Elk Network$400K in RMEF Grants Spice Up Idaho Elk Country

Conservation , News Releases | December 4, 2018

December 4, 2018

$400K in RMEF Grants Spice Up Idaho Elk Country

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $396,140 in grant funding for habitat stewardship work, research and hunting heritage projects in Idaho.

“There is a substantial need for scientific data to get a better handle on struggling elk populations in parts of Idaho,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This grant funding also assists wolf management and supports thinning, noxious weed control, prescribed burning and other projects designed to enhance habitat and improve forest management across the state.”

Idaho is home to more than 8,600 RMEF members and 16 chapters.

“Thanks to the time and effort put forth by our volunteers who work diligently to raise these funds, we can put this money back on the ground to assist elk and elk habitat for years to come,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.

Twenty-three projects positively affect more than 11,600 acres of wildlife habitat across Ada, Bear Lake, Bonner, Boundary, Camas, Cassia, Clark, Clearwater, Custer, Franklin, Fremont, Idaho, Kootenai, Latah, Lemhi, Lincoln, Shoshone, Twin Falls and Washington Counties. There are also six projects of statewide benefit.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 553 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $67.3 million. These projects protected or enhanced 487,193 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 24,817 acres.

Here is a sampling of the 2018 projects, listed by county:

Ada County

  • Rehab 1,779 acres of crucial winter range for elk and mule deer that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and was damaged in the MM14 Wildfire of 2016. The project focuses on hand-planting 125,000 antelope bitterbrush seedlings.

Fremont County

  • Thin 222 acres of overly dense lodgepole pine and Douglas-fir to protect important wildlife habitat, promote aspen regeneration and expansion, and improve overall forest health. The BLM-managed land lies within the Shotgun Valley and surrounding areas and was previously subjected to an epidemic level of mountain pine beetle infestation.

Clearwater County 

  • Provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding for ongoing scientific research that monitors elk responses to landscape restoration in the Clearwater Basin of north-central Idaho. Elk populations in the region drastically declined over the last three decades due to the loss of early seral habitat, increased human pressure, and later, the reintroduction of wolves (also benefits Idaho County).

Idaho project partners include the Caribou-Targhee, Idaho Panhandle, Payette, Salmon-Challis and Sawtooth National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Fish and Game Department, and sportsmen, government, civic, schools and other organizations.

TFE funds are used solely to further RMEF’s core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.