MISSOULA, Mont. — Colorado’s wildlife is receiving a $2,571,838 boost thanks to funding provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners. RMEF directly granted $611,000 and leveraged an additional $1,960,838 in partner dollars.
“These funds assist three research projects including one that helps biologists learn more about why elk recruitment is ailing and another focusing on how elk are impacted by human recreational activity,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Habitat enhancement projects include forest thinning, prescribed burning and repairing water developments, all to help elk, deer and many other species of wildlife.”
Fourteen projects will benefit 18,911 acres across Archuleta, Costilla, Custer, Delta, Eagle, El Paso, Fremont, Garfield, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Jackson, Las Animas, Mesa, Moffat, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, Routt, Saguache and San Miguel Counties. There are two additional projects of statewide benefit.
There are 29 chapters and nearly 17,000 RMEF members in Colorado
“This funding is only available because of the passion and dedication of our hard-working volunteers,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We thank them for giving their time and efforts to benefit elk and elk habitat in Colorado and across the nation.”
Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 790 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Colorado with a combined value of more than $178.2 million. These projects protected or enhanced 469,886 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 122,107 acres.
Below is a sampling of the projects, listed by county.
Las Animas County
- Rework four historic windmill-powered water wells on the Bosque del Oso State Wildlife Area. The project will convert the pumps to solar power accompanied by hard poly tanks to hold water on the surface for wildlife.
- Provide funding for a scientific study seeking to identify the primary factors related to declining elk calf recruitment. Crews will capture and collar cows and calves to assess the health of herds, estimate survival rates and identify major sources of calf mortality (also benefits Costilla, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Las Animas, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, Routt and San Miguel Counties).
Rio Blanco County
- Burn and mechanically treat 5,800 acres within the Blanco Ranger District on the White River National Forest. Treatment will promote the growth of native grasses, forbs and shrubs for elk and other wildlife (also benefits Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin Counties).
Go here to see a list of all 16 projects.
Project partners include the Arapaho, Gunnison, Medicine Bow–Routt, San Juan and White River National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, universities and other groups and organizations.
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.