Monday, April 6, 2020

Washington’s Forests, Elk Habitat Get $880K Upgrade

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners awarded $880,232 of grant funding toward Washington wildlife habitat enhancement and scientific research. RMEF directly granted $306,741 and leveraged an additional $573,491 in partner funding.

“These funds will pay for a variety of treatments including forest thinning, meadow restoration, prescribed burning, noxious weed treatment, aspen restoration and planting nutritional forbs, all to benefit habitat for elk and many other species of wildlife,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

Sixteen projects benefit 6,378 acres of elk habitat across Asotin, Chelan, Clallam, Columbia, Garfield, King, Kittitas, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston and Yakima Counties.

There are 23 chapters and nearly 15,000 RMEF members in Washington.

“We greatly appreciate the passion and diligence of our volunteers,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “It’s due to their efforts of hosting banquets and other fundraising events that these dollars are generated and put back on the ground in their home state.”

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 693 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Washington with a combined value of more than $128.9 million. These projects protected or enhanced 493,523 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 129,732 acres.

Below is a sampling of Washington’s 2020 projects, listed by county.

Chelan County

·Provide funding for a study to monitor elk movement and habitat use in the upper Stemilt Basin including identifying migration corridors and calving areas. The data will assist wildlife managers to make decisions that protect and improve critical habitat including land exchanges, the location and timing of forest health treatments, and seasonal trail closures.

Clallam County

·Thin dense forests and implement planting and seeding across 325 acres in the Hood Canal Ranger District on the Olympic National Forest. The project improves forest health, facilitates animal movement and opens the forest floor to early seral forage growth while also treating invasive weeds.

Kittitas County

·Thin 1,029 acres of forestland on the Oak Creek Wildlife Area to promote high quality habitat for elk and other wildlife as well as increase forest health and resiliency to natural disturbances.

Go here to view a full list of Washington’s 2020 projects.

Project partners include the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, Colville, Gifford Pinchot, Okanogan-Wenatchee, Olympic and Umatilla National Forests; Bureau of Land Management, private landowners and various conservation, sportsmen and civic organizations.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 35 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.9 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at or 800-CALL ELK.