MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation collaborated with nearly two dozen partners to provide $1,134,098 for 12 wildlife habitat, hunting heritage or wildlife management projects in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. RMEF contributed $82,248 in funding that leveraged an additional $1,051,850 in partner dollars.
“There are wild, free-ranging elk herds in 28 states including these five in the lower part of the Midwest,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer and Nebraska native. “This grant funding helps improve habitat for elk, deer and many other species of wildlife.”
There are 36 RMEF chapters and nearly 14,000 members across the five-state region.
“We greatly appreciate our volunteers in these states who generated this funding by hosting banquets, membership drives and other events. We simply could not carry out our mission without them,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.
Dating back to 1989, RMEF and its partners completed 539 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma with a combined value of more than $24.2 million. These projects protected or enhanced 285,335 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 16,751 acres.
Below is a list of each state’s 2020 projects, highlighted by state and county.
Arkansas – Newton County
- Provide funding to stabilize the bank along Cave Creek to prevent the loss of quality elk habitat on a portion of the Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area, previously purchased by RMEF and conveyed to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Arkansas – Statewide
- Provide funding for the Arkansas Youth Hunter Education Challenge, a program long-supported by RMEF that provides children ages 18 and under with an opportunity to improve and showcase hunting, marksmanship, safety and other outdoor skills in a competitive format.
Kansas – Clay, Geary & Riley Counties
- Improve annual forage plots across 784 acres for elk, deer and upland bird species while also reducing depredation of adjacent private agricultural fields. Sportsmen groups also use the same area on the Fort Riley Military Reservation for youth and veteran hunts.
Kansas – Ellis County
- Provide funding for the Hayes High School trap team to compete in the Kansas State High School Clay Target League, which offers an all-inclusive opportunity for participants to compete in a team atmosphere while learning about safety, marksmanship and other skills.
Kansas – Sedgwick County
- Provide funding for the Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School trap team to compete in the Kansas State High School Clay Target League. Nearly three dozen students in grades 9-12 participated in 2020.
Missouri – Andrew County
- Provide funding for the North Andrew School District’s National Archery in the Schools Program as part of its education curriculum. Participants in grades 4-12 learn about archery and take part in various competitions.
Missouri – Carter, Reynolds & Shannon Counties
- Seed 600 acres along the Ozark National Scenic Riverways to maintain high quality browse forage within the Missouri Elk Restoration Zone.
Missouri – Statewide
- Provide funding toward a reward for information leading to conviction in an elk poaching case.
- Provide funding for the Conservation Federation of Missouri, a non-profit organization that advocates for sportsmen and women to ensure Missouri’s wildlife, natural resources and hunting heritage.
Nebraska – Dawes, Sheridan & Sioux Counties
- Provide funding to remove old, high-tension electric fencing and modify existing barbed wire fencing by replacing the top wire with smooth cable. The adjustments provide enhanced visibility and safer movement for elk and deer.
Nebraska – Sioux County
- Provide $50,000 in funding for a 2,892-acre conservation easement in the Pine Ridge region of northwest Nebraska, an area offering prime habitat for elk, bighorn sheep and other wildlife in addition to important riparian habitat connected to numerous springs, a creek and the White River.
Oklahoma – Cherokee County
- Prescribe burn 3,200 acres on the Cherokee Wildlife Management Area to maintain quality forage by opening up the forest canopy and removing downed timber and forest floor debris. The treatment stimulates the growth of native grasses and forbs benefitting elk, deer, turkey, upland birds and other wildlife.
Project partners include the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Fort Riley Military Reservation, Missouri Department of Conservation, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Land Trust, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and conservation, sportsmen, landowners, civic and various other organizations.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 36 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 231,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 8.1 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 rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.