December 29, 2010
RMEF Grants Herald Milestones in South Dakota
MISSOULA, Mont.—When the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded its 2010 grants for conservation and education in South Dakota, the funding heralded three new milestones. The organization has now helped complete over 170 different projects in the state with a combined value topping $31 million—and impacting more than 58,000 acres.
The 2010 grants from RMEF totaled $56,300.
“Since 1984, these grants have been possible because of the successful banquets and fundraisers staged by our South Dakota volunteers—most of whom are elk hunters as well as devoted conservationists,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “The cumulative impact of this funding, combined with that of our partners, has meant truly great things for wildlife and wild places in South Dakota.”
Highlights over the years have included projects to ensure the future of wildlife habitat, public access, working farms and ranches in the Black Hills, most recently in the Wildcat Canyon, Sawyer Memorial Park and Spring Valley areas.
RMEF grants for 2010 helped fund the following projects:
Black Hills Elk Research—In Custer State Park, researchers initiated a new research project to evaluate elk nutrition, reproduction and survival. Information will be used to project elk populations and determine proportionate numbers of hunting licenses.
Butte County 4-H Shooting Sports—Provide sponsorship for an activity that teaches safe and responsible use of firearms and marksmanship skills.
Galena Prescribed Burn—In Custer State Park, prescribe burn 1,979 acres in the 1988 Galena wildfire area to improve native grasses, limit weeds, remove debris, thin conifers and enhance woody shrubs and trees. Ultimately, the burn will improve forage for elk.
Outdoor Campus West Interpretive Displays—In Rapid City, S.D., provide sponsorship for a “Sportsmen as Conservationists” exhibit at Outdoor Campus West to outline the role of sportsmen in wildlife and natural resource management.
South Dakota Youth Hunting Adventures—Provide sponsorship for mentored youth hunting and conservation education opportunities.
South Dakota 2011 Outdoor Expo—Provide sponsorship for an annual family event, June 11-12, 2011, that teaches understanding and appreciation of conservation and outdoor recreation.
Spring Valley II Acquisition—Complete 2009 purchase and transfer of 212 acres in Custer County to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks for permanent protection of wildlife values and public access.
Habitat projects were selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities. A committee of RMEF field staff and volunteers selected education projects.
Partners for 2010 projects in South Dakota included the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, U.S. Forest Service, other agencies, organizations and landowners.