Elk NetworkWestern Big Game Winter Range, Migration Corridor Research Boosted by Grant Funding

Conservation | February 17, 2020

Eleven western states will receive another round of $3.2 million in grant funding in support of big game species habitat conservation and scientific research for migration corridors and winter ranges. That boosts the overall funding from the Department of Interior and other stakeholders to more than $22 million.

“Big game species such as deer, elk and pronghorn contribute to the West’s quality of life and provide hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities,” said Secretary of the Interior (DOI) David Bernhardt. “These grants will help states further their scientific research to ensure sustainable wildlife populations and improve the ongoing, collaborative, on-the-ground efforts to conserve habitat for these animals for generations to come.”

The funding supports 19 priority research projects (eight focus on mule deer, six on elk and five on pronghorn) chosen by recipient state wildlife agencies to help identify priority corridors or winter range areas, enhance data analysis and mapping, and identify movement corridors that either cross or are impeded by highways. Previously announced Secretarial Order 3362 directs appropriate bureaus within the DOI to work in close partnership with the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming to enhance and improve the quality of big-game winter range and migration corridor habitat on federal lands.

Among the projects, researchers will outfit 40 elk with GPS collars to monitor elk movements for two years between the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains of northern Idaho. Crews will also deploy GPS collars on 30 elk and 30 mule deer in Arizona from the Grand Canyon south to Prescott.

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(Photo source: Wyatt Braun-Landrum)