September 28, 2016
Washington Elk Habitat Gets an Upgrade
Thanks to RMEF Grants
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $269,057 in grant funding for 24 habitat stewardship and hunting heritage across Washington.
The grants directly benefit 6,428 acres in Asotin, Chelan, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grays Harbor, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Okanogan, Pierce, San Juan, Skamania, Stevens and Yakima Counties. There are also three projects of statewide benefit.
“Washington is home to some great elk country but there are places where vegetation is overly thick and needs thinning, prescribed burning and noxious weed treatment,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “These projects will benefit elk, a wide array of other bird and wildlife species, and the overall health of the forests.”
Dedicated RMEF volunteers raised the funding through membership drives, banquet activities and other events.
Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 574 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Washington with a combined value of more than $116.9 million. These projects have protected or enhanced 458,614 acres of habitat and have opened or secured public access to 121,646 acres. Here is a sampling of the Washington projects, listed by county:
Asotin County—Apply noxious weed treatments to 1,500 acres on the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area and Joseph Canyon region of the Chief Joseph Wildlife Areas to enhance habitat for elk and other wildlife (also benefits Garfield and Columbia Counties).
Cowlitz County—Thin 300-500 acres of timberland on the Hoffstadt and Mudflow Units of the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area to promote a healthy and diverse forest that has the highest concentration of elk in the immediate area during the winter.
Kittitas County—Pre-burn slash from 238 acres of overstocked conifer stands followed by prescribed fire on the Colockum Wildlife Area to enhance forage for elk and other wildlife and reduce the risk of a catastrophic wildfire event.
Statewide—Provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding for the donation of 576 RMEF youth membership knives to hunter education classes across the state.
Go here for a full project listing.
Partners for the Washington projects include the Colville, Gifford Pinchot, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, Olympic and Umatilla National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, private landowners, and various sportsmen, civic and other organizations.
RMEF uses TFE funding solely to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.