RMEF is off to a great start in 2017!
The new Elk Network was launched. It is a new generation of media providing members and the public with a vast array of content related to elk, elk hunting and elk country. The Elk Network saw over 100,000 unique visitors in the first three weeks. You can visit the Elk Network at www.elknetwork.com.
Twenty eight elk from Kentucky were unloaded into the holding facility at Flambeau River State Forest in North Central Wisconsin to augment the Clam Lake Herd. They will he held for 75 days to complete the disease testing requirements before their release to the wild. This is the third of four planned elk translocations from KY to WI.
RMEF protected 3,820 acres of land and improved or secured access to 23,657 acres in 6 states including one phase in North Carolina’s Maggie Valley. Additionally, two long-standing California land holdings were conveyed to the Bureau of Land Management improving access and management in the Cache Creek area of California’s Tule elk range. In Oregon, RMEF purchased the largest private inholding remaining in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest securing trail access and contiguous management on public lands outside of Joseph, OR.
PAC & State Grants - Thirty-seven projects treating 6,974 acres of habitat have been completed this year. Seven states held PAC meetings (WA, OR, MT, WY, CO, ID, PA) allocating $1,457,547 towards 104 habitat projects which could treat an estimated 91,473 acres. Seventy hunting heritage grants have been completed so far this year. In addition, the State Grant Program has awarded 35 new grants for $26,791 to support hunting heritage and conservation education programs as well as RMEF mission marketing.
National Convention 2017 wrapped up with very positive feedback about the new format and moving the event east to Nashville. During National Convention, staff organized and conducted two panel discussions, one on eastern elk restoration and the other on the sagebrush steppe ecosystem. Partners from three federal agencies and four state agencies participated. Over 80 Convention attendees were in the audience. The Habitat Council meeting had well over 125 individuals in attendance. Combined with great feedback, new venue, more content, and closing the event $225k favorable to budget, we are very happy with how the new format turned out. Staff has already begun working on National Convention 2018 in Arizona.
RMEF was engaged on the federal level encouraging the Presidential transition team to nominate Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior and encouraging the Secretary and the U.S. Senate to appoint Wyoming Game and Fish Director Scott Talbott as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. RMEF also sent letters to key Senate and House members in support of legislation to delist wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes states; supported legislation to overturn the federal rule on predator management for Alaska national wildlife refuges; worked with key Senators on legislation to overturn court decisions requiring onerous Endangered Species Act consultation on land management projects; and worked with other sportsmen groups to convince Congress to withdraw legislation to sell over 3 million acres of federal public land.
RMEF remained engaged on the state level by joining a litigation effort in California to overturn the Fish and Game Commission’s decision to list gray wolves as endangered; working with the Governor of Colorado to address problems with the state’s conservation easement appraisal process; opposing legislative efforts in Idaho, Montana and Washington to restrict public land acquisitions; opposing gun control legislation in New Mexico; opposing anti-trapping and anti-predator control measures in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Oregon; supporting right-to-hunt, hunter mentoring, predator control and raffle ticket legislation in Montana; helping create a legislative sportsmen’s caucus in Montana; improving elk hoof rot disease legislation in Washington and supporting increased funding for Washington’s wildlife habitat program.
Through March, Net from Operations is $.9 million favorable to budget and overall net revenue is $3.8 million favorable to budget. RMEF has a very healthy balance sheet with $91 million in assets and only $8.9 million of liabilities. An updated forecast will be provided to the Finance Committee in May.
Staff continues to implement the five year Development Plan. A new Development Officer was hired at the beginning of the year and RMEF began recruitment for the position of Prospect Research Analyst in March. Testing on upgrades to RMEF’s donor management database continued with the anticipation of being implemented in the second quarter. RMEF conducted multiple development events in the first quarter, including a stewardship event in conjunction with the NASCAR Hall of Fame. In addition to this, RMEF held a total of six Habitat Partner Receptions and finalized plans for the 3 Step Up events to be held later in 2017. The registration for the Summer Habitat Council Meeting and Retreat in Seattle, WA closes in April.