Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Montana Receives $2 Million to Benefit Wildlife Habitat, Research

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners awarded Montana $2,197,843 in grant funding for wildlife habitat improvement, elk-related research and hunting heritage projects. RMEF directly granted $496,930 and leveraged an additional $1,700,013 in partner dollars.

“This significant amount of funding allows so much quality on-the-ground habitat work to take place all across Montana including active forest management, noxious weed treatment, aspen and watershed restoration, beneficial burns and much more,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We are grateful for the active support of our partners in joining us to make such a difference for elk and other wildlife.”

Twenty-eight projects benefit 32,763 acres of habitat across Beaverhead, Broadwater, Deer Lodge, Flathead, Granite, Jefferson, Lincoln, Madison, Mineral, Missoula, Park, Petroleum, Powder River, Powell, Ravalli, Rosebud and Silver Bow Counties. There is also one project of statewide benefit.

“We salute our RMEF volunteers for their hard work and dedication,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “They generated this funding by hosting various events across Montana and elk and other species will benefit because of them.”

Montana is home to nearly 14,000 RMEF members and 20 chapters.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 1,120 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Montana, with a combined value of more than $200.8 million. These projects protected or enhanced 881,941 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 347,180 acres.

Here are a few examples of the Montana projects, listed by county:

Beaverhead County

·Aspen growth declined more than 80 percent over the last century on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest so as part of a large-scale restoration project, crews will remove encroaching conifers within 451 acres of aspen stands in the Madison and Wisdom Ranger Districts. Additionally, crews will burn slash piles across 85 more acres.

Missoula County

·Burn 1,000 acres in the Ninemile Ranger District of the Lolo National Forest to restore habitat for elk, deer, moose, turkey, upland birds and other wildlife as well as to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Park County

·Provide funding for an ongoing study to evaluate the prevalence of brucellosis exposure in elk populations, document elk movement overlapping with livestock and evaluate the effects of brucellosis management actions such as hazing and lethal removal (also benefits Madison County).

Go here to see the list of all 29 projects.

Project partners include the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Bitterroot, Custer Gallatin, Flathead, Kootenai and Lolo National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, private landowners as well as other conservation and sportsmen groups and organizations.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 36 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™” or 800-CALL ELK.