Wildlife conservation and public education projects in 18 Utah counties have been selected to receive grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in 2010. The new RMEF funding, totaling $165,500, will directly affect Beaver, Cache, Daggett, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Kane, Millard, Piute, Rich, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Summit, Uintah, Utah and Wasatch counties. Two additional projects have statewide interest. “These grants are possible because of two major funding sources in Utah,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “First are the many banquets and fundraisers staged over the past year by our Utah volunteers. Second are raffles and auctions of special Utah hunting permits, which are earmarked to fund habitat projects across the state. He added, “Since 1984, our annual grants have helped complete 286 different projects in Utah with a combined value of more than $27.2 million.” RMEF grants will help fund the following projects, listed by county: * Beaver County – Manage elk habitat by mulching 2,070 acres and hand-thinning 1,000 acres to restore sagebrush/steppe habitat in South Beaver area of BLM lands; remove pinyon, juniper and decadent sagebrush on 425 acres in Beaver North Creek Wildlife Management Area; reduce pinyon-juniper overgrowth on 915 acres at Indian Peaks Wildlife Management Area; utilize Utah Dedicated Hunters to remove pinyon and juniper from 2,186 acres in Panguitch Creek Wildlife Management Area and adjacent areas (also affects Iron and Garfield counties). * Cache County – Prescribe burn 120 acres to improve forage for elk and other wildlife at Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area. * Daggett County – Improve 1,350 acres of big-game transitional range by removing encroaching pinyon and juniper at Diamond Mountain Wildlife Management Area. * Garfield County – Reduce pinyon-juniper encroachment and regenerate aspen on 894 acres of elk habitat in Sawmill Point and Baldy’s Ridge areas of Dixie National Forest; mulch and re-seed 1,730 acres of pinyon and juniper in the South Canyon area of BLM lands; remove encroaching pinyon-juniper from 2,059 acres in the north end of John?s Valley area of the Dutton Mountain Range. * Grand County – Improve forage by removing encroaching pinyon and juniper on over 800 acres of elk, mule deer, bison and sage grouse habitat at Book Cliffs. * Iron County – Improve Negro Liza Spring by constructing protective fencing around the water source, and piping water to a trough outside the fence for wildlife, feral horses and livestock; remove encroaching pinyon-juniper from 1,175 acres in the Spanish George Spring and Arrowhead Pass areas. * Kane County – Chemically and mechanically treat invading pinyon and juniper to improve habitat for elk and other wildlife in Upper Kanab Creek area of BLM lands. * Millard County – Mechanically treat 2,400 acres of pinyon-juniper encroachment to restore winter range for elk and other wildlife in the southern ends of Canyon Mountain Range and Pahvant Mountain Range on BLM lands and Fishlake National Forest; reduce pinyon-juniper overgrowth on 436 acres on Fillmore Nixon Wildlife Management Area. * Piute County – Remove encroaching pinyon and juniper on 700 acres and re-seed native grass and forbs on 1,000 acres to improve habitat for deer and elk in West Grass Valley area of BLM lands; install wildlife-friendly fencing to manage livestock use at drinkers in the Sevier Plateau area of Dixie National Forest (also affects Garfield County). * Rich County – Improve forage for the region?s elk herd by plowing and re-seeding 600 acres of crucial elk range near Woodruff, Utah. * San Juan County – Reduce pinyon and juniper density, re-seed native grasses, shrubs and forbs, install three miles of temporary fencing to protect newly seeded areas, restore two water sources and improve a water crossing to enhance 2,000 acres of elk habitat at Black Ridge Mesa on BLM lands. * Sanpete County – Mechanically remove encroaching pinyon and juniper to improve ponderosa pine, cottonwood and sagebrush communities on 686 acres of elk habitat at Manti-La Sal National Forest (also affects Emery County). * Sevier County – Install 4-5 wildlife guzzlers to improve water sources for elk, deer, turkey, chukar, ruffed grouse and other wildlife in the Cedar Mountain area of Fishlake National Forest. * Statewide – Provide funding for a Brigham Young University project to research effects of guzzlers and other water developments on target and non-target wildlife species. Data will be used to improve this management practice; provide funding for the first year of a three-year study to determine effectiveness of various wildlife crossings on Utah highways. Data will be used to improve designs, locations, etc. * Summit County – Regenerate aspen and improve habitat for elk by rejuvenating vegetation via mechanical treatments and prescribed fire on 700 acres in Beaver Creek area of Wasatch-Cache National Forest; enhance a spring and install water delivery system for wildlife and livestock at Henefer-Echo Wildlife Management Area. * Uintah County – Rejuvenate 300 acres of habitat by spraying cheatgrass, removing sagebrush killed by insects, and re-seeding native grasses and forbs in the Big Park area of Book Cliffs; construct steel pipe fencing to manage livestock use at seven springs at Book Cliffs (also affects Grand County); construct pipe fences to protect riparian, wetland and wet meadow habitat near Bitter Creek at Book Cliffs; construct new guzzlers and repair old guzzlers to improve water sources for wildlife in northern areas at Book Cliffs (also affects Grand County); treat encroaching pinyon and juniper on 600 acres of BLM land in the Upper McCook area. * Utah County – Improve grazing for elk and livestock by removing invading pinyon-juniper from 800 acres of grassland and sagebrush habitat at Dairy Fork Wildlife Management Area; remove beetle-killed timber to reduce fuels and improve forage, plus fence 85 acres to protect a regenerating aspen stand, in the Reservation Ridge area on BLM lands. * Wasatch County – Aerially and ground spray noxious weeds to improve 830 acres for elk, sage grouse and other wildlife at Wallsburg Wildlife Management Area. Habitat 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. Partners for 2010 projects in Utah include Brigham Young University, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah State University, other organizations, corporations, schools and landowners. About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.8 million acres?a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.
Free News Delivery by Email
Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!