Elk NetworkWest Virginia Too Soggy for Elk Habitat Work

Conservation | April 9, 2020

Mother Nature just won’t give West Virginia elk country a break. For the third consecutive year, overly wet conditions prohibited crews from applying beneficial prescribed fire treatment to elk range. Such planned burns remove invasive vegetation and rejuvenate the soil, spawning the growth of elk-friendly forage.

“We were prepared, but we didn’t get the conditions we needed,” Randy Kelley, elk project leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, told the Herald-Dispatch. “We need at least five days without rain, and we haven’t gotten that. Also, the relative humidity has to be in the right range. If it’s too low, will be too dry and it will be difficult to control the fire. If it’s too high, the fire won’t burn at the speed we want it to.”

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation assisted with the successful restoration of wild, free-ranging elk onto their historic West Virginia range in 2016 as well as several later efforts. RMEF also provided funding to enhance elk habitat.

(Photo source: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources)