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RMEF, partners contribute to benefit Nevada elk habitat

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners doled out $295,830 in grant funding to improve wildlife habitat and enhance Nevada’s hunting heritage, directly granting $66,500 and leveraging an additional $229,330 in partner dollars.

“This grant funding helps address the invasion of pinyon and juniper trees continually pushing their way into historic grasslands and sagebrush steppe habitats,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Removing or thinning this encroaching growth will improve forage for elk and a wide array of other wildlife species.”

Nevada is home to approximately 4,000 RMEF members and 12 chapters across the state.

“We thank our volunteers, who raised funding by hosting fundraising events, membership drives and other activities,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Without them, this work would not take place on the scale that it does.”

Since 1988, RMEF and its partners completed 264 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Nevada with a combined value of more than $20.7 million. These projects protected or enhanced 441,366 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 30,625 acres.

In Humboldt County, RMEF provided funding for Nevada Outdoor School to host youth camps that help strengthen outdoor skills and ethics and provide recreational opportunities and team building for participants in grades pre-K through 10th.

In Nye County, RMEF helped thin pinyon and juniper trees encroaching on 717 acres of sagebrush habitat in the Cloverdale Summit area within the Austin-Tonopah Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The project reduces the likelihood of intense wildfire and the spread of invasive species while increasing water availability. It benefits elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, greater sage grouse and other wildlife.

Also, pinyon and junipers encroaching on 2,152 acres of sagebrush steppe habitat were thinned in the Indian Valley area within the Austin-Tonopah Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. It is adjacent to the project mentioned above with similar benefits.

RMEF provided funding to stock ponds with fish for the Rotary Club of Tonopah’s annual fishing day derby. RMEF volunteers also assist with stocking, registration, providing instruction and help for participants.

In White Pine County, funds helped thin or remove encroaching conifers across 1,200 acres of sagebrush steppe and mountain brush on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management near the historic mining town of Cherry Creek.

Partners include the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and sportsmen, conservation and business groups as well as private citizens.

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