Friday, June 13, 2014

Clearwater County receives elk restoration grant

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $276,584 in funding to Idaho for a handful of wildfire restoration efforts as well as habitat enhancement projects and research focused on a declining elk population.
The 2014 grants will positively affect nearly 76,000 acres in Ada, Adams, Bingham, Blaine, Boise, Bonneville, Camas, Clearwater, Elmore, Idaho, Owyhee, Shoshone, Teton and Valley Counties. There is also one project of statewide interest.

RMEF volunteers in Idaho raised the project funding through banquets, membership drives and other activities.

In Clearwater County, the RMEF grant will provide funding for extensive landscape and elk habitat restoration in the Clearwater Basin of north-central Idaho where elk populations continue their steadily decline over the past three decades because of a substantial loss of early-seral habitat, human pressures and the reintroduction of wolves (also affects Idaho County); and provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding for a multi-year elk nutrition study in the Clearwater Basin that includes capturing and collaring wild elk, establishing a land use habitat matrix and applying the new Oregon-Washington elk nutrition and habitat models for a monitoring program (also affects Idaho County).

Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities. RMEF volunteers and staff select hunting heritage projects to receive funding.

Partners for the Idaho projects include the Boise, Caribou-Targhee, Idaho Panhandle, Nez Perce-Clearwater, Payette and Sawtooth National Forests; Bureau of Land Management; Idaho Department of Fish and Game and various sportsmen, wildlife, civic and government organizations.

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