Thursday, October 27, 2016

RMEF Funding Bolsters Montana Wildlife Habitat, Research

Below is a listing of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2016 grants for the state of Montana. Find more information here.

Beaverhead County—Remove encroaching conifers and apply prescribed burning on 687 acres to enhance sagebrush and aspen stands within summer, transition and calving grounds for elk and other wildlife in the Cherry Creek, Canyon Creek and Trapper Creek drainages on the Beaverhead National Forest.

Carbon County—Provide funding to purchase equipment for the Carbon County 4-H Archery Club to assist with the development of an archery range.

Gallatin County—Use mechanical thinning and prescribed burning on 1,450 acres on the Gallatin National Forest to benefit high quality elk winter range and calving grounds.

Garfield County—Thin 455 acres of ponderosa pine to restore natural vegetation production on elk range while maintaining cover for elk and other wildlife as part of a landscape-level habitat restoration project on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the Musselshell Breaks. 

Flathead County—Apply noxious weed treatment along 153 miles of roads within intermingled Weyerhaeuser Timber and state lands to increase vigor and density of big game winter browse species on winter range habitat that supports high numbers of elk and whitetail deer; and provide funding for an elk education trunk for Kila School to instill students with a deeper passion about elk, habitat, hunting and conservation.

Judith Basin County—Thin ponderosa pine and Douglas fir stands followed by a prescribed burn on 108 acres in the Blacktail Hills on the Lewis and Clark National Forest to decrease the risk of catastrophic wildlife and improve the quality and quantity of forage for elk in the spring and winter.

Lewis and Clark County—Apply a combination of forest thinning and prescribed burning on 349 acres of important big game winter range on the Sun River Wildlife Management Area to improve forage, aspen stand productivity and minimize the threat of wildfires.

Lincoln County—Apply noxious weed treatments along 239 miles of roads and adjacent acreage on intermingled Weyerhaeuser Timber, state and Kootenai National Forest lands to support big game winter range; and apply noxious weed treatment to 150 acres and prescribed burning to 313 acres in the north end of the Tobacco Valley on the Kootenai National Forest to restore historical conditions in an important range where as many as 1,000 elk spend the winter.

Madison County—Improve the health and vigor of aspen stands by removing encroaching conifer through a prescribed burn on 31 acres and cutting conifers from 165 acres in the Southern Gravelly Mountains on the Beaverhead National Forest; apply noxious weed treatment on 120 acres in the Ruby and Wall Creek drainages on critical winter range for elk, deer, moose, pronghorn and other wildlife on the Beaverhead National Forest and Wall Creek Wildlife Management Area; and provide funding to support two Jack Creek Preserve Foundation youth camps where boys and girls age 12-18 learn about archery, hunting ethics and behavior, conservation, wildlife habitat, dressing game and other skills.

Mineral County—Prescribe burn 770 acres to stimulate new growth of shrubs and grasses and reduce encroachment to benefit elk habitat in the Boyd Mountain area within the Superior Ranger District on the Lolo National Forest. 

Missoula County—Apply noxious weed treatment to 60 acres on Sawmill Gulch and Strawberry Ridge to improve wildlife habitat on the Lolo National Forest and private lands; treat 530 acres of the Missoula Ranger District on the Lolo National Forest to restore native grass and improve forage conditions on elk and mule deer winter ranges that also support bighorn sheep in the summer; provide funding for the Bonner Outdoorsfest which offers families an opportunity to learn about wildlife, firearm safety, air rifle shooting and 3D archery and other outdoor skills; and provide volunteer manpower and funding to host two wounded veteran cow elk hunts (also benefits Ravalli County).

Petroleum County—Apply thinning and prescribed burning treatment on 1,476 acres near Crooked Creek on BLM-managed land to reduce the risk of high severity wildfires and improve forage and habitat for elk, mule deer, antelope, wild turkey and livestock.

Powder River County—Prescribe burn 1,908 acres of open ponderosa pine stands to improve forage for elk, deer, wild turkey and other wildlife on the Custer National Forest and private land (also benefits Rosebud County); and apply prescribed burning to 620 acres of BLM land to return dense ponderosa pine stands to historical conditions and increase forage on yearlong elk habitat also used by mule deer, wild turkey and other species.

Powell County—Remove encroaching conifers in 10 to 15 acres of a 100-acre aspen stand and treat 200 acres for noxious weeds on summer and elk calving range on the Blackfoot Community Conservation Area near Ovando; and provide funding to renovate the Camp Mak-A-Dream archery range and shooting shelter which serves approximately 550 children, young adults and family members affected by cancer each year. 

Ravalli County—Provide funding for a study evaluating whether changes in wolf and mountain lion harvest management have affected calf elk survival and rates of wolf and mountain lion predation on the Bitterroot National Forest; and provide funding for the Youth Conservation and Education Expo which engages youth age 6-16 in interactive demonstrations and activities including paintball, BB gun shooting, archery, wildlife conservation and other activities.

Sanders County—Apply prescribed burning and noxious weed treatments across 2,500 acres of winter, summer and transitional range north of Thompson Falls in the Cherry and Dry Creek drainages on the Lolo National Forest; and prescribe burn 136 acres to improve big game winter range forage production without having the fire damage the larger ponderosa pine trees on the Lolo National Forest.

Silver Bow County—Remove encroaching conifers from aspen stands and sagebrush habitat across 304 acres and apply under-burning on 146 acres to decrease the risk of catastrophic wildfire, improve forage and rejuvenate grass on spring and summer range at the headwaters of Blacktail Creek on the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest; thin encroaching conifers from 590 acres of sagebrush range in the Jerry and Johnson Creek areas in the Big Hole Valley on BLM lands to enhance habitat and improve overall forest health; and provide volunteer manpower and Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding to replace old fencing with wildlife-friendly fencing on private land to assist elk passage and migration.

Wheatland County—Apply prescribed burning to 1,200 acres on the Lewis and Clark National Forest to reduce encroaching conifers and fuels accumulated in bug-killed coniferous stands to increase forage and maintain cover for elk, mule deer and other wildlife on year-round range.

Southwestern Montana—Provide funding to support the Southwest Montana Bear Safety Education Working Group pilot project which provides outreach to help residents and recreationists coexist with the expanding grizzly population.

Statewide—Provide funding for a long-term brucellosis surveillance study designed to quantify any transmission risk between elk and livestock as well as determine the effectiveness of various management actions; provide sponsorship funding for the Be Bear Aware Campaign which hosts more than 90 safety events across western Montana, northern Idaho and eastern Washington; provide TFE funding to purchase and donate 1,447 orange hunter safety vests to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks for its hunter education program; provide TFE funding to One Montana's advanced hunter education course which is designed to promote better hunter behavior and a broader skill base for those ages 15 and up; and provide funding in support of Montanans for Wildlife and Public Land Access in its fight against an anti-trapping ballot initiative.

RMEF uses TFE funding solely to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

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