MISSOULA, Mont.—Twelve counties in Washington are slated for wildlife habitat conservation and public education projects using $199,651 in new grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
The 2009 RMEF grants will affect Asotin, Clallam, Cowlitz, Ferry, Grays Harbor, Kittitas, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Skamania, Stevens, Thurston and Yakima counties.
Additionally, a biological research project has statewide interest.
“Our volunteers across Washington 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 Washington conservation projects, listed by county:
Asotin County—Identify and treat new weed infestations to improve forage for elk and other wildlife; treat 425 acres of newly discovered invasive rangeland weed (whitetop); treat 240 acres of noxious weeds along Lower Grande Ronde River.
Clallam County—Use herbicides, lime, fertilizer and seed to improve 15 acres of elk forage near Bogachiel River.
Cowlitz County—Harrow, lime, re-seed and/or fertilize 145 acres to reinvigorate herbaceous vegetation and improve elk forage at Mount St. Helens.
Ferry County—Prescribe burn 1,022 acres of elk winter range to reclaim and maintain forage openings in Colville National Forest; enhance and expand Disabled Hunter Access program in Colville National Forest.
Grays Harbor County—Create forage openings in dense tree stands and seed to improve habitat for elk and other wildlife in Quinault River Valley.
Kittitas County—Assist with communication and education materials for Washington Department of Natural Resources’ Green Dot Access Management Program to enhance elk habitat in Naneum Ridge and Ahtanum State Forest (also affects Yakima County); prescribe burn 208 acres to reduce fuel loading, control weeds and improve elk habitat in Naneum Ridge State Forest.
Pend Oreille County—Treat 20 acres of noxious weeds with herbicides, and prescribe burn 300 additional acres, to improve elk range in Colville National Forest.
San Juan County—Sponsor youth conservation education camp in partnership with numerous other sponsors.
Skamania County—Thin overgrown forest on 891 acres to improve summer range for elk and other wildlife in Gifford Pinchot National Forest; restore native vegetation and improve winter forage on 1,150 acres in Mount St. Helens mudslide area where elk have been nutritionally stressed in recent years.
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.
Thurston County—Sponsored youth and family conservation programs in partnership with numerous other sponsors (also affects Stevens and Pend Oreille counties).
Yakima County—Improve elk cover and forage by thinning and prescribe burning 394 acres in Wenatchee National Forest.
Partners for 2009 projects in Washington include Bureau of Land Management, University of Montana, U.S. Forest Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Natural Resources, other agencies, corporations, landowners and organizations.
Since 1984, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed more than 402 conservation projects in Washington with a value of more than $96.8 million.
An additional $43,172 remains in the RMEF budget for additional Washington grants for 2009. Selected projects will be announced later this year.
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.