MISSOULA, Mont. — South Dakota received $450,154 in grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners for wildlife habitat enhancement and hunting heritage projects. RMEF directly granted $177,446 and leveraged an additional $272,708 in partner dollars.
“These funds will help restore forest meadows, improve forage for elk and other wildlife, enhance forest health, repair wildlife water sources, treat invasive weeds, expand public access for hunters, protect aspen stands and support scientific wildlife research,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Nine of the 17 grants specifically assist youth involved in archery, shooting sports and conservation programs.”
Since 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 396 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in South Dakota with a combined value of more than $39.5 million. These projects protected or enhanced 111,282 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 11,472 acres.
South Dakota is home to more than 4,400 RMEF members and 17 chapters.
“This funding is available to be put on the ground in South Dakota because of the hard work and dedication of our volunteers. We salute them for that,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.
Below is a partial list of South Dakota’s 2020 projects, shown by county.
- Provide funding to research new trail camera survey techniques to estimate elk and deer population abundance and herd composition in the Black Hills. The results will inform future survey methods used for determining accurate population trends and allocating an appropriate number of hunting licenses (also benefits Lawrence and Pennington Counties).
- Thin ponderosa pine on 197 acres in Custer State Park to improve forest health and increase forage production by triggering the growth of grasses in an area impacted by a 1988 wildfire and heavily used by elk.
Fall River County
- Provide funding to help South Dakota's Access Program expand opportunities within the Black Hills Private Land Elk Hunting Access Program to an estimated 27,000 acres in the Southern Black Hills (also benefits Bennett, Custer, Lawrence, Meade and Pennington Counties).
Go here to view a full list of South Dakota’s 2020 projects.
Project partners include South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, Black Hills National Forest and various sportsmen, conservation, government, business and volunteer groups and individuals.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 36 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.9 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 rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.