Elk NetworkRMEF Helps Recognize Standout Conservation Partners

News Releases | March 9, 2011

March 9, 2011

RMEF Helps Recognize Standout Conservation Partners

MISSOULA, Mont.—Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service employees in five states—California, Montana, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming—have earned recognition for standout work to enhance and conserve habitat for elk and other wildlife.

Each has received a special award from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and their respective agency for conservation efforts in partnership with RMEF.

“These awards honor some of the finest people and efforts in wildlife conservation today,” said Blake Henning, vice president of lands and conservation for RMEF. “We’re proud to call these BLM and U.S. Forest Service professionals our partners because they’re helping us make a real difference in elk country.”

RMEF works with many partners, none more prominent than BLM and the U.S. Forest Service. Lands owned or managed by these federal agencies provide habitat for most elk in the U.S., as well as the most opportunities for elk hunters and other recreationists.

The awards were presented during the annual RMEF convention, which ended March 6 in Reno, Nev.

Honorees include:

RMEF/BLM Elk Conservation Awards

Habitat Enhancement Award
Wyoming—The BLM Rawlins Field Office was recognized for habitat enhancement over the past five years. Projects have included prescribed burns, mechanical thinning, water developments, fence removal and modification, riparian and spring protection, and radio telemetry studies to determine elk habitat use. The prescribed burns improved more than 8,000 acres of habitat including native winter range in an area where elk had previously consumed poisonous lichen causing significant herd losses.

Individual Achievement Award
Wyoming—Jim Wolf, resource advisor for the BLM Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Office was recognized for conservation leadership for more than 12 years. Recreational access and travel management have helped reduce human impacts to habitat and provide a wider variety of recreational use. Prescribed burning and mechanical thinning have helped restore aspen and sagebrush. Wildlife conflicts on private land have been reduced yet elk populations have steadily increased, providing improved hunting opportunities.

RMEF/U.S. Forest Service Elk Country Awards

Elk Country Award
Wisconsin—The Great Divide Ranger District on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest was recognized for extensive elk habitat improvements. While studies showed this area’s habitat was generally good, increasing upland conifer and hardwoods were slowly impacting forage areas within the Clam Lake herd’s core range and buffer area. The District in 2004 committed to improvements. More than 500 acres of open habitat have been inventoried and 200 acres have been maintained and enhanced on a 4-5 year cycle.

Partner Coordination Award
California—Marty Yamagiwa of the Modoc National Forest was recognized for long-term efforts to coordinate elk habitat enhancement and wildlife management projects for Region 5. Yamagiwa serves as the agency representative on the RMEF Project Advisory Committee. He has taken the lead on producing public displays and posters highlighting partnership accomplishments. He also has produced short videos for use at RMEF chapter meetings and fundraisers to highlight the partnership’s conservation successes.

Habitat Enhancement Award
Washington—The Newport and Sullivan Lake ranger districts were recognized for long-term commitment to maintain and enhance elk habitat on the Colville National Forest. This unit has completed 28 prescribed burn projects totaling 7,724 acres and six aspen restoration projects totaling 285 acres. It has reduced open road densities and improved elk security with innovative techniques that received good public support. The unit also continues a noxious weed program to improve forage for elk and other wildlife.

Individual Achievement Award
Montana—Scott Tomson, wildlife biologist on the Seeley Ranger District of the Lolo National Forest was recognized for conservation leadership over the past nine years. He served on the RMEF Project Advisory Committee, consults with other biologists, coordinates with other agencies, universities and organizations, and even hosts field trips to highlight wildlife habitat projects. Tomson also helped initiate a 10-year stewardship agreement with RMEF that will treat wildlife habitat on 85,000 acres.