October 24, 2017
2,132 Acres of Habitat Protected at Wapiti Ridge, Wyoming
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Natural Resources Conservation Service worked with a private landowner to permanently protect 2,132 acres of wildlife habitat in southeast Wyoming.
“This conservation easement maintains large-scale habitat connectivity in a portion of Wyoming that benefits a wide range of wildlife including elk, mule deer, turkey and plains sharp-tailed grouse,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.
“Through partnerships between the NRCS, private landowners, and lands trusts such as the RMEF, conservation through easements will continue into perpetuity, allowing future generations the opportunity to enjoy open spaces and wildlife,” said Astrid Martinez, state conservationist, NRCS Wyoming.
The landscape features native rangeland, sage brush steppe, several springs and stands of Ponderosa pine, cottonwood and box elder. That habitat translates into vital year-round and winter range for up to 500 elk.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, Wyoming Governors Big Game License Coalition, Wyoming Game and Fish and RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) provided funding for the project.
“We are grateful to landowners like these who understand the importance of their property’s habitat resource values while carefully managing their land and water for wildlife and livestock alike,” added Henning.
This conservation easement shares three linear miles of its southern border with the 2013 RMEF Cottonwood Creek project that permanently protects 3,329 acres of elk habitat and buffers nearby Bureau of Land Management and Wyoming state lands.
RMEF uses TFE funding solely to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.