MISSOULA, Mont.—Oregon’s elk habitat is better today, thanks to Jeff Bohler of the Diamond Lake Ranger District in the Umpqua National Forest.
Bohler, a district wildlife biologist, has been honored with an Elk Country Award from the USDA Forest Service and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The award, a bronze elk sculpture, was presented during the Elk Foundation’s annual convention, which concluded Feb. 24 in Reno, Nev.
The award recognizes Bohler for his hard work and leadership in enhancing forage conditions for elk and other wildlife in Douglas County. Since 2001, Diamond Lake Ranger District has completed prescribed burning, forage seeding, fertilizing, forest thinning and mowing projects across more than 2,500 acres of public land. Most of this work has occurred within priority winter range for elk.
Tom Toman of the Elk Foundation explained, “Over time, timber harvest practices have changed in the western Cascades. Forage for elk was rapidly declining and nutritional values were low. Conifers and chaparral were overtaking meadows. Elk herds fell to record-low numbers. Elk were going into winter with low fat levels due to declining habitat, and infant mortality and spontaneous abortion of elk was increasing.”
Bohler developed partnerships and projects to get habitat enhancement projects moving.
“Jeff spent many hours of his own time attending evening meetings with a variety of conservation groups and working weekends side-by-side with Elk Foundation volunteers cutting brush, seeding forage, pulling weeds. He literally walks the talk. The future is bright for wildlife habitat on Diamond Lake Ranger District,” said Toman.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Missoula, Mont., the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. The Elk Foundation and its partners have permanently protected or enhanced over 5.2 million acres, a land area larger than Connecticut, Delaware and District of Columbia combined. More than 500,000 acres previously closed to public access are now open for hunting, fishing and other recreation. The Elk Foundation has more than 150,000 members, a staff of 150 and 10,000 active volunteers. To help protect wild elk country or learn more about the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, visit www.elkfoundation.org or call 800-CALL-ELK.