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MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, an international conservation organization focused on elk habitat and restoration, has announced its first-round grants for 2008 projects in Wisconsin.

Six grants, totaling $44,160, have been awarded. Grants affect Ashland, Bayfield, Jackson, Price and Sawyer counties.

Another $50,933 is available for allocation in second-round conservation grants, plus $31,698 for education projects, to be announced later this year.

“This is all about ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat in Wisconsin,” said David Allen, Elk Foundation president and CEO. “Grants are based on revenues from Elk Foundation fundraising banquets in Wisconsin, as well as worthy project proposals.”

First-round Elk Foundation grants will help fund the following Wisconsin conservation projects, listed by county:

Ashland County—Monitor growth, distribution and health of the 165-animal Clam Lake elk herd using radio telemetry equipment (also affects Bayfield, Price and Sawyer counties); continue monitoring habitat use and movement of Butternut elk group using high-school students with radio telemetry equipment (also affects Price and Sawyer counties); create two-acre forest openings to improve forage for elk and other wildlife; treat 60 acres by thinning, mowing and prescribe burning to improve habitat in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (also affects Sawyer and Bayfield counties).

Jackson County—Pending approval from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, establish a second elk herd in Wisconsin by relocating 25-30 elk from Elk Island National Park in Canada to Clam Lake area.

Sawyer County—Pending approval from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, augment genetic diversity of Wisconsin’s existing elk herd by relocating 25-30 wild elk from other herds (also affects Bayfield, Ashland and Price counties).

Since 1984, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed more than 118 conservation projects in Wisconsin with a value of nearly $5 million. Partners for 2008 projects in Wisconsin include the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, schools, landowners and organizations.

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. To help protect wild elk country or learn more about the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, visit www.elkfoundation.org or call 800-CALL-ELK.