April 10, 2012
Oregon Habitat Projects Selected for RMEF Funding
MISSOULA, Mont.—Rejuvenating decadent meadows used by foraging elk and other wildlife is the central theme in a list of Oregon conservation projects slated to receive grants in 2012 from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
The RMEF funding commitment totals $165,500 and affects 17 counties: Benton, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler.
Two projects have statewide interest with implications across the northwestern U.S.
“Oregon’s native grasslands are slowly shrinking because of fire suppression, encroaching conifers and noxious weed infestations. The projects that we’re funding this year will help restore some of those areas to a more natural condition,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Our grants also will help to develop springs and guzzlers, remove old fencing and support important research across the state.”
RMEF’s mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. Since 1985, the organization and its partners have completed 703 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $42 million.
Funding for RMEF grants is based on local membership drives and banquet fundraising by RMEF chapters and volunteers in Oregon. Allen thanked RMEF supporters for their dedication to conservation both in Oregon and all across elk country.
RMEF grants will help fund the following 2012 projects in Oregon, listed by county:
Crook County—Thin encroaching juniper, prescribe burn and seed native forage plants to improve habitat for elk, deer, turkey, quail and other wildlife on 2,069 acres in the Maury Mountains of the Ochoco National Forest.
Curry County—Prescribe burn and seed native forage plants over 401 acres of Roosevelt elk habitat in the Gold Beach Ranger District of the Siskiyou National Forest.
Douglas County—Improve elk foraging areas by thinning, prescribe burning and seeding native forage plants on 125 acres in the Dixon Game Management Unit of the Umpqua National Forest; prescribe burn 200 acres in the Ragged Ridge area of the Umpqua National Forest; create and/or maintain 59 acres of forage openings to improve wildlife habitat in the Toketee Ranger Station area of the Umpqua National Forest.
Grant County—Treat 100 acres of noxious weeds and develop six springs to improve habitat for elk, deer, antelope and bighorn sheep in the Widows Creek area.
Harney County—Repair and improve guzzlers, maintain and/or remove aspen exclosure fences, and seed native forage plants on retired roads to improve 80 acres of elk habitat in the Dairy Creek area of the Malheur National Forest.
Klamath County—Provide sponsorship for Promoting Lifelong Activities for Youth Outdoors (PLAY Outdoors) event to introduce youths to outdoor recreation and conservation (also affects Lake County).
Lake County—Thin encroaching conifer and juniper to restore 300 acres of elk foraging and calving habitat in the West Drew’s Creek area of the Fremont-Winema National Forest.
Lane County—Improve 246 acres of elk habitat by treating noxious weeds, seeding native forage plants, thinning brush and developing a water source in the Foley Ridge area of the Willamette National Forest; prescribe burn and seed native forage plants on 166 acres in the Chucksney/Grasshopper Ridge area of the Willamette National Forest; enhance forage quality by mowing, thinning conifers and treating weeds on 540 acres in the Central Coast Ranger District area of Siuslaw National Forest (also affects Lincoln, Douglas and Benton counties); restore meadow habitat by removing encroaching conifers, treating weeds and seeding native forage plants on 131 acres in the Middle Fork Willamette River area of the Willamette National Forest; treat noxious weeds on 79 acres of power-line corridor in the McKenzie River area of Willamette National Forest; with help from RMEF volunteers, hand-pull noxious weeds from a 32-acre riparian area that serves as elk calving grounds in the Buckhead Wildlife Area of the Willamette National Forest.
Linn County—Restore elk foraging areas by removing encroaching conifers and treating noxious weeds on 141 acres in the North Santiam area of the Willamette National Forest (also affects Marion County); remove encroaching conifers to restore 50 acres of meadow habitat in the Smith Prairie area of Willamette National Forest.
Statewide—In coordination with state wildlife agencies in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, research effects of habitat, weather, predators and other factors affecting elk recruitment and future management models; expand and develop elk nutrition and habitat use models for professional wildlife management purposes.
Umatilla County—Improve elk winter range, summer range and calving grounds by treating noxious weeds on 2,000 acres in the North Fork John Day watershed area (also affects Grant and Morrow counties); seed 800 acres of native forage plants on public lands in the west Blue Mountains area.
Union County—Thin encroaching conifer stands to improve habitat for elk, mule deer and other wildlife on the Starkey Wildlife Management Unit of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest; remove 1-1/2 miles of old fencing, build a half-mile of new wildlife-friendly fencing, and treat 200 acres of noxious weeds within the Starkey Wildlife Management Unit.
Wallowa County—Prescribe burn 250 acres in the Chesnimus Wildlife Management Unit of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to enhance elk forage on public land; treat noxious weeds on 700 acres in the Grande Ronde and Imnaha river watersheds (also affects Union County).
Wheeler County—Treat 975 acres of elk habitat for noxious weeds, and develop and fence a spring to improve cattle distribution away from weeded areas, in the Bridge Creek area of the Ochoco National Forest.
Projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities.
Partners for 2012 projects in Oregon include the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Hunters Association, Oregon State University, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies, tribes, organizations, corporations and landowners.