MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $88,203 in grant funding to assist with habitat stewardship and hunting heritage projects across 2,784 acres in Nevada.
The grants directly benefit Elko, Esmeralda, Humboldt, Lander, Nye, Pershing, Storey, Washoe and White Pine Counties.
“Expanding pinyon-juniper growth often chokes out crucial habitat for elk and an array of other wildlife species,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This funding assists on-the-ground efforts to improve native grasses, sagebrush and other forage.”
RMEF volunteers and members carried out banquets, membership drives and other events to raise funding for the Nevada projects as well as conservation work all across elk country.
Since 1988, RMEF and its partners completed 234 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Nevada with a combined value of more than $17.6 million. These projects protected or enhanced 284,155 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 11,827 acres.
Here are Nevada’s 2016 projects, listed by county:
Elko County—Provide funding and volunteer manpower to modify 2.5 miles of existing fencing in the Thousand Springs drainage to be wildlife-friendly to aid elk, mule deer, pronghorn and sage grouse movement on and through a private ranch, as well as improve cattle grazing management; and remove pinyon-juniper trees on 804 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands followed by seeding with grasses and sagebrush to improve wildlife habitat.
Humboldt County—Provide funding for the Nevada Outdoor School’s day camps which offer youth in sixth and seventh grades across northern Nevada the opportunity to explore outdoor education, recreation opportunities, team-building skills and foster a sense of confidence and connection with the outdoors (also benefits Elko, Lander, Pershing and Washoe Counties).
Nye County—Remove pinyon and juniper from 484 across multiple units in the North Snake Range on the Humboldt National Forest in an area that serves as important summer and winter range for elk, mule deer, antelope and other species; and provide funding and volunteer manpower for the Rotary Club of Tonopah Kids Fishing Derby for more than 120 kids (also benefits Esmeralda County).
Washoe County—Provide funding and volunteer manpower for the Maison T. Ortiz Youth Outdoor Skills Camp north of Reno which teaches youth ages 11 to 16 about hunter education, outdoor safety, shooting, archery, map reading, plant identification, fishing, basic survival, first aid, laser safe shoot and fly tying; and provide funding to help purchase poles, reels, bait and other fishing equipment for the Reno Host Lions Club’s free fishing day at Idlewild Park (also benefits Storey County).
White Pine County—Remove encroaching conifers followed by fencing and, when applicable, prescribed fire to boost aspen growth across 800 acres of BLM-managed lands in the Deep Creek, Snake Valley North, Antelope Valley and North Springs Valley watersheds which serve as year-round habitat for elk and mule deer.
Partners for the Nevada projects include the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, private landowners, and various sportsmen, civic, business and other organizations.
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.