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

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wildfire-Scarred Landscape Gets a Helping Hand

Ritter photo
In July of 2007 lightning strikes ignited six wildfires in south-central Idaho and north-central Nevada. Strong winds teamed up with hot, dry conditions to fuel the flames which created the Murphy Complex Wildfire. Together, the wildfires charred an estimated 652,000 acres and caused extensive damage to natural resources including shrub communities that provide vital calving habitat and thermal cover for elk and other big game species.

Fast forward to several years later and the landscape is still in the process of recovery but the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation joined forces with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) to help Mother Nature get back on track. In 2014, RMEF supplied funding to grow and plant 20,000 bitterbrush seedlings. Two years later, RMEF funds helped cover the cost of the contract to grow and plant the shrub seedlings. 

In mid-October, 2016, crews hand-planted approximately 193,000 Wyoming big sagebrush seedlings over a 4,700-acre area along the Jarbidge River Canyon in the affected burn area. The project is a continuation of BLM and IDFG efforts that, so far, planted more than 213,000 sagebrush and bitterbrush seedlings on more than 5,400 acres of BLM-administered lands in the wildfire zone. 

The hands-on work is a demonstration of RMEF’s commitment to its conservation mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 487 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Idaho with a combined value of more than $63.5 million. These projects have protected or enhanced 426,900 acres of habitat and have opened or secured public access to 24,147 acres.

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