Elk NetworkRMEF Grants Benefit Utah Wildlife Habitat, Research Projects

News Releases | May 6, 2016

May 6, 2016

RMEF Grants Benefit Utah Wildlife
Habitat, Research

MISSOULA, Mont.—Grant funding provided in 2015 by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation totaling $221,500 will assist with 56 wildlife habitat and research projects across the state of Utah.

The grants will directly benefit 66,705 acres in Beaver, Box Elder, Cache, Carbon, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Juab, Kane, Millard, Piute, Rich, Salt Lake, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Summit, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch and Wayne counties. There are also six projects of statewide benefit.

“Encroaching pinion and juniper conifers continue to crowd out native grasses, forbs and shrubs relied upon by elk, deer and other wildlife,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “We also provided funding for studies to benefit elk, mule deer, sage grouse and other species.”

RMEF volunteers and members in Utah generated the funding through banquets, membership drives and other events, which is placed on the ground to benefit conservation and hunting heritage in their home state.

Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 498 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Utah with a combined value of more than $61 million. These projects protected or enhanced 1,047,088 acres of habitat and have opened or secured public access to 27,192 acres.

Here is a sampling of the Utah projects, listed by county:

Iron County— Remove pinyon and juniper from 7,000 acres of sagebrush community on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managed lands in crucial habitat beneficial for elk, deer, sage grouse and other wildlife.

Piute County—Enhance 700 acres of deer and elk transition-winter range and prevent the spread of pinyon-juniper into the Hell's Hole Greater Sage Grouse Area by applying prescribed fire on 700 acres of aspen/mixed conifer/mountain brush communities on the Fishlake National Forest.

Sanpete County—Use prescribed fire as well as hand, chainsaw and mechanical treatments to remove encroaching confers on 264 acres of habitat as part of a 6,100-acre reduction treatment project area on the Manti National Forest (also affects Emery County).

Statewide—Provide funding for GPS radio collars to be placed on elk in central Utah to better understand the movements of elk and better facilitate management decisions; and provide funding from the Torstenson Family Endowment to donate 1,500 RMEF youth membership knives to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for its hunter education classes.

Go here for a full listing of the projects.

Partners for the Utah projects include the Dixie, Fishlake, Manti and Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah Department of Natural Resources, private landowners, and various sportsmen, civic and other organizations.