April 3, 2013
RMEF, Colorado Landowners Conserve 2,520 Acres of Prime Elk Habitat
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed up with conservation-minded landowners and several other partners to conserve 2,520 acres of key habitat and migratory corridors in southwestern Colorado.
“We appreciate working with a family like the Schirard brothers, who recognize the importance of maintaining quality habitat for elk and other wildlife species such as mule deer, black bear, mountain lion and turkey,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “This action by Jack, Duke and Brantley, honoring their father, John, with a conservation easement speaks volumes about the Schirards, their respect for their father, and their dedication to conservation.”
The acreage is located in La Plata County and will now be referred to as the John R. Schirard Conservation Project—Alkali Gulch. Funding for the project came via Great Outdoors Colorado, a conservation initiative using lottery dollars to fund wildlife, parks, rivers, trails and open space projects throughout the state, acting through the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife (CPW). It is in a portion of the state CPW targeted as high priority for habitat acquisition.
“This is a wonderful example of landowners who truly are conservation-minded and who are willing to look beyond their own ownership interests to protect beautiful and valuable habitat forever for the benefit of the people of Colorado,” said Jay Cooper, CPW real estate specialist. “The Schirard brothers have been long-time supporters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and CPW is looking forward to partnering with the Elk Foundation to protect habitat in the future.”
“This conservation easement will provide protection from development and conserve existing big game migration patterns through the property,” added Henning.
In addition to a small resident elk herd, the property is also home to falcons, eagles, cranes and various song birds. It is primarily covered by pinyon-juniper shrubs and includes gamble oak, sagebrush ponderosa pine and riparian habitat.