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MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, an international conservation group focused on habitat protection and enhancement, has announced its 2008 first-round project grants for Colorado.

Sixteen conservation grants totaling $182,647 have been awarded. Another $43,449 is available for allocation in second-round grants to be announced later this year.

Grants will affect Clear Creek, Dolores, Grand, Jackson, Las Animas, Mesa, Montrose, Park and Rio Blanco counties. An additional project has statewide interest.

“This is all about ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat in Colorado,” said David Allen, Elk Foundation president and CEO. “Grants are based on revenues from Elk Foundation fundraising banquets in Colorado, as well as worthy project proposals.”

Elk Foundation grants will help fund the following Colorado conservation projects, listed by county:

Clear Creek County—Prescribe burn 200 acres to improve forage for elk and other wildlife in Mount Evans Wildlife Management Area and James M. Jones Wildlife Management Area (also affects Park County).

Dolores County—Thin 1,000 acres of encroaching pinion and juniper to rejuvenate sagebrush and improve elk habitat in the Disappointment Valley area on BLM lands.

Grand County—Prescribe burn 500 acres to enhance grasses, forbs, shrubs and aspens for elk in Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest.

Jackson County—Develop watering area for livestock and wildlife, and replace 3 miles of fencing to improve livestock distribution, to enhance forage for elk in Johnny Moore Mountain and Elk Mountain areas.

Las Animas County—Treat non-native vegetation, prescribe burn to promote native forage, and plant cottonwoods to enhance 271 acres of habitat for elk in Comanche National Grassland; treat 250 acres of noxious weeds to improve biodiversity on elk winter range.

Mesa County—Thin encroaching juniper and oak brush, and re-seed native grasses, on 125 acres of elk habitat in Grand Mesa National Forest; invigorate sagebrush habitat by treating encroaching juniper and seeding up to 1,000 acres on BLM lands in Grand Junction area.

Montrose County—Improve forage on elk winter range by treating and seeding 800 acres in Uncompahgre National Forest; treat noxious weeds and re-seed native grasses to enhance forage on 430 acres in Uncompahgre National Forest.

Rio Blanco County—Treat 60 acres of noxious weeds to improve forage for elk and other wildlife in Flat Tops Wilderness Area; remove 2.25 miles of wire fencing from elk migration corridors and calving grounds in Routt National Forest.

Statewide (all counties were applicable)—Provide fiscal support for Colorado Division of Wildlife emergency feeding of elk, antelope and deer.

Since 1984, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed more than 435 conservation projects in Colorado with a value of more than $101 million. Partners for 2008 projects in Colorado include Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Division of Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, other agencies, landowners and organizations.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Missoula, Mont., the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. The Elk Foundation and its partners have permanently protected or enhanced over 5.2 million acres, a land area larger than Connecticut, Delaware and District of Columbia combined. More than 500,000 acres previously closed to public access are now open for hunting, fishing and other recreation. To help protect wild elk country or learn more about the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, visit www.elkfoundation.org or call 800-CALL-ELK.