MISSOULA, Mont. — Twenty counties in Oregon are slated for wildlife habitat conservation and public education projects using $207,030 in new grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
The 2009 RMEF grants will affect Baker, Benton, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lane, Lebanon, Lincoln, Malheur, Morrow, Tillamook, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Yamhill counties.
"Our volunteers across Oregon helped drive the 2008 fundraisers that made these grants possible. This is where Elk Foundation banquets, auctions and other events transform into on-the-ground conservation work, and it's part of the payday for supporters who are passionate about giving something back to the outdoors," said David Allen, Elk Foundation president and CEO.
Elk Foundation grants will help fund the following Oregon projects, listed by county:
Baker County — Treat invasive weeds and restore forage on 1,500 acres of elk range in Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and BLM Baker Resource Area (also affects Wallowa County); prescribe burn 4,200 acres to rejuvenate meadows in Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and BLM Vale District.
Benton County — Co-sponsored E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area 2009 Youth Outdoor Day for over 700 students who learned about wildlife conservation, fishing, archery, shotgun sports, wildlife art and search and rescue.
Coos County — For elk and other wildlife, thin overgrown forest, seed native grasses and, in conjunction with local students, mark project boundaries in Rogue River National Forest.
Crook County — Thin juniper and aspen on 576 acres, treat noxious weeds on 385 acres and prescribe burn 1,434 acres to improve elk habitat in Ochoco National Forest; prescribe burn 500 acres, mechanically thin 600 acres, seed 100 acres and construct a 9-acre pond in Dow Ranch area; prescribe burn 450 acres, remove juniper on 180 acres, thin 98 acres, treat weeds on 45 acres and seed 85 acres in Pine Creek Ranch area.
Curry County — Treat 35 acres of weeds and prescribe burn 196 acres to improve meadows for elk and other wildlife in Siskiyou National Forest.
Douglas County — Enhance Watchable Wildlife location featuring Roosevelt's elk in BLM Coos Bay District; clear, fertilize and seed four new forage openings in Umpqua National Forest.
Grant County — Enhance elk habitat by rejuvenating forage on 725 acres in Murderer's Creek Wildlife Management Unit; treat forest overgrowth and noxious weeds on 431 acres in Malheur National Forest; restore 150 acres of meadows by tilling, treating weeds and re-seeding native grasses in China Peak area.
Harney County — Rebuilt 10 guzzlers destroyed in 2007 wildfires, and treat 40 acres of noxious weeds, for elk and other wildlife in Malheur National Forest.
Jefferson County — Thin 1,000 acres of encroaching juniper to improve ponderosa pine and sagebrush/steppe habitats favored by elk in Crooked River National Grassland.
Klamath County — Enhance wetlands for elk and other wildlife by removing encroaching conifers and repairing stream course in Fremont-Winema National Forest; thin overgrown lodgepole pine and prescribe burn 300 acres, plant 10 acres of hardwoods and construct fencing to protect new plantings in Deschutes National Forest.
Lane County — Remove invasive plants by mowing, treating weeds and seeding native grasses on 320 acres of elk habitat in Siuslaw National Forest (also affects Lincoln, Douglas and Benton counties); prescribe burn 52 acres and thin overgrown forest on 15 acres to improve elk forage in Willamette National Forest.
Lebanon County — Provide scholarships for Corvallis, Ore., 6th graders attending natural resource education program.
Malheur County — Host Malheur County Kids Fair to educate youth about wildlife.
Morrow County — Prescribe burn 980 acres to improve elk forage in Umatilla National Forest.
Tillamook County — Mow and slash 200 acres of invasive weeds and encroaching brush to maintain forage for elk and other wildlife in Siuslaw National Forest (also affects Yamhill and Lincoln counties).
Umatilla County — Prescribe burn 1,291 acres and treat noxious weeds on 3,340 acres to enhance forage for elk in Umatilla National Forest (also affects Grant and Morrow counties).
Union County — Fertilize 200 acres, treat for noxious weeds and seed 100 acres, and develop spring for elk and other wildlife in Owsley Canyon area; sponsored international workshop on scientific management of deer, elk and habitat.
Wallowa County — Treat 50 acres of noxious weeds and re-seed 20 acres to improve abandoned homesteads and fields for elk in Wallowa National Forest; treat 1,492 acres of weeds and restore native plant communities in Lower Grande Ronde, Imnaha and Snake river drainages (also affects Union County).
Partners for 2009 projects in Oregon include Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, other agencies, corporations, landowners and organizations.
Since 1984, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed more than 594 conservation projects in Oregon with a value of more than $34.3 million.
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 5.5 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.