20090822_RockyMnt_processMISSOULA, Mont.—Wildlife conservation projects in 12 Oregon counties have been selected to receive grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in 2010.

The new RMEF funding, totaling $153,500, will affect Benton, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Union and Wallowa counties.

“These grants are possible because of the successful banquets and fundraisers staged over the past year by our Oregon 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 633 different projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $36 million.”

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

Crook County—Thin 575 acres of juniper encroachment in meadows and aspen stands, treat noxious weeds on 160 acres, and restore riparian habitat along 2 miles of stream in the Deep Creek area of Ochoco National Forest; hand-cut and burn 400 acres of encroaching juniper in the Maury Mountains area of Ochoco National Forest.

Curry County—Prescribe burn 129 acres, and re-seed native grasses on 20 acres, to maintain forage areas for elk and other wildlife in the Wildhorse Prairie area of Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Deschutes County—Thin conifer from willow and aspen stands, prescribe burn 15 acres and treat noxious weeds on 5 acres in Tumalo Creek area of Deschutes National Forest.

Douglas County—Create 20 acres of forage openings and plant shrubs on 93 acres to improve 113 acres of habitat for elk in the Umpqua National Forest.

Grant County—Rehab 100 acres of meadow habitat used by foraging elk and deer in the Rudio Mountain area; thin encroaching conifer to restore 150 acres of meadow in the Logan Valley area of Malheur National Forest; remove juniper to promote sagebrush and bitterbrush growth on 1,235 acres in the Murderer’s Creek area of Malheur National Forest and state lands; re-seed native grasses on 880 acres in the Chrome Ridge area; thin 270 acres, construct fencing around 2 acres of aspen stands, treat noxious weeds and reconstruct two springs in Ochoco National Forest.

Harney County—Enhance habitat for elk and other wildlife by repairing wildlife drinking stations, collecting native shrub seeds, reseeding habitat areas and employing livestock practices to control noxious weeds in the Egley wildfire area of Malheur National Forest; thin encroaching conifer on 160 acres, replace fencing around aspen stands and develop five ponds or wildlife drinking stations in the Pine Creek area of Malheur National Forest.

Lane County—Improve forage for elk by removing encroaching conifer and noxious weeds to restore 283 acres of meadows in Willamette National Forest; treat noxious weeds and re-seed native grasses on 100 acres, and rejuvenate browse on 102 acres, in the Foley Ridge area of Willamette National Forest; thin and prescribe burn 112 acres and re-seed native grasses in the Chucksney and Grasshopper meadows area of Willamette National Forest; prescribe burn 56 acres, plant oak seedlings on 40 acres, and re-seed native grasses on 200 acres in the Jim’s Creek area of Willamette National Forest; mechanically treat noxious weeds and re-seed native grasses on 500 acres in the Siuslaw National Forest (also affects Benton, Douglas and Lincoln counties).

Linn County—Remove encroaching trees from meadow complexes used year-round by foraging elk in the Lodgepole Flats area of Willamette National Forest; create 40 acres of forage openings in the Yellowstone Creek area of BLM lands.

Union County—Control noxious weeds, re-seed native grasses and develop water sources for elk and other wildlife on 705 acres near Ladd Marsh Wildlife Management Area.

Wallowa County—Treat 828 acres of noxious weeds to improve forage for elk along the Grande Ronde and Imnaha river corridors (also affects Union County).

Projects are selected for RMEF grants by a committee of volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering organizations. Partners for 2010 projects in Oregon include Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Agriculture, 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.