Elk foundation funds conservation in Wyoming

Posted 8/16/22

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners allocated $6,046,939 in 2022 grant funding to conserve and improve wildlife habitat, enhance public access and assist scientific research in …

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Elk foundation funds conservation in Wyoming


The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners allocated $6,046,939 in 2022 grant funding to conserve and improve wildlife habitat, enhance public access and assist scientific research in Wyoming. 

RMEF directly granted $310,656 that leveraged an additional $5,736,283 in partner dollars.

“This funding is extremely critical and goes on the ground for 20 different projects across the state including wildfire restoration, aspen enhancement, invasive weed control, stabilizing stream bank erosion, conifer thinning, water source improvement and three research projects,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Other projects include conserving more than 2,200 acres of elk habitat, providing funding to improve elk hunting access on private land and more than a dozen projects that support hunting, recreational shooting and outdoors-related endeavors.”

There are 22 RMEF chapters and more than 7,600 members in Wyoming.

“Our dedicated volunteers have a long and successful history of generating funding at chapter banquets and other events in Wyoming,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We express our sincere gratitude for them and their ongoing efforts that help further our mission.”

In Park County, the organization provided funding to identify the most crucial sections of fence to be removed or modified as part of research to assist elk migration patterns. They also contributed to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Access Yes program to secure and improve public access for hunting and fishing on privately-owned land.

“[The Foundation] is a common partner for habitat restoration, conservation easements, land acquisition and public access across the state,” Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik wrote in the recently released 2021 Statewide Habitat Plan Annual Report. “In addition to financial support, RMEF volunteers often contribute to on-the-ground project implementation. Thank you, RMEF, for your ongoing commitment to habitats!”

The report highlights the foundation’s contributions in 13 different 2021 projects including its part with the purchase of an access agreement that improved public access for hunters, anglers and others to nearly 33,000 acres of previously difficult to reach public land in western Wyoming.

Other collaborative projects mentioned included funding for two research efforts and an array of habitat enhancement work such as the removal of decadent mountain mahogany, improving riparian habitat near streams and in wetlands, installing wildlife-friendly fencing, enhancing aspen stands, stabilizing creek banks to reduce erosion, fighting invasive weed species and other projects.

In 2021, Wyoming’s conservation partners invested $10.5 million toward 226 different habitat projects statewide to benefit more than 800 species.

“Quality habitat is a cornerstone of wildlife management,” Nesvik said. “That’s why the Wyoming Game and Fish Department continues to invest heartily to sustain wild and healthy populations of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife.”

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 892 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wyoming with a combined value of more than $175.9 million. These projects conserved and enhanced 1,261,048 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 200,696 acres.