Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area: A Testimony to RMEF's Mission

Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area (Idaho)
“Doesn’t matter what you like. If it’s in the outdoors, you can find it at Tex Creek.”

Those words make up the opening line of a new video (see below) produced by Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG). Funded in part with a $700 grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the production highlights the 31,000 acre Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area (TCWMA) in southeastern Idaho. Located approximately 13 miles northeast of Idaho Falls, the TCWMA is home to more than 3,000 elk, mule deer, moose, sage and sharp-tailed grouse, other animals, birds and trout. It’s especially popular for big game, upland bird and small game hunting, as well as hiking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing.

TCWMA is made up of a patchwork of lands owned by the IDFG, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Bureau of Land Management. RMEF is proud of its past land acquisition and stewardship efforts to mold the area into what it is today. Here’s a brief breakdown:

  • 1997: RMEF teamed up with the Bonneville Power Administration and IDFG in a two-phase plan to first purchase 1,495 acres of the Quarter Circle O Ranch, permanently protect its significant wildlife habitat, and convey it to the IDFG for inclusion into the TCWMA. 
  • 1997: RMEF established baseline monitoring data to assess rangeland and vegetation trends on the entire TWCMA.
  • 1998: RMEF entered the second and final phase of the Circle O acquisition with the purchase of 640 additional acres along Willow Creek.
  • 2000: RMEF implemented a multi-year project to convert agricultural fields into diverse habitat to supply needs for wildlife.
  • 2001: RMEF funded plowing and drill-seeding to improve habitat.
  • 2003: RMEF helped convert former grain fields to wildlife-friendly forage.
  • 2005: RMEF added 726 acres to the TCWMA via a collaborative effort with partners.
  • 2009: RMEF funded a study investigating the effect of competition between elk and mule deer may have on mule deer body condition, reproduction and survival.
Total reported value of the entire RMEF collaborative acquisition: $1,191,178.
RMEF dollars applied toward TCWMA stewardship efforts: $46,578.

Created to highlight the wildlife and recreational importance of the TCWMA, the video is a testimony to the importance of RMEF’s work. Kudos to award-winning videographer Kris Millgate, owner of Tight Line Media in Idaho Falls, for the superb effort. 

It’s not necessarily a “happily ever after” scenario for the TCWMA. It is primarily funded with mitigation dollars provided by the Bureau of Reclamation, with funding renewed in 5-year increments. But that funding is now uncertain because of federal budget cuts and sequestration. The video will be used as part of an effort to secure a TCWMA perpetual mitigation trust fund. 

“Without it, wildlife and the hunting opportunity and the recreational opportunity that we enjoy in eastern Idaho just simply wouldn’t be the same.”

1 comment:

  1. Spent 2 summers there with Terry and Shane came in the 2nd summer. Loved it and glad to see you gentlemen are still doing your jobs.