RMEF Allocates $3.5 Million for Habitat Stewardship, Hunting Heritage

MISSOULA, Mont.—In addition to work in permanent land protection, public access and elk restoration, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation allocated more than $3.5 million so far in 2014 for habitat stewardship and hunting heritage projects across the United States.

The total includes more than $3.1 million specifically directed for elk habitat, research, elk restoration and wildlife-related conservation projects in 27 states with wild, free-ranging elk populations. Additional funding is allotted for hunting heritage programs in 49 states. 

Banquet-based membership and fundraising activities by local RMEF chapters generated the funding that state volunteers and staff will direct into various on-the-ground projects and programs. 

“What can you say about our volunteers who number more than 10,000 strong?” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “It’s thanks to their hard work, passion and dedication that we have this funding to turn around and put back on the ground in their own backyards which will enhance the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.” 

“This allocation of funds has and will fund Project Advisory Committee projects, state grants, and a portion of the Virginia and Missouri elk restoration projects,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “Individual states also designated some of the funds to our national programs and initiatives.” 

Habitat projects are selected for RMEF grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities from their respective states. Project examples include prescribed burning, forest thinning and management, noxious weed treatments, water improvements and other habitat enhancement work carried out mostly on public lands. Also included are research projects to better understand and improve management of elk, habitat, predators and other factors that influence conservation. 

Hunting heritage projects are selected by RMEF staff and volunteers in their individual states and are based on the ability to provide education about habitat conservation, the value of hunting, hunting ethics and wildlife management, and reaching out to youth. 

RMEF will also distribute funding received through donations, partnerships with conservation-minded partners, grants and other means to its national core programs of habitat stewardship, land protection, elk restoration and hunting heritage.