October 13, 2016
RMEF Funding Bolsters Montana Wildlife Habitat, Research
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $461,660 in grant funding to help carry out 37 habitat stewardship, research and hunting heritage projects across the state of Montana.
The 2016 funding directly benefits 14,560 acres in Beaverhead, Carbon, Flathead, Gallatin, Garfield, Judith Basin, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Madison, Mineral, Missoula, Petroleum, Powder River, Powell, Ravalli, Rosebud, Sanders, Silver Bow and Wheatland Counties. There are also five statewide projects and another that benefits southwestern Montana.
“Montana boasts some prime elk habitat but some areas are badly overgrown with vegetation that blocks the sun from reaching the forest floor thus limiting needed forage. Thinning, prescribed burning and aspen restoration projects will help reverse that,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We also awarded funding for an ongoing, multi-year brucellosis study and predator management research.”
RMEF volunteers in Montana raised the funds via banquets, membership drives and other events in order place money back on their ground in their home state.
Here is a sampling of the Montana projects, listed by county:
Madison County—Improve the health and vigor of aspen stands by removing encroaching conifer through a prescribed burn on 31 acres and cutting conifers from 165 acres in the Southern Gravelly Mountains on the Beaverhead National Forest.
Powder River County—Prescribed burn 1,908 acres of open ponderosa pine stands to improve forage for elk, deer, wild turkey and other wildlife on the Custer National Forest and private land (also benefits Rosebud County).
Sanders County—Apply prescribed burning and noxious weed treatments across 2,500 acres of winter, summer and transitional range north of Thompson Falls in the Cherry and Dry Creek drainages on the Lolo National Forest.
Statewide—Provide funding for a long-term brucellosis surveillance study designed to quantify any transmission risk between elk and livestock as well as determine the effectiveness of various management actions.
Go here for a full project listing.
Partners for the Montana projects include the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Bitterroot, Custer, Gallatin, Lewis and Clark, Lolo and Kootenai National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, private landowners, and various sportsmen, civic and other organizations.
Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 915 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Montana with a combined value of more than $155.8 million. These projects protected or enhanced 801,882 acres of habitat and have opened or secured public access to 284,297 acres.