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


Friday, March 25, 2016

RMEF Honored for Cooperative Elk Survey Work

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently honored the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation with its Joint Conservation Project of the Year Award. Participants from the three different organizations teamed up the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Nevada Department of Wildlife to carry out elk management and aerial surveys in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada.

As elk populations increased and expanded, habitat managers and elk conservationists recognized the need to determine elk distribution and population characteristics in the two states. Due to a tragic helicopter crash in the past, CDFW biologists could not complete aerial surveys in recent years which left the two agencies without the information needed to ensure that limited habitat improvement dollars are being spent in the areas most important for elk. RMEF recognized the importance of the data gap and funded the USFS and BLM to conduct aerial surveys to augment data collected in the early 1990’s. 

“Different phases of the project held challenges unfamiliar to many of the staff. The development of the interagency helicopter safety plans required a phenomenal amount of logistics. While multiple relationships existed prior to the survey, RMEF was the glue to help implement the project,” as stated in the award documentation.


RMEF and the two government partners along with the state agencies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to enhance Eastside pine, aspen and sage steppe habitats. The projects that have been implemented by both agencies for elk habitat have had benefits that spill over to a myriad of species, including mule deer, greater sage grouse and northern goshawk.

Blake Henning (below), vice president of Lands and Conservation, accepted the award in behalf of RMEF volunteers and staff in California.

Rob Harper (USFS), Chief Tom Tidwell (USFS), Tim Bowden (BLM), Blake Henning (RMEF), Greg Schroer (USFS),
Brian Ferebee (USFS), and Steve Small (BLM)
(left to right)


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