Elk Habitat Permanently Protected in Colorado


From The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation partnered with a conservation-minded landowner, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to permanently protect 524 acres of prime wildlife habitat in west-central Colorado.

“We appreciate the private landowners for recognizing the important wildlife values of their land and taking action to permanently protect it,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

Located about 35 miles east of Grand Junction, the Bull Creek project provides summer, winter and transitional range as well as a migration corridor through adjacent Bureau of Land Management land for elk and mule deer. It’s also an important calving ground for elk and lies within Colorado’s Grand Mesa, the largest flat top mountain in the world.

“Projects such as Bull Creek and partnerships with Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation highlight the very core of our conservation values and beliefs,” said J.T. Romatzke, CPW area wildlife manager. “The ability to ensure the perpetuation of elk habitat and benefits to sportsman is nothing more than exceptional. It is an honor for CPW to collaborate with RMEF and many others on projects that truly have longevity and resource purpose.”

In addition to providing quality habitat for big game, birds and other animal life, the property also includes vital riparian habitat. It encompasses more than three miles of waterways including the South Canal and a portion of Bull Creek.

Nearly half of the project’s funding came from a Great Outdoors Colorado grant. The organization invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds in projects that protect or enhance Colorado’s parks, trails, rivers, open space and wildlife heritage.

“It’s critical for Colorado’s future that we have families like this one with the vision to permanently protect their land. GOCO is proud to have invested critical funding to help bring that vision to fruition and protect critical wildlife and river habitat,” said Chris Castilian, GOCO executive director.

Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 704 conservation and hunting heritage projects in Colorado, including two in Mesa County, with a combined value of more than $161 million dollars. These projects conserved or enhanced 438,443 acres and opened or secured access to 108,179 acres.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 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™” atwww.rmef.orgwww.elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.
Take action: join and/or donate.

Bass Pro Shops Hosts Elk Country Conservation Month

RMEF BPS

From The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—For the 11th year in a row, Bass Pro Shops will generate funds for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its conservation mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Bass Pro Shops will host Elk Country Conservation Month for the entire month of August.

“We are truly thankful for a valued partner that takes action by continuing to show its leadership and commitment to fish and wildlife conservation as well as our hunting heritage,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.

In-store patrons who visit Bass Pro Shops across the United States during August will have the opportunity to round up their purchases to support RMEF’s mission.

“We want to give our customers the opportunity to contribute to the RMEF and its ongoing conservation efforts,” said Martin MacDonald, Bass Pro Shops director of conservation. “Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris also established a matching program from Bass Pro to RMEF by donating an additional 50 percent of the cumulative customer donations during the month of August.”

Thanks to a partnership spanning 17 years and still running, Bass Pro Shops contributed more than $1.5 million dollars to RMEF’s conservation mission. Between customer donations and the Bass Pro 50 percent match, the Elk Country Conservation Month program itself so far generated more than $880,000.

Since 1984, RMEF and its partners so far completed 10,832 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $1 billion. These projects protected or enhanced more than 7.1 million acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to more than 1.1 million acres of public land.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 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™” atwww.rmef.orgwww.elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.
Take action: join and/or donate.

Elk Fit to Benefit Hunters, Public Access

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

MISSOULA, Mont.—Elk Fit, a nutritional program inspired by a partnership between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and MTN OPS, offers tangible benefits for elk hunters and their ability to access more public land.

“We appreciate our conservation partners at MTN OPS who see eye-to-eye with our mission priorities,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing. “This program not only assists the individual elk hunter but it helps us open the door for hunters to access more wildlife habitat.”

Elk Fit is a line of supplements designed to aid the nutritional needs of elk hunters by helping them lose weight and increase strength and focus. A portion of the proceeds of each sale go toward RMEF’s Access Elk Country Initiative which seeks to open or secure access to 250,000 acres of elk country over a five-year period.

“We at MTN OPS believe that conservation is the key to the future of hunting, public land access and the preservation of the species we love to hunt, said Casey Harbertson, MTN OPS co-founder and chief marketing officer. “Conservation is at the heart of our mission. It is our goal to make sure we do our part for our families and the next generation of outdoorsmen and women so they enjoy the same benefits we enjoy today.”

The Access Elk Country Initiative utilizes various tools including grants to state agency access programs, acquisitions or exchanges involving checkerboard ownership of lands, strategic acquisitions of small parcels that unlock large blocks of previously land-locked public land and re-routing roads or securing access easements to provide legal passage to large tracts of public land.

Combining both its historic and ongoing public access efforts, RMEF has so far opened or improved access to more than 1.1 million acres of elk habitat across 23 different states.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 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™” atwww.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.
Take action: join and/or donate.

Department of Interior Announces Recovery and Delisting of Yellowstone Grizzly Population


From The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The U.S. Department of Interior announced the recovery of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population as well as its intent to remove federal protections and return management to state agencies.

“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports the delisting of grizzly bears,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “It’s been a long time coming and we think this is the appropriate move by Secretary Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

The Yellowstone population rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to an estimated 700 today. Confirmed sightings of grizzlies are taking place in locations where they have not previously been seen for more than 100 years as they extend their range in the Northern Rockies.

“This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of the state, tribal, federal and private partners,” said U.S, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “As a Montanan, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together.”

The Yellowstone grizzly population meets all delisting criteria. These factors include not only the number and distribution of bears throughout the ecosystem, but also the quantity and quality of the habitat available and the states’ commitments to manage the population from now on in a manner that maintains its healthy and secure status.

“We do caution everybody to manage their expectations about the potential of hunting grizzly bears. The reality is there will be very minimal hunting of grizzly bears for the next several years. Those who oppose the delisting are going to try and use ‘trophy hunting’ as a major obstacle and reason not to delist grizzly bears. It’s purely rhetoric and propaganda,” added Allen.

The final rule, and the supporting documents, will publish in coming days in the Federal Register and the rule will take effect 30 days after publication.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 220,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 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.

Renowned Conservationist, RMEF Promote Relevance of Hunting


From The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—In an effort to promote a wider public conversation about the positive connections between hunting and wildlife conservation, the Rocky Mountain ElkFoundation partnered with widely-respected conservationist and wildlife researcher Shane Mahoney to release a timely and evocative short film titled Relevance.

The video, which discusses the modern relevance of hunting traditions, especially in terms of conservation benefits, is the first product generated as part of a new and ongoing collaboration between RMEF and Mahoney. “Shane is one of the world’s leading voices for conservation,” said Steve Decker, RMEF’s vice president of Marketing. “His message about hunting’s role in society showcases the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, certainly one of the most successful systems of wildlife recovery and management the world has ever seen. Shane’s message resonates not only among sportsmen and women, but also with those who do not hunt or fish but who share in the concern for wildlife’s future.”

The film’s narrative is borrowed from Mahoney’s keynote address, delivered at RMEF’s 2017 National Convention earlier this year in Nashville.

Mahoney, a long-time RMEF member, is the president and CEO of Conservation Visions, a global wildlife initiative focused on international conservation issues.

“Hunting is sometimes incorrectly viewed as a self-indulgent and wasteful anachronism in modern society,” says Mahoney. “However, we know, from an objective perspective, that sustainable use of wildlife can be an effective tool in support of conservation and human livelihoods; it is connected to the conservation of wild lands and waters, the environment and our own food security.”

In 2015, Mahoney launched the Wild Harvest Initiative, a multi-year research and communication effort supported by RMEF and a diverse partnership of individuals, business interests, conservation NGOs and government agencies. The project’s mission is to provide a first-ever evaluation of the biomass and economic value of wild food harvested by recreational hunters and anglers in Canada and the United States and to assess the wider community of consumers who share in this harvest. By conjoining these insights with existing economic assessments of recreational hunting and angling, and by evaluating the costs and mechanisms that might be considered necessary to replace this wild food harvest, the Wild Harvest Initiative will help focus a wider question facing conservation policy institutions in both countries; namely, if hunting and angling were to cease tomorrow, what would be the consequences?

RMEF and Mahoney will work together on future projects as part of RMEF’s ongoing #HuntingIsConservation campaign, which has reached more than 30 million people since its launch in January 2016.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 220,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for sciencebased resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at http://www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK. Take action: join and/or donate.

Elk Habitat Conserved in Washington’s Lewis River Watershed

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

From The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Nearly 4,500 acres of prime wildlife habitat in southwestern Washington are permanently protected and opened to public access thanks to ongoing collaborative efforts by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and PacifiCorp, an electric utility company.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This forestland is crucial habitat for Roosevelt elk. It’s now forever protected and conserved in a region where designation of the Mount St. Helens National Monument restricts management options.”

“Conserving and managing this habitat on the southwest slopes of Mount St. Helens, where elk are threatened by forage loss from forest succession and habitat loss to development is a just part of PacifiCorp’s ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Todd Olson, the company’s compliance director. “We highly value the partnership with the RMEF and the other parties that makes this possible.”

The just-completed 1,880-acre acquisition is the third phase of a project that previously protected an additional 2,590 acres of habitat in the upper Lewis River basin north of Swift Reservoir.

The combined 4,470-acre property was originally in a checkerboard ownership pattern. It is now blocked up and provides connectivity with state and federal lands to the north and is part of a 15,000-acre landscape managed as wildlife habitat by PacifiCorp. This management is conducted with input from RMEF, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and resource agencies.

“Federal forests near Mount St. Helens are overgrown and contributed to the decline of what was once one of Washington’s most productive elk herds. This project greatly improves forest management which is a huge benefit for elk and other wildlife,” added Henning.

The landscape provides vital elk migratory corridors and is home to blacktail deer, black bear, mountain lions and a wide array of bird and other animal life.

With few exceptions to provide public safety, PacifiCorp wildlife lands are open to nonmotorized public access including hunting and other recreation.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 220,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for sciencebased resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at http://www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK. Take action: join and/or donate.

About PacifiCorp PacifiCorp provides electric service to 1.8 million customers in six western states. Operating as Pacific Power in Oregon, Washington and California, and as Rocky Mountain Power in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, our goal is to provide our customers with value for their energy dollar through safe, reliable electricity

Wildlife Habitat Protected, Access Improved in Nevada

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with a conservation-minded landowner, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to protect 4,500 acres of key wildlife habitat in northeast Nevada via a voluntary conservation easement agreement. The project also improves access to nearly 19,000 acres of adjacent public land.

“We appreciate Bryan Masini and his partner owners of the Wildhorse Ranch in recognizing the importance of protecting and conserving the wildlife values of their land,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

Located approximately 70 miles north of Elko, the property lies within the Owyhee River watershed just east of the Independence Mountain Range.

As part of the transaction, the NDOW holds an access agreement that allows public access for hunting and other recreational activities to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands which border the ranch.

“We are grateful for all the partners in this effort and find great hope in innovative approaches such as this conservation easement,” said Tony Wasley, NDOW director. “This is a great solution that protects private land, while also maintaining the land’s benefits for the wildlife species that depend on it.”

“This specific area is year-round habitat and crucial summer range for up to 100 elk. It’s also a key area for mule deer and antelope, crucial habitat for Greater sage-grouse and it features riparian habitat for fish and other species,” added Henning.

Current range conditions consist of enough forage for cattle and wildlife and a plan has been implemented to ensure that best management practices maintain quality habitat going forward.

“This project is a great example of the private and public partnership efforts that exist to protect critical habitats and preserve agricultural working lands for future generations,” stated Ray Dotson, NRCS state conservationist.

The Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and the Nevada Department of Wildlife provided funding for the project.

 

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 220,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 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.