MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners awarded $1,129,112 in grant funding to support wildlife habitat enhancement, scientific research and hunting heritage efforts in Pennsylvania. RMEF directly granted $60,256 and leveraged an additional $1,068,856 in partner dollars.
“Pennsylvania is home to beautiful hardwood forests but they are negatively impacted in places by encroaching growth and even exotic insects. And that leads to poor habitat for elk and other wildlife,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This grant funding assists those issues as well as biologists seeking to gain a better scientific understanding of elk calf survival rates.”
Twelve projects benefit Bedford, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Dauphin, Elk, Erie, Lycoming, Mercer, Northumberland, Potter, Schuylkill and Sullivan Counties. An additional five projects are of statewide benefit.
There are 29 chapters and more than 14,000 RMEF members in Pennsylvania.
“We salute our dedicated volunteers in Pennsylvania,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Because of their efforts, this funding is available to improve elk habitat in their backyards and around the nation.”
Since 1991, RMEF and its partners completed 503 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Pennsylvania with a combined value of more than $27.4 million. These projects protected or enhanced 27,407 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 10,189 acres.
Below is a sampling of RMEF’s 2020 Pennsylvania projects, listed by county.
- Provide funding and volunteer manpower to remove buckthorn on State Game Lands 14. The invasive shrub spreads when the forest canopy is opened hampering efforts to create early successional habitat preferred by elk, deer and other wildlife.
- Provide funding to conduct a study assessing cow elk parturition timing and calf survival rates to better understand when calving and breeding occurs and the relationship to calf survival. Biologists capture and fit cow elk with GPS collar transmitters allowing for continuous monitoring of survival after birth and precise back-dating to determine conception date (also benefits Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk and Potter Counties).
- Provide funding to maintain 145 acres of existing herbaceous openings, convert another 15 acres of open canopy into herbaceous habitats and convert another 60 acres of mature aspen into early successional aspen habitat in the Susquehannock State Forest. Elk consistently select early successional open canopy and forest habitats that provide herbaceous forage.
Go here to view a full list of all 17 projects.
Project partners include the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and various conservation, sportsmen and other organizations.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 36 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.9 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.