Elk NetworkUsing Fire to Improve Habitat: How #HuntingIsConversation in Oregon

Conservation | December 31, 2018

Fire, especially when applied to the landscape in a planned, calculated manner, provides a natural cleansing of sorts.

It triggers habitat diversity, recycles plant nutrients into the soil and encourages new growth for a variety of plants used by wildlife. It also reduces the threat of large scale, catastrophic wildfires and – bottom line – increases overall forest health.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provided key funding for prescribed burning on 750 acres within the McKay Creek Watershed on the Ochoco National Forest in central Oregon.

Specifically, the project reduced fire-intolerant fir and overly think juniper that choked out grass and shrubs and reinvigorated native bunchgrasses, forbs and shrubs hat improved foraging conditions for elk, mule deer, turkey and a range of other wildlife species.

This project is part of a much larger effort within the 45,000-acre Lower McKay sub-watershed.

It includes commercial and no-commercial treatments including multiple prescribed burns and thinning to increase forage quality and quantity, reduce fuel loading and increase water yield.

More than 95 percent of RMEF’s 227,000 members are hunters.

Funded and supported by hunters, projects like this one highlight how Hunting Is Conservation.