Elk habitat boosted by grant
Foley herd at 40, down from 120
MCKENZIE BRIDGE: The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is funding a project to help the Foley Ridge elk herd. The work is part of foundation grants totaling $265,000 to fund 20 different habitat enhancement projects in 14 different counties in Oregon.
In Lane County, workers will treat noxious weeds, plant native grasses and browse species, while placing mineral blocks on 155 acres of a 1,422 acre elk emphasis area on the Willamette National Forest to lure elk and deer off of nearby private land. They will also apply mowing and noxious weed treatment to Buckhead and West Fir seed orchards and a power line right-of-way to improve forage plus reinforce standing fences with metal posts to prevent vehicle access. In addition, a wildlife-watering pond built by RMEF volunteers will receive bentonite treatment.
Locally the grant will fund applying herbicide, seeding, conifer encroachment control and browse cutback on 271 acres of Foley Ridge in the Willamette National Forest to improve forage for an elk herd previously numbered at 120 but more recently estimated at 40.
Workers will mow some 300 acres of meadow and apply noxious weed treatment on 125 additional acres on the Siuslaw National Forest to improve declining grass, forb and brush habitats (this will also affect Lincoln, Douglas and Benton Counties); and treat 167 acres in overstocked plantations within the Indigo Wildlife Management Unit with prescribed burning, noxious weed treatments and other activities to increase forage quality for Roosevelt elk and deer - as part of a larger project to ultimately enhance 1,650 acres on the Willamette National Forest.
The 2014 grants will affect a combined 11,020 acres in Benton, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Josephine, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Morrow, Union and Wallowa Counties.
“These grants will fund noxious weed treatments, prescribed burning, seeding and planting, meadow restoration, forest thinning and other projects designed to improve forage for elk, deer and a wide variety of other wildlife species,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.
Allen thanked RMEF volunteers in Oregon for their efforts to raise the grant money through banquets, membership drives and other fundraising activities. He also thanked volunteers and members across the nation for their dedication to conservation.
“We cannot come close to carrying out our mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage without our volunteers. Their hard work makes all the difference for elk and elk country,” added Allen.
Image above: Photo Courtesy Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Funding has been approved to improve conditions for an elk herd in the McKenzie Bridge area.
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