Elk NetworkPartner Recognition: Idaho Department of Fish & Game

40th Anniversary , General | May 9, 2024

(Left to right: RMEF President & CEO Kyle Weaver, Idaho Fish & Game State Wildlife Manager Rick Ward & RMEF Chief Conservation Officer Blake Henning)

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recognized two long-time conservation partners at its 40th Anniversary Celebration.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) was established by Idaho’s fifth state legislature in 1899, nine years after the territory was admitted as the 43rd state to the Union. It established licenses and fees, built fish hatcheries, transplanted elk from Yellowstone Park (1915), began conducting big game surveys and grew its staff to help govern wildlife management as we know it today.

The IDFG-RMEF partnership dates to 1985, one year after RMEF’s founding, when the two teamed up for an elk relocation project to the Bannock Unit.

RMEF-IDFG Cumulative Project History

  • 263 projects
  • 277,806 acres enhanced
  • 21,287 acres conserved
  • 22,987 acres of improved public access
  • $19.8 million in conservation value

RMEF recognized Idaho Fish and Game for its contributions at its celebration. Below are the words of Rick Ward, IDFG’s Idaho State Wildlife Manager.

I am honored and humbled to be here. Stages are not my favorite place in the world so I will be brief but one thing I learned in my career is conservation is a team sport. I think RMEF exemplifies that.

I did a little bit of research looking back at some of the projects that RMEF helped Idaho Fish and Game accomplish over the last 40 years. The list is long, very long. The conservation accomplishments are significant. Everything from movement migration to habitat restoration and public access. Again, thank you very much. I’m honored to be here and let’s go another 40 years. Thank you.