MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners allocated $4,593,330 in grant funding for habitat enhancement, scientific research and hunting heritage projects in California. RMEF directly granted $357,884 that leveraged an additional $4,235,446 in partner dollars.
“A significant chunk of this funding goes to conserve vital habitat that serves as a transitional corridor for tule elk,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “There are also several habitat enhancement projects including one that restores wildlife water sources destroyed by the 2021 Antelope Fire as well as research to better understand elk movement and behavior.”
Eight projects positively impact Butte, Modoc, Monterey, Placer, Plumas, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Siskiyou Counties. There are also two projects of statewide benefit.
California is home to nearly 11,000 RMEF members and 25 chapters.
“We have this funding and can put it back on the ground in California only because of RMEF volunteers across the state,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We salute them and thank them for hosting fundraising banquets, membership drives and other events that ensure the future of elk in California.”
Since 1988, RMEF and its partners completed 662 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in California with a combined value of more than $85.6 million. Those projects conserved and enhanced 199,372 acres and opened or improved access to 37,114 acres.
Below is a list of California’s projects, shown by county.
- Provide funding and volunteer support to host a veteran waterfowl in collaboration with the California Waterfowl Association that draws participants from across the state.
- Thin and apply low intensity prescribed burning across 2,000 acres in the Devil’s Garden Ranger District on the Modoc National Forest as part of a larger effort to reintroduce fire across roughly 21,000 acres within the Modoc Plateau area. The project improves elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope forage and distribution. It also enhances habitat for ground-nesting birds, small mammals and reduces the risk of high severity wildfire.
- Document elk movement and habitat use along an important wildlife corridor between the coastal Southern Sierra de Salinas Range, Santa Lucia Range and Salinas Valley in central California.
- Provide funding for the Colfax High School trap team. Participants experience personal growth, responsibility, self-confidence and team participation as well as learning about firearms safety, responsible hunting and conservation.
- Support the Del Oro Sportsman’s Club in introducing youth and their families to clay target shooting, fishing, hunting and other activities.
- Restore functional hydrology across 4,392 acres of meadow wetlands in the upper Feather River watershed that supports elk populations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Crews install structures that mimic the effects of beaver dams which allows the groundwater table to recover resulting in a restored floodplain and better habitat for elk and other wildlife including migratory birds.
San Luis Obispo County
- Contribute funding to conserve a 5,562-acre historic working cattle ranch used by tule elk to move between the Carrizo Plains Ecological Reserve, Los Padres National Forest and other lands (also benefits Santa Barbara County).
- Replace three wildlife water guzzlers in the Klamath National Forest’s Goosenest Ranger District destroyed by the 2021 Antelope Fire, a wildfire that burned more than 72,600 acres within the Klamath and Modoc National Forests. The work positively impacts 1,920 acres used by both big and small game. It’s part of a continued RMEF emphasis on wildfire restoration and active forest management as well as a larger effort to repair and/or replace non-functioning wildlife water sources across Siskiyou County.
- Provide sponsorship funding for Gaines and Associates, an organization that promotes wildlife conservation, ensures the future of outdoor heritage and represents political issues of primary interest about wildlife conservation, hunting, ranching and farming. It works with the State of California, California Fish and Game Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the state legislature.
- Provide funding for the Fort Hunter Liggett Youth Fishing Derby. Hosted on the military installation, it provides opportunities for children of military families and the surrounding communities to learn more about the outdoors.
Project partners include the Natural Resources Conservation Service; California Wildlife Conservation Board; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Klamath, Modoc and Shasta-Trinity National Forests; private landowners and various other conservation, sportsmen and civic groups and organizations.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 37 years ago and fueled by hunters, RMEF maintains more than 225,000 members and has conserved nearly 8.4 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 rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.