Colorado receives $2.57 million to benefit elk, other wildlife

An elk takes in the view near the summit of Trail Ridge Road at Rocky Mountain National Park in 2013.
Scott Franz/Steamboat Today

Colorado’s wildlife is receiving a $2,571,838 boost thanks to funding provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners.

RMEF directly granted $611,000 and leveraged an additional $1,960,838 in partner dollars, according to the foundation.

“These funds assist three research projects including one that helps biologists learn more about why elk recruitment is ailing and another focusing on how elk are impacted by human recreational activity,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Habitat enhancement projects include forest thinning, prescribed burning and repairing water developments, all to help elk, deer and many other species of wildlife.”

Fourteen projects will benefit 18,911 acres across Archuleta, Costilla, Custer, Delta, Eagle, El Paso, Fremont, Garfield, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Jackson, Las Animas, Mesa, Moffat, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, Routt, Saguache and San Miguel Counties. There are two additional projects of statewide benefit.  

There are 29 chapters and nearly 17,000 RMEF members in Colorado.

“This funding is only available because of the passion and dedication of our hard-working volunteers,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We thank them for giving their time and efforts to benefit elk and elk habitat in Colorado and across the nation.”

Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 790 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Colorado with a combined value of more than $178.2 million. These projects protected or enhanced 469,886 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 122,107 acres.

In Moffat County, RMEF will provide funding for a scientific study seeking to identify the primary factors related to declining elk calf recruitment. Crews will capture and collar cows and calves to assess the health of herds, estimate survival rates and identify major sources of calf mortality (also benefits Costilla, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Las Animas, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, Routt and San Miguel Counties), according to the foundation.

In Rio Blanco County, RMEF will burn and mechanically treat 5,800 acres within the Blanco Ranger District on the White River National Forest. Treatment will promote the growth of native grasses, forbs and shrubs for elk and other wildlife (also benefits Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin Counties).

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.