20090822_RockyMnt_processMISSOULA, Mont.—Wildlife conservation projects in 11 Montana counties have been selected to receive grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in 2010.

The new RMEF funding, totaling $221,725, will affect Beaverhead, Broadwater, Flathead, Lewis and Clark, Madison, Meagher, Missoula, Park, Powder River, Powell and Rosebud counties.

“These grants are possible because of the successful banquets and fundraisers staged over the past year by our Montana volunteers—most of whom are elk hunters as well as devoted conservationists,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Since 1984, our annual grants have helped complete 656 different projects in Montana with a combined value of more than $114 million.”

RMEF grants will help fund the following projects, listed by county:


Beaverhead County—
Clear encroaching conifer and noxious weeds from 300 acres of sagebrush parks and aspen stands used by wintering elk herds in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.

Broadwater County—Treat 917 acres of noxious weeds to restore native grasses and forage for elk and other wildlife in the Elkhorns Wildlife Management Area; reconstruct fencing to control livestock and protect riparian habitat in the North Crow area of Helena National Forest; treat 2,000 acres of noxious weeds in the North Elkhorns area.

Flathead County—Use herbicide to treat noxious weeds and improve elk and deer forage on 200 acres at Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge.

Lewis and Clark County—Enhance forage and transitional range for elk and mule deer by prescribe burning 650 acres, and thinning encroaching conifer on 350 acres, in the Alice Creek area of Helena National Forest.

Madison County—Treat up to 400 acres of noxious weeds to encourage native grasses and other vegetation used by foraging elk in the Madison Valley.

Meagher County—Restore aspen stands by thinning encroaching conifer on 131 acres, prescribe burning 159 acres, and installing 4.9 miles of fencing in the Sheep Creek area of Lewis and Clark National Forest.

Missoula County—Enhance native forage for elk by treating 160 acres of noxious weeds in the Boyer Ranch area.

Park County—Treat 300 acres of noxious weeds to improve native grasses and forage for elk in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area of Gallatin National Forest. This project is part of a long-term initiative to control weeds across the wilderness area including four counties in Wyoming (Carbon, Park, Stillwater and Sweetgrass counties).

Powder River County—Improve forage areas for elk and other wildlife by thinning 350 acres of encroaching conifer, and prescribe burning 1,500 acres of ponderosa pine stands, in Custer National Forest (also affects Rosebud County).

Powell County—Provide funding for a project that will allow the Seeley Lake Ranger District to take aggressive action against new infestations of noxious weeds, and treat weeds on 500 acres of elk habitat in 2010-11 at Lolo National Forest (also affects Missoula County); treat 1,146 acres of noxious weeds on BLM land in Marcum Mountain area; prescribe burn 700 acres of elk winter range on BLM lands.

Projects are selected for RMEF grants by a committee of volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering organizations.

Partners for 2010 projects in Montana include Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, other agencies, corporations and landowners.

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.