MISSOULA, Mont.—Eleven counties in Idaho are slated for wildlife and habitat conservation projects using $80,190 in new grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
The 2009 RMEF grants will affect Blaine, Boise, Bonneville, Camas, Custer, Clearwater, Elmore, Idaho, Lemhi, Teton and Valley counties.
Additionally, a biological research project has statewide interest.
“Our volunteers across Idaho helped drive the 2008 fundraisers that made these grants possible. This is where Elk Foundation banquets, auctions and other events transform into on-the-ground conservation work, and it’s part of the payday for supporters who are passionate about giving something back to the outdoors,” said David Allen, Elk Foundation president and CEO.
Elk Foundation grants will help fund the following Idaho conservation projects, listed by county:
- Boise County—Treat noxious weeds to improve summer range for elk in Boise National Forest and Sawtooth National Recreation Area (also affects Elmore and Blaine counties); prescribe burn 4,300 acres to rejuvenate understory forage in Boise National Forest; build data models that wildlife managers can use to predict wolf predation on elk populations across Idaho (also affects Valley and Clearwater counties).
- Bonneville County—Mechanically thin and prescribe burn overgrown forests to invigorate aspen and other forage for elk in Caribou-Targhee National Forest.
- Camas County—Thin 400 acres of encroaching conifer to restore aspen habitat and forage for elk, deer and other wildlife in the Sawtooth National Forest (also affects Blaine County).
- Clearwater County—Prescribe burn to improve elk forage in Clearwater National Forest (also affects Idaho County).
- Elmore County—Treat 140 acres of cheatgrass and other invasive vegetation to restore forage for elk and other wildlife in the Ditto Creek drainage; capture, fit with radio collars and monitor 12 elk to determine movement patterns in Danskin foothills area.
- Idaho County—Improve spring and summer range for the region’s elk herd by treating 300 acres of noxious weeds on lands protected by RMEF conservation easement.
- Lemhi County—Purchase grazing allotment for managing as forage reserve for wintering elk and other wildlife, as well as temporary emergency forage for wildfire-impacted livestock in Salmon-Challis National Forest; thin 500 acres of encroaching conifer to enhance aspen and other forage on public land in Upper Salmon River Basin (also affects Custer County).
- Statewide—Use data previously collected from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming to answer questions regarding roles of climate, wolf predation and habitat quality on elk calf recruitment.
- Teton County—Increase diversity of forage for elk and other wildlife using prescribed fire on 6,900 acres in Caribou-Targhee National Forest.
Since 1984, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed more than 354 conservation projects in Idaho with a value of more than $40.4 million.
Partners for 2009 projects in Idaho include Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Nez Perce Tribe, University of Montana, U.S. Forest Service, other agencies, corporations, landowners and organizations.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.7 million acres—a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.