we’ve long held that these minimum counts are useful only in ensuring Montana’s wolf population stays above the federally-mandated minimum threshold. The minimum count is not a population count or an index or estimate of the total number of wolves,” said Bob Inman, FWP carnivore and furbearer program chief.

RMEF also provided grant funding to FWP in 2015 for development of the Patch Occupancy Model.

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Idaho Elk Habitat, Research, Wolf Management Benefit from RMEF Grants

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $211,400 in grants that will fund more than a dozen habitat enhancement, research and hunting heritage projects in the state of Idaho.

The grants will directly benefit 15,676 acres spread across Ada, Bear Lake, Blaine, Boise, Bonneville, Boundary, Camas, Caribou, Clearwater, Elmore, Franklin, Idaho, Owyhee, Teton and Twin Falls Counties. There are also two projects of statewide benefit.

“It is common knowledge that Idaho’s elk population is suffering in some areas of the state due, in part, to the loss of habitat and later, the reintroduction of wolves,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Part of this grant funding will help pay for the third year of a scientific study monitoring elk in central Idaho by applying elk nutrition and habitat models successfully developed in other nearby states.”

Allen also thanked Idaho volunteers for their dedicated efforts in raising funds through banquets, membership drives and other events to benefit elk and elk country in their back yard and around the country.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners have completed 467 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Idaho with a combined value of more than $59.7 million. These projects have protected or enhanced 418,580 acres of habitat and have opened or secured public access to 22,002 acres.

Here is a sampling of Idaho’s 2015 projects, listed by county:

Ada County—Provide funding to complete the final .23 miles of wildlife exclusion fence that will safely funnel big game species from upland areas to an underpass where they can safely cross beneath State Highway 21, reducing the risk and number of collisions on this section of the highway on the Boise River Wildlife Management Area.

Camas County—Treat 300 acres of weed infestations scattered across the Fairfield and Ketchum Ranger Districts on the Sawtooth National Forest by focusing on elk winter range areas burned by wildfires in 2007, 2008 and 2013 (also benefits Blaine and Elmore
Counties).

Clearwater County—Provide Torstenson Family Endowment funds for the third year of research to implement a monitoring program for elk in the Clearwater Basin. Initial work will include establishing a land use habitat matrix for the Basin to be used as the foundation for management and monitoring of elk, applying the new Oregon-Washington elk nutrition and habitat models, and capturing and collaring wild elk for subsequent monitoring which will help managers decide where habitat treatments need to be made and also develop a prioritization for future work (also affects Idaho County).

Statewide—Provide $50,000 to assist Idaho’s wolf management plan. The funding goes toward hiring a wolf tracking expert to assist in locating non-documented wolf packs as well as documenting mid-winter pack composition through aerial tracking and remote camera work.

Go here to see a full listing of RMEF’s 2015 projects in Idaho.

Partners for the Idaho projects include the Caribou-Targhee, Idaho Panhandle and Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and various other tribal, civic and government organizations.

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RMEF Grant Assists Idaho Wolf Management

*Editor’s Note* – The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is entitled to give their money in any way, shape or fashion. It is quite unfortunate the the RMEF and the State of Idaho are being extorted for funds and manpower in order to “manage” GI wolves that were forced onto Idaho landscapes with the collaboration of illegal acts by members of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, by circumventing the Legislature.

Now, the RMEF states they have given $350,000.00 in extortion payoffs for the “management” of a nasty animal that only brings death and destruction to the landscapes they inhabit. Because Idaho and surrounding states had NO options, after the fact, but to pay the extortion payments, the states now wrongly believe that at the end of the ESA 5-year period of wolf management assessment, things will actually change. How wrong they are. Nothing will change and so long as Idaho, and other states, enabled by donations from groups like the RMEF, continue to play into the hands of the Feds and their-one-of-a-kind environmentalists, protecting GI Wolves, elk will be destroyed down to scarce levels; all for protection of a nasty, disease-infested wild dog.

Insanity!

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) accepted a $50,000 grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to help firm up the state’s ability to maintain management of its wolf population.

“This is the fifth and final year of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s five-year monitoring period to evaluate the status of Idaho’s wolf population,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “The RMEF grant is designed to ensure wolves remain delisted so Idaho can continue to monitor the population and implement effective state-based management practices.”

The grant funding will be used to target two primary activities. The first is to hire a wolf tracking expert to assist in locating non-documented wolf packs while also assisting in collaring those packs in conjunction with a helicopter capture operation. The second activity is to document mid-winter pack composition through aerial tracking and remote camera work.

Idaho wildlife managers documented a minimum of 770 wolves in 2014 which is more than 400 percent above minimum recovery levels. The total includes 104 packs with an additional 23 border packs counted by Montana, Wyoming and Washington that established territories overlapping the Idaho state boundary. IDFG suspects there are even more packs but did not include them in the 2014 count due to lack of documentation.

“As per requirements under the Endangered Species Act, Idaho will continue to manage its wolf population under federal oversight until May 2016. We also know that wolves and other predators have a significant impact on elk in some parts of Idaho. Funding for this project allows the state to better address predator populations by maintaining state control of wolf management,” added Allen.

In the last three-plus years, RMEF awarded approximately $350,000 in grants specifically for wolf management, including $50,000 for Montana earlier this month.

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Montana Elk Habitat, Wolf Management Get Boost from RMEF Grants

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Grant funding provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will improve 22,065 acres of wildlife habitat across 18 Montana counties.

The 2015 grants total $386,080 and directly impact Beaverhead, Broadwater, Carbon, Deer Lodge, Jefferson, Flathead, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Madison, Missoula, Petroleum, Powder River, Powell, Rosebud, Sanders, Stillwater, Sweetgrass and Teton Counties. There are also several projects of statewide and regional benefit.

“Prescribed burning, meadow restoration and noxious weed treatments are just a few of the many projects funded by these grants that will enhance habitat for elk and other wildlife,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “In addition, wolves continue to remain well above minimum objectives and this funding will help managers better determine how many wolves are on the landscape and where they’re located so they can be better managed.”

Allen thanked Montana volunteers who raised funds for the on-the-ground projects through banquet activities, membership drives and other fundraising efforts. He also thanked RMEF volunteers and members around the country for their dedication to ensuring the future of elk, elk country and our hunting heritage.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners have completed 841 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Montana with a combined value of more than $146 million. These projects have protected or enhanced 769,282 acres of habitat, of which 226,954 acres have been opened or secured for public access.

Here is a sampling of Montana’s 2015 projects:

Petroleum County—Conduct the largest prescribed burn carried out by the Bureau of Land Management in Montana to date on 6,700 acres of BLM and private lands northeast of Winnett to reduce conifer and juniper encroachment into native grass and sagebrush prairie thereby increasing production and diversity of forbs for elk and lowering the risk of high-severity, stand replacement wildfires. Mule deer, pronghorn, wild turkeys and other wildlife also benefit.

Powell County—Enhance native grasses, forbs and shrubs, and promote aspen regeneration in a transition area between grasslands and dry timber stands on the Helena National Forest approximately 10 miles west of Lincoln. Treatments include 335 acres of thinning/burning and 400 acres of weed treatments (with some overlap).

Stillwater County—Treat approximately 250 acres of noxious weeds on federal, state and private lands within the Upper Stillwater River Watershed. The project is coordinated by the Stillwater Valley Watershed Council and involves many landowners through a cost-share program; combining efforts to cooperatively control noxious weeds across a 184,000-acre landscape (also affects Carbon County).

Western Montana—Provide $50,000 in funding to assist Montana’s wolf management plan. The funding, $25,000 to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and $25,000 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provides for additional collaring of wolves to expand the science related to wolf pack locations, size and home ranges as well as resolving wolf conflicts associated with livestock depredation.

Go here to see a complete listing of Montana’s 2015 projects (http://bit.ly/1QBDKcs).

Partners for the Montana projects include the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Custer, Flathead, Gallatin, Helena, Kootenai, Lewis and Clark, and Lolo National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, private landowners and various sportsmen, wildlife, civic, and government organizations.

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Montana Receives RMEF Grant to Bolster Wolf Management

*Editor’s Note* – Wolves should not be “managed.” They need to be controlled. On the one hand, we must commend the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for caring enough to be willing to give money for wolf management. Yet, on the other hand, the money is being given for a useless purpose that will NEVER, EVER, attain control over wolves in order to protect the rights of humans and the existence of other wildlife species. Further studies and spending money to obtain “more accurate information,” is playing into the hands of environmentalists who want wolves in everyone’s back yard while destroying all hunting and trapping opportunities.

It is complete dishonesty for any fish and game management entity to corruptly and deliberately UNDERESTIMATE the population of any species, because doing so placates the will of the wolf perverts. To offer an “official” population estimate of wolves out of the corner of their mouths, while stating real populations are “27 to 37 percent higher” is dishonest and should not be tolerated by anyone. If nothing more, it simply makes no sense.

It is my opinion, that while RMEF’s intent might be good, their $50,000 is going to enhance a ridiculous wolf “management” program. It is a bad choice of what to do with $50,000.

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $50,000 in grant funding to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) and Wildlife Services to assist Montana with its wolf management plan implementation.

“RMEF stands behind the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation which calls for the management of all species so their populations will be sustained forever,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Predator management is a key principle in the model. And in Montana, we have a wolf population that far exceeds minimum objectives so we need to obtain more data to enhance the science of estimating wolf numbers so we can have more accurate information to assist in overall effective management.”

The funding goes toward additional collaring for wolves in order to expand the science related to wolf pack locations, size and home ranges. More specifically, GPS collars will be deployed to help refine the Patch Occupancy Model for estimating wolf numbers and number of packs. The expectation is to use the modeling in conjunction with harvest surveys to have a less labor-intensive method of estimating wolf populations.

With the onset of hunting seasons, wolf packs seem to be smaller in size yet the number of breeding pairs reportedly increased from a year ago. The goal of this research utilizing collars is to gain a better understanding of the new population dynamics of wolves in a hunted population.

Montana reported a 2014 minimum wolf population of 554 animals but biologists maintain the actual on-the-ground count is 27 to 37 percent higher. If you do the math, that places Montana’s wolf population somewhere between 705 to 760 which is still more than 400 percent above minimum objectives.

“The bottom line is it’s extremely difficult to manage wolves toward a given objective unless managers know how many wolves there are on the landscape. This grant funding will help FWP determine just that,” added Allen.

RMEF supports state-regulated hunting and trapping as preferred tools of wolf management. RMEF also remains committed to learning more about wolves and their effect on elk and other prey through research efforts. In the last three-plus years, RMEF awarded approximately $300,000 in grants specifically for wolf management.

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Improvements on the Way for Oregon Elk Habitat

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded grants to fund 20 conservation projects that will improve more than 23,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the state of Oregon.

The grants total $279,733 and directly benefit Crook, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Lincoln, Linn, Tillamook, Union, Wallowa and Yamhill Counties.

“Oregon is home to some great elk country,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This grant funding will pay for prescribed burning, aspen and meadow restoration, noxious weed treatments and other projects that will enhance habitat for elk and other wildlife.”

Allen thanked Oregon’s volunteers for carrying out banquets, membership drives and other events that raised the money for the on-the-ground projects in their own backyard.

“We see it again and again in Oregon and all around the nation. Our volunteers and members care so much and work so hard for the benefit of elk country. To them we say ‘Thank you,’” added Allen.

Here is a sampling of Oregon’s 2015 projects, listed by county:

Grant County—Treat 450 acres of weed infestations across a 13,000 acre landscape that includes crucial winter range to complement an ongoing program of spring development, forage openings, fuels reduction and wet meadow protection on private land that allows public hunting adjacent to the Bridge Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Harney County—Rehabilitate and protect a rare, large, wet meadow along Alder Creek in the Stinkingwater Mountains by constructing a series of engineered check dams and fill to stabilize and rehab the stream channel. In addition, a 110-acre exclosure will be built to keep livestock out of the meadow (also affects Grant County).

Jackson County—Apply prescribed underburning to 425 acres on the western slope of the southern Cascade Mountains in a recently commercially thinned area to jumpstart early seral recruitment in order to increase forage quality and quantity for elk on yearlong habitat and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire on the Rogue River National Forest.

Lake County—Thin 800 acres within aspen stands in a larger project area to reduce conifers and improve habitat on elk summer range and birthing areas on the Fremont-Winema National Forest .

For a complete list of Oregon’s projects, go here.

Partners for the Oregon projects include the Fremont-Winema, Ochoco, Rogue River-Siskiyou, Siuslaw, Umatilla, Umpqua, Wallowa-Whitman and Willamette National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, private landowners and various sportsmen, wildlife, civic, tribal and government organizations.

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 791 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $53.6 million. These projects have protected or enhanced 768,210 acres of habitat and have opened or secured public access to 28,463 acres.

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Battered Communities

HOW WEALTHY PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS, GRANT-DRIVEN ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS, AND ACTIVIST FEDERAL EMPLOYEES COMBINE TO SYSTEMATICALLY CRIPPLE RURAL ECONOMIES

Across America, while urban areas enjoy an economic boom, rural communities are suffering unprecedented social and economic losses. Their suffering is directly linked to a bewildering array of government actions allegedly protecting the environment. The federal government is being unduly influenced to perform these actions by an equally bewildering array of agenda-driven employees, environmental organizations, and funders in private foundations. All segments of natural resource goods production – water development, farming, ranching, mining, petroleum, timber, fishing, transportation, and manufacturing projects – are being systematically attacked, thwarted, and eradicated. Natural resource production and related jobs are being forced offshore. Town and county tax revenues fall with natural resource goods production losses, aggravating an urban-rural prosperity gap.

This report focuses on the federal government actions and related federal employees, the grant-driven environmental groups that prompt the actions, and the private foundations that design the attacks. It asks the question, “What are the connections between the visible damage in rural areas and the triangle of government employees – environmental groups – private foundations?”

Simply put, who is organizing the destruction of rural American resource producers?

It is well known that numerous former environmental organization executives occupy positions within the present administration. It is less well known that thousands of activist members of advocacy groups are employed by federal agencies in positions that give them opportunity to exercise agenda-driven undue influence over goods-production decisions applied in rural areas.

It is well known that environmental organizations use lawsuits, lobbying and administrative pressure to destroy economic activities they dislike. It is less well known that large networks of environmental organizations coordinate to systematically target specific rural communities for economic dismantling.

It is understood that private foundations provide substantial support to environmental organizations. It is less understood that a number of private foundations have become prescriptive rather than responsive. They design the programs, select the funding recipients and direct grant-driven projects for a substantial number of environmental organizations.

The activist federal employees, the grant-driven environmental groups and the prescriptive private foundations unduly influence public policy. They were not elected. They are totally unaccountable.

This report examines the largest unacknowledged program of social and economic displacement in American history. It ends with a call for Inspector General investigation of undue influence and Congressional investigation of the causes behind Battered Communities.

This report is co-sponsored by the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, American Land Rights Association, F.I.G.H.T. for Minnesota (Fight Inefficient Government and High Taxes), and the Maine Conservation Rights Institute. Permission to reproduce portions of this report is granted.<<<Read the Full Report>>>

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Utah Elk Habitat Gets Upgrade Thanks to RMEF Grants

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded grants to fund more than 50 projects that will improve more than 51,000 acres of habitat for elk and other wildlife in 22 counties across Utah.

The grants, awarded in 2014, total $226,500 and will directly benefit Beaver, Box Elder, Cache, Carbon, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Juab, Kane, Millard, Piute, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Summit, Tooele, Uintah, Washington and Wayne Counties. There are also two projects with statewide benefits.

“It’s vital for elk to have access to the nutrition they need to survive in this arid, high desert region. This funding will help clear encroaching pinyon and juniper trees in many areas that stifle forage for elk, deer and other wildlife,” said David Allen. “The grants will also restore ailing water sources and assist with the construction of new guzzlers.”

Allen thanked Utah volunteers who raised the grant funding through banquets, membership drives and other events. He also thanked volunteers and members from around the country for their dedication to elk, elk country and conservation.

Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 451 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Utah with a combined value of more than $51.3 million. These projects have protected and enhanced 999,138 acres and opened or secured public access to 27,192 acres of land.

RMEF grants will help fund the following projects, many of which carry over into 2015, listed by county:

Beaver County—Improve up to 2,850 acres of elk and mule deer winter range and reduce hazardous fuels on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands near Beaver and North Creek by broadcast seeding and then mechanically treating encroaching pinyon-juniper; and aerially seed 500 acres of low elevation pinyon-juniper woodland habitat that was treated by prescribed fire in 2012-2013 to combat potential cheatgrass invasion and reduce soil erosion in a steep, inaccessible canyon east of Sulphurdale on the Fishlake National Forest.

Box Elder County—Improve 950 acres of BLM sagebrush habitat in the Etna area by thinning juniper and then seeding with desirable forage species; and capture and transplant up to 50 bighorn sheep from the Newfoundland Mountains to meet population management objectives for the area and relocate the animals to the Oak Creek Mountains.

Cache County—Remove 21 acres of subalpine fir at the top of Green Canyon east of Paradise and Hyrum where the fir trees are outcompeting mature aspen stands due to fire suppression; and treat approximately 600 acres of sagebrush habitat in Elk Valley in the Saddle Creek drainage on the Cache National Forest to reintroduce disturbance and create a more varied structure and reduce wildfire hazards to the north of the Hardware Ranch.

Carbon County—Implement a hazardous fuels reduction/habitat restoration/forest health project on 566 acres within an approximately 2,000-acre project area that includes the Ford Creek and Diamanti Canyon areas on BLM lands; remove encroaching conifer trees on 68 acres of the Cold Springs Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to promote aspen and desirable forbs for big game and grouse 12 miles northeast of Sunnyside; and apply two-way chain treatment to 308 acres of pinyon-juniper followed by seeding to improve winter range conditions for deer and elk and reinvigorate sagebrush communities southwest of Helper.

Daggett County—Replace two old guzzlers on Bare Top Mountain which is home to the largest bighorn sheep herd in northeast Utah while also benefitting elk, mule deer and pronghorn; seed 300 acres of thinned pinyon-juniper encroachment to increase grass and browse cover on crucial big game winter range in Browns Park at the mouth of Birch Creek Canyon on Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) and private lands; and apply pre-commercial thinning of young lodgepole pine and conifer removal from riparian areas and sagebrush communities to improve 1,482 acres of habitat in the Cart Creek watershed on the Ashley National Forest.

Duchesne County—Improve 584 acres of winter range through removal of pinyon-juniper trees encroaching into sagebrush habitat at the top of Gate Canyon on BLM lands southwest of Myton; lop and scatter encroaching pinyon-juniper on 1,150 acres of elk, deer and potential sage grouse Wyoming big sagebrush winter habitat at the top of Gates Canyon; install two wildlife guzzler tanks and aprons in the Big Wash area of the Ninemile-Anthro Wildlife Management Unit in an area where numerous pinyon-juniper management projects have been completed; and lop and scatter encroaching pinyon-juniper and Douglas fir trees on 1,272 acres of sagebrush and mountain brush communities on the Jeep Trail and Nutters Ridge areas of Anthro Mountain on Ashley National Forest southeast of Duchesne; and seed 240 acres to improve winter range for elk, mule deer and sage grouse on the Tabby Mountain WMA.

Garfield County—Improve 2,000 acres of elk, sage grouse, mule deer and pronghorn habitat and reduce hazardous fuels on BLM lands near Hatch by broadcast seeding and then mulching pinyon-juniper encroachment; develop trailheads on the Mt. Dutton/Sevier Plateau area on the Dixie National Forest as a continuation of Dedicated Hunter projects which have developed trailheads into roadless areas for hunter access by foot and horseback; and construct a 10,200-gallon wildlife guzzler to benefit elk, mule deer and pronghorn in the Sage Hen Hollow area approximately nine miles southwest of Panguitch on SITLA land while also installing a fence to exclude livestock.

Grand County—Improve big game winter range northeast of the Green River in the Floy area of the Book Cliffs by lopping and scattering 642 acres of pinyon-juniper, and also apply bullhog treatment to an additional 660 acres on BLM, SITLA and private lands; install three new big game guzzlers on the Little Creek Ridge WMA in the Book Cliffs; and install three new water guzzlers, two at Hatch Point and one in Hell Roaring Canyon, as part of a multi-year effort to restore wildlife water developments across BLM lands in the Moab area (also affects San Juan and Wayne Counties).

Iron County—Perform lop and scatter maintenance treatments in previously chained areas in the northwest corner of the Cedar City Ranger District on the Dixie National Forest to improve winter range for elk and mule deer while also applying bitterbrush seeding.

Juab County—Improve sagebrush habitat on the south end of the East Tintic Mountains on BLM lands by thinning pinyon-juniper on approximately 855 acres and then seeding where necessary; and improve winter forage opportunities on 836 acres in the Salt Creek drainage on the Uinta National Forest to avoid supplemental feeding and depredation issues on adjacent private lands by establishing natural winter forage plots through seeding and transplants.

Millard County—Conduct two-way chain treatments of pinyon-juniper on 682 acres of the North Fillmore WMA, install a new pipeline and two watering troughs for wildlife, and apply supplemental seeding with grasses and forbs; and apply two-way chain pinyon and juniper and one-way chain treatments to older sagebrush stands to reduce fuel loads, improve critical wildlife habitat, improve rangeland and watershed health, and increase the understory of grasses, forbs, and shrub species on private land on the east side of the Phavant Management Unit.

Piute County—Remove encroaching pinyon-juniper trees from mature tree stands on 946 acres within the Cedar Grove areas on SITLA and BLM lands on the northwest portion of Parker Mountain; clean up and remove old debris from five water source ponds and upgrade them to catch water from winter runoff and seasonal rainfall on Parker Mountain; lop and scatter encroaching pinyon-juniper from 1,500 acres of BLM lands while applying two-way chained treatment and seeding to an additional 730 acres between Parker Mountain and Grass Valley (also affects Sevier and Wayne Counties); and apply harrow treatment to 1,200 acres of elk and mule deer habitat on the Fishlake National Forest to reduce decadent big sagebrush and enhance browse (also affects Wayne and Sevier Counties).

Sanpete County—Improve 1,393 acres of winter range by hand-cutting pinyon-juniper encroaching into a previously chained area, seeding three shrub islands and cleaning out and sealing three storage ponds on BLM lands in Antelope Valley; and use hand and mechanical treatments to remove pinyon-juniper from approximately 629 acres in the eastern portion of the Ferron/Price Ranger District on the Manti National Forest. Up to 40 percent of the project area may be treated with prescribed fire (also affects Emery County).

Sevier County—Lop and scatter pinyon-juniper trees encroaching on 1,847 acres of important wintering sagebrush communities within the Sand Ledges Recreation Area on SITLA and BLM lands east of Richfield; mechanically treat more than 700 acres of wildlife habitat as part of an ecosystem restoration and hazardous fuels reduction project focusing on improving native species diversity adjacent to the mountain community of Acord Lakes on the Fishlake National Forest; conduct two-way chaining treatment with seeding between passes to remove encroaching pinyon-juniper on 897 acres approximately 15 miles east of Richfield on SITLA land; and lop and scatter encroaching pinyon-juniper on 2,507 acres of elk and mule deer winter range on BLM lands within the Monroe Mountain area and also install two 1,500-gallon capacity guzzlers and repair one existing guzzler in the treatment area.

Summit County—Lop and scatter encroaching conifers on 332 acres of critical elk, moose and mule deer habitat, as well as potential bighorn sheep habitat on the north slope of the Uinta Mountains on the Wasatch National Forest eight miles northeast of Hoop Lake.

Tooele County—Thin pinyon-juniper on approximately 1,070 acres of BLM land on the south and west side of the East Tintic Mountains and aerially seed areas lacking perennial grasses and forbs; and improve sagebrush habitat on 1,050 acres by thinning encroaching juniper and seeding where necessary on the east facing slopes of the Onaqui Mountains.

Uintah County—Install four wildlife guzzlers in pinyon and juniper treatment areas on Atchee Ridge in the Book Cliffs to better distribute wildlife, including elk and bison, throughout treated areas in an effort to reduce pressure on regenerating aspen stands; install an additional water well with a solar-powered water pump to distribute water to a nearby trough at the Mail Draw WMA and also clean out 11 existing small ponds in the Rye Grass, Sears Canyon and Mail Draw areas (also affects Daggett County); and remove encroaching pinyon-juniper that are actively competing with sagebrush, grasses and forbs on SITLA and BLM lands in the Diamond Mountain area

Washington County—Aerially seed approximately 1,939 acres of existing fuel breaks around New Harmony to improve their effectiveness and enhance forage for elk, mule deer and Rio Grande wild turkey on the Dixie National Forest; build a 10,200-gallon wildlife guzzler, and the fencing to exclude livestock, in the Beaver Dam Mountains in southern Utah to support wildlife, particularly desert bighorn sheep; provide funding to capture up to 70 bighorn sheep on BLM lands and potentially within Zion National Park and transplant them to Nokai Dome on the San Juan River (also affects Kane County); and apply RMEF volunteer manpower to install a new water guzzler on a non-working guzzler site and build an exclosure fence in the Pine Valley Mountains north of St. George on the Dixie National Forest.

Wayne County—Clean and remove debris from established pond structures on BLM lands on Parker Mountain to increase water storage of winter runoff and seasonal rainfall, and to support wildlife and livestock grazing management systems.

Statewide—Apply funding for a study to develop an explicit understanding of elk spatial ecology in northern Utah in order to enable the identification of high-risk areas for the transmission of elk-borne brucellosis and provide the basis for a novel strategic adaptive management approach to controlling the spread of the disease in elk at the landscape scale, thereby mitigating the risk of spillover to livestock; and provide funding for a study placing radio collars on 300 elk throughout the state to better understand elk movements, help inform management decisions and allow managers to better manage population objectives.

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.

Partners for the Utah projects include the Ashley, Dixie, Fishlake, Manti and Unita-Wasatch-Cache National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah Department of Natural Resources, Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, local businesses, universities, private landowners, and various sportsmen, wildlife, civic and government organizations.

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RMEF Grants Benefit 14 States in ‘Eastern’ Elk Ranges

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded almost half a million dollars in grants to 14 states in the East and Midwest that fund nearly three dozen habitat enhancement projects that will benefit not only elk, but numerous other species native to these states.

The grants, awarded in 2014, total $467,756 and directly affect about 31,000 combined acres in Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

“Thanks to this latest batch of grants, RMEF has now awarded 2014 grants to all 28 states with wild, free-ranging elk populations,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Funding from the Torstenson Family Endowment helped pay for 17 these projects. We are also grateful to our hard-working RMEF volunteers who helped raise additional funds through membership drives, banquet activities and other events.”

Allen also thanked RMEF volunteers and members from around their country for their support of conservation.

RMEF grants fund the following 2014 projects, some of which carry over into 2015, listed by state and county:

Arkansas

Newton County—Maintain early successional vegetation on 376 acres with brush hog/fertilizer treatments to restore mixed open and woodland habitat on the Ozark National Forest.

Searcy County—Provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding to continue work on the Buffalo National River and surrounding Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) to develop new and improve existing elk habitat with field improvements, forage plantings, noxious weed treatment and prescribed burning positively affecting 5,440 acres (also affects Newton County).

Kansas

Riley County—Seed 300 acres of wheat, 110 acres of corn and 59 acres of sunflower followed by fertilizer and herbicide treatments on existing elk forage plots on the Fort Riley Military Reservation to also benefit turkey, bobwhite quail, ring necked pheasant, whitetail deer and many non-game species (also affects Geary and Clay Counties); and use TFE funds to convert cool season grasses to more beneficial early successional plant species and aid in the control of noxious weeds with aerial herbicide application in order to benefit about 2,500 acres of grassland on Fort Riley (also affects Geary and Clay Counties).

Kentucky

Breathitt County—Improve 40 acres on the Paul van Booven WMA through invasive species control of autumn olive, establishment of mixed hard and soft wood stands, forage seeding and thinning white pine.

Michigan

Cheboygan County—Provide TFE funding to plant buckwheat and clover on 63 acres that have been cleared of brush, and hydro-ax another 62 acres to facilitate future prescribed burning on the Pigeon River State Forest to improve elk habitat.

Minnesota

Beltrami County—Brush sheer 250 acres where prescribed burning cannot be effectively used to regenerate new growth within the Grygla, Moose River and Wapiti WMAs (also affects Marshall County).

Kittson County—Implement prescribed burn operations and treat noxious weeds that threaten elk habitat on 2,000 acres in the Tallgrass Aspen Parklands (also affects Marshall, Roseau and Beltrami Counties); establish high quality forage plots on 156 acres of state and private lands to draw elk away from agricultural crops and increase acceptance of elk while also benefitting bear, deer, moose, sharp-tailed grouse and sandhill cranes (also affects Marshall County); and provide funding for treatment of buckthorn infestations and to conduct prescribed burns on 200 acres in various WMAs (also affects Marshall and Roseau Counties).

Marshall County— Conduct prescribed fire and aspen girdling and removal operations on 2,895 acres of the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge where the lack of disturbance over more than 70 years has allowed aspen and willow to encroach on historically open grasslands and oak savannah habitat.

Missouri

Carter County—Use TFE funding for fire line construction, prescribed fire, woodland thinning, cedar removal, and creation and seeding of forage openings to improve 520 acres of habitat within the core area of Missouri’s elk herd (also affects Shannon and Reynolds Counties);

Nebraska

Dawes County—Provide TFE funding to replace three non-functioning wildlife water developments on the Pine Ridge Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest that were destroyed or heavily damaged by high intensity wildfires in 2006 and 2012.

Lincoln County—Provide TFE funding to mechanically thin up to 70 acres of Eastern Red Cedar to enhance the deciduous component and open the understory to increase browse forage for elk on the Wapiti WMA.

Scotts Bluff County—Use TFE funding to install a 1,000-gallon capacity wildlife water catchment on the Montz Point State WMA benefitting elk, bighorn sheep and mule deer.

Sheridan County—Provide TFE funding to install three water catchments and a well water system to replace structures damaged by a 2012 wildfire on the Metcalf WMA.

North Carolina

Haywood County—Provide TFE funding for a series of low intensity controlled burns over a number of years –affecting 2,200 acres this time around– to restore the composition and open structure of the oak and pine woodlands within the 4,000+ acre Canadian Top project area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the Cataloochee Valley; and create 22 acres of forage openings with mechanical manipulation in the Appalachian Ranger District on the Pisgah National Forest to restore 285 acres of quality elk habitat over the next 2-3 years in four phases.

Swain County—Use TFE funding to clear, mow, seed and fertilize 11 acres to maintain forage openings on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Reserve that have demonstrated to be an important stopping points for elk to rest and feed during seasonal migrations into and out of the neighboring Great Smoky Mountains National Park (also affects Jackson, Graham and Haywood Counties).

Oklahoma

Cherokee County—Provide TFE funding to maintain 10 miles of firebreaks and road access, prepping for future prescribed burns and renovate 60 acres of forage openings encroached by larger woody species in the Cherokee WMA; and use TFE funding to prepare five miles of fireguard for future burning by pushing timber 15 feet off 3.5 miles of road used for fireguard and creating 1.5 miles of new fire line in the Cookson WMA.

Leflore County—Use TFE funding to restore 11 miles of old roads and fire lines to increase burnable acres on the Wister WMA that hasn’t seen fire in more than 15 years (also affects Latimer County).

Pushmataha County—Provide TFE funding to burn 5,000 acres of forest and use brush control on an additional 480 acres to improve abundance and quality of year-round forage for elk in the Pushmataha WMA.

Pennsylvania

Cameron County—Continue 20+ years of work on the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Northcentral Region by applying appropriate treatments of herbicide, lime, seed and fertilizer to maintain 2,050 acres of existing herbaceous openings to enhance elk habitat (also affects Elk, Clearfield, Clinton and Centre Counties).

McKean County—Plant new clovers on 16 acres of reclaimed surface mines on State Game Lands #311 with high alkaline soil amendments to improve elk viewing and hunting opportunities.

Tennessee

Morgan County—Provide funding for a project to investigate the effectiveness of prescribed fire with and without selective herbicides in converting understory canopy to early succession and enhancing forage availability and quality for elk and other wildlife on 340 acres in the Cumberland Mountains (also affects Anderson and Scott Counties).

Campbell County—Brush hog, fertilize and drill seed 83 acres to provide high quality forage on soils that have been strip-mined for coal on the only elk viewing area in the state in the North Cumberland WMA; and provide TFE funding to create and enhance 42 acres of foraging habitat on Gunsight Mountain and in Bear Wallow Hollow of the North Cumberland WMA for Tennessee’s growing elk herd through mechanical clearing and seeding, reducing elk pressure on adjacent private lands.

Virginia

Wise County—Clear non-native invasive autumn olive and other woody shrub species from 28 acres of existing forest openings adjacent to the North Fork of Pound Reservoir on the Jefferson National Forest to improve forage conditions for elk coming over the ridge of Pine Mountain from Kentucky while also improving trail access to the Laurel Fork primitive campground, perhaps providing visitors with an opportunity to view elk and other wildlife.

Buchanan County—Provide TFE funding to create and enhance natural and man-made habitat on 160 acres in Virginia’s Elk Restoration Zone to encourage elk to use this designated area and provide the forage and water needed for the herd to grow to a sustainable population.

West Virginia

McDowell County—Provide TFE funding to clear and seed 10 acres, apply border edge cuts to 12 additional acres and create two water hole developments to improve forage conditions on the Panther WMA within West Virginia’s Elk Management Zone.

Wisconsin

Ashland County—Maintain spring and summer forage sites and accelerate restoration of aspen habitat on 318 acres on the Chequamegon National Forest within the Clam Lake Elk Range via mowing, hand clearing and prescribed fire.

Jackson County—Improve early successional grassland habitat by treating and then seeding 30 acres adjacent to potential release sites for the Black River elk reintroduction thus maintaining high quality habitat near the core of the Black River elk herd range.

Sawyer County—Enhance 450 acres through a variety of treatments including prescribed fire, mowing, fertilizing and planting on the Flambeau River State Forest, the Sawyer County Forest and Kimberly Clark Wildlife Area within the Clam Lake elk herd range (also affects Price County).

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.

Partners for the projects include state and federal agencies, tribal organizations, conservation groups, businesses, private landowners, universities and other organizations.

RMEF uses TFE funding solely to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

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