Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Idaho habitat, research projects funded by RMEF

Controlling noxious weeds, managing overgrown forests and researching wolf predation on elk population dynamics headline a list of 2011 grants for Idaho from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The new RMEF funding totals $72,013 and affects 17 counties: Adams, Bear Lake, Bingham, Blaine, Boise, Bonneville, Butte, Caribou, Clark, Clearwater, Custer, Elmore, Idaho, Jefferson, Lemhi, Teton and Valley counties.

A wolf/elk research project based in Clearwater County has statewide interest.

“This research will help state and tribal biologists better understand and predict the specific impacts of wolves on elk. Those data will provide for better management of both species,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Elsewhere, fire suppression and noxious weed infestations are taking a toll on areas elk use as winter range, summer range, migration corridors and calving grounds. The habitat projects that we’re funding this year will help restore habitat quality, and could add over 25,000 acres to the 377,487 acres that we’ve previously helped to conserve or enhance for wildlife across Idaho.”

Nationally, RMEF hopes to impact about 100,000 acres in 2011 to reach the 6 million-acre lifetime mark in lands conserved or enhanced for elk and other wildlife.

Allen thanked RMEF volunteers and fundraiser attendees for building the organizations grant coffers in Idaho, saying, “Because of their amazing passion and generous support, a major conservation milestone is within reach.”

RMEF grants will help fund the following 2011 projects in Clearwater County.

In Clearwater County, RMEF grants will help purchase GPS radio collars to assist with research on wolf predation and elk population dynamics (also affects Boise County). Results will be used to develop models to improve wildlife management statewide.

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