MISSOULA, Mont.—Twelve counties in Colorado are slated for wildlife habitat conservation and public education projects using $205,497 in new grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
The 2009 RMEF grants will affect Boulder, Clear Creek, El Paso, Grand, Huerfano, La Plata, Mesa, Park, Rio Blanco, Routt, Saguache and San Miguel counties.
“Our volunteers across Colorado 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 Colorado conservation projects, listed by county:
Boulder County—Rehabilitate aspen stands and other elk habitat damaged by motorized vehicle abuse, install signs and fences in an area of Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest; sponsor 4-H shooting sports program in Longmont, Colo.
Clear Creek County—Prescribe burn 710 acres to enhance forage for elk at James M. Jones and Mount Evans state wildlife areas (also affects Park County).
El Paso County—Sponsor hunter safety program for 500 youth and military personnel in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Grand County—Remove six miles of unneeded fencing, one corral and 10 miles of decommissioned logging road to enhance elk migration routes in Routt National Forest.
Huerfano County—Minimize elk winter-range disturbance in a portion of San Isabel National Forest by installing six seasonal gates and signs to reduce motorized traffic.
La Plata County—Improve forage for elk and other wildlife by mowing and hand-thinning encroaching conifers on 128 acres in San Juan National Forest.
Mesa County—Mechanically thin and hand-clear 120 acres, then re-seed native grasses, to improve elk forage in Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests; participate and exhibit at 2nd Annual Colorado Outdoor Heritage Day for 900 youths in Palisade, Colo.
Rio Blanco County—Treat 300 acres of noxious weeds (primarily yellow toadflax) to improve forage quality for elk and other wildlife in Routt National Forest; treat 100 acres of weeds at White River National Forest.
Routt County—Prescribe burn and mechanically thin 1,090 acres to improve elk habitat in Routt National Forest.
Saguache County—Thin 450 acres of encroaching pinion and juniper in Rio Grande National Forest.
San Miguel County—Mechanically treat 1,000 acres to remove encroaching pinion and juniper from elk habitat on BLM land near Dolores, Colo.
Since 1984, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed more than 470 conservation projects in Colorado with a value of more than $111.2 million.
Partners for 2009 projects in Colorado include Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 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 5.5 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.