Idaho Grants Benefit Research, Habitat, Hunting Heritage

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $322,625 in grant funding toward 18 habitat stewardship and hunting heritage projects across Idaho.

The grants directly benefit nearly 15,000 acres in Ada, Adams, Bear Lake, Blaine, Boise, Bonneville, Caribou, Clearwater, Custer, Franklin, Idaho, Lemhi, Lincoln, Owyhee, Twin Falls and Washington Counties. There are also six projects of statewide benefit.

“There is a real need for additional forest management and other habitat stewardship work on the Idaho landscape,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This grant funding allows us to carry out on-the-ground projects that benefit elk and other wildlife plus conduct much-needed, science-based wildlife research.”

RMEF volunteers raised the funding at banquets and other activities.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 499 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Idaho with a combined value of more than $73 million. These projects have protected or enhanced 440,359 acres of habitat and have opened or secured public access to 24,818 acres. 

Here is a sampling of the 2016 projects, listed by county:

Bonneville County—Provide funding to assist the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in suppressing cheatgrass invasion on approximately 8,000 acres of the 34,000-acre Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area, which was severely impacted by the 2016 Henry’s Creek Wildfire and is vital winter range for upwards of 3,500 elk and 4,000 mule deer.

Clearwater County—Provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding for continuing research focused on an elk monitoring program in the Clearwater Basin of north-central Idaho that includes: 1) establishing a land use habitat matrix to be used as the foundation for management and monitoring of elk, 2) applying the new Oregon-Washington elk nutrition and habitat models, and 3) capturing and collaring of wild elk for subsequent monitoring (also affects Idaho County).

Lemhi County—Remove encroaching conifers from 150 acres of aspen stands on Bureau of Land Management land to benefit wildlife forage (also affects Custer County).

Washington County—Provide funding to purchase 20 GPS collars for cow elk in Game Management Units 22, 31 and 32 on the Payette National Forest to better understand elk movements and provide information to assist with management objectives (also affects Adams County).

Statewide—Provide TFE funding for the Foundation for Wildlife Management to assist with wolf management in areas where elk and other ungulates suffer the highest wolf predation.

Go here for a full project listing.

Project partners include the Boise, Caribou-Targhee, and Payette National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Department of Fish and Game as well as sportsmen, government, civic and other organizations.

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

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 220,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 6.9 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK. Take action: join and/or donate.