Minnesota is taking steps toward a possible expansion of the elk range within its borders, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently endorsed such a move.
“We support elk expansion in places where they’re wanted. We are involved in the research on this project to do the habitat suitability work and also the public support suitability work,” Ryan Bronson, RMEF director of government affairs, testified (go to 4:45 mark) before the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources and Policy Committee. “We think this is a worthy project and we support it.”
A bill would allocate $4 million for a grant to the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to move elk from existing herds in northwestern Minnesota to the northeast part of the state. In doing so, the tribe would work with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to develop capture, disease management and other actions. It previously collaborated with RMEF and University of Minnesota researchers to conduct feasibility studies that showed general public support and sufficient habitat.
Dating back to 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 235 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Minnesota with a combined value of more than $5.5 million. These projects conserved and enhanced 80,779 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 943 acres.
(Photo credit: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)