MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners awarded $7,256,274 of grant funding in Wyoming to enhance wildlife habitat, scientific research and hunting opportunities. RMEF directly granted $340,471 and leveraged an additional $6,915,803 in partner funding.
“This is a monumental amount of funding that will help Wyoming’s elk as well as a myriad of other species,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We are grateful for our partners in standing beside us to carry out this vital conservation work. And we especially recognize and thank our RMEF volunteers who freely give of their time and talents to raise funds to put back on the ground in Wyoming. We could not do what we do without them.”
There are 22 RMEF chapters and nearly 9,000 members in Wyoming.
In all, 33 projects benefit 46,465 acres of habitat across Albany, Big Horn, Campbell, Carbon, Converse, Johnson, Laramie, Lincoln, Fremont, Hot Springs, Natrona, Park, Sheridan, Sublette, Sweetwater, Teton, Uinta and Washakie Counties. One of the projects is of statewide benefit.
“These projects address everything from combating invasive weeds and helping rejuvenate shrubs, aspen and riparian areas to erecting wildlife-friendly fencing, carrying out prescribed burns, thinning forests and providing funding to increase public access, assist with four research projects and permanently protect habitat,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.
Since 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 826 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wyoming with a combined value of more than $163.4 million. These projects protected or enhanced 1,198,010 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 164,168 acres.
Here is a sampling of the projects, listed by county.
- Treat 10,000 acres for invasive weeds in the Medicine Wheel and Tongue River Ranger Districts on the Bighorn National Forest. Backpack and horseback spraying units will pay particular attention to difficult-to-access backcountry areas including elk winter range and calving grounds (also benefits Sheridan County).
- Provide funding for a study to improve the understanding of elk calving in the Cody herd. Researchers map calving areas to determine whether they are consistent or variable between years and validate new methods for identifying calving areas based on GPS movement data. The findings will help wildlife and land managers seek to better protect habitat.
- Provide funding for a conservation easement to permanently protect approximately 2,700 acres of elk habitat west of Big Piney. The property is also important to moose and contains a portion of Fish Creek, a tributary to the Upper Green River.
- Provide funding to support and expand Access Yes, a program that allows public access to private land in Wyoming. RMEF’s contribution equates to approximately 46,500 acres of access. In 2019, Access Yes opened access to 2.8 million acres for hunters and anglers.
Go here to see a listing of all 33 projects.
Wyoming project partners include the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Bridger-Teton, Caribou-Targhee and Shoshone National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, private landowners and universities as well as conservation, sportsmen, business and other groups and organizations.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 36 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.9 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.