MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $114,008 in grants to fund 17 conservation and hunting heritage projects in New Mexico. That funding leveraged an additional $343,760 in partner funding put on the ground to benefit elk and other wildlife.
“New Mexico is an extremely arid region where water often comes at a premium. That’s why three of our projects focus on improving wildlife water sources,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Our grants also fund additional conservation work that enhances habitat by removing encroaching pinion and junipers while also applying prescribed burns on the landscape.”
The grants fund projects in Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Curry, De Baca, Eddy, Lea, Lincoln, McKinley, Otero, Quay, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, Sandoval, San Juan, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Torrance and Valencia Counties. There are also three projects of statewide benefit.
There are 15 RMEF chapters and more than 4,200 members in New Mexico.
“The only reason this funding is available is because of the dedicated work of our volunteers,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “They generated the funds by donating their time and talents to host banquets, fundraising drives and other events. We appreciate and salute them for their efforts.”
Below is a sampling of RMEF’s New Mexico projects, listed by county:
- Thin 175 acres of pinon-juniper, ponderosa pine and mountain mahogany within selected canyon bottoms, swales and ridges on Bureau of Land Management lands to enhance wildlife habitat within the Pelona Mountain landscape.
- Provide funding for a scientific study to gain a better understanding of predator-prey dynamics on the Gila National Forest in New Mexico and Arizona. RMEF volunteers assisted researchers who placed GPS collars on adult female elk and calves in an area where the Mexican gray wolf population more than tripled over the last decade. Findings will assist wildlife managers with making future decisions (also benefits Socorro and Sierra Counties).
- Provide funding and volunteer manpower to replace a wind-damaged wildlife water guzzler in the Smokey Bear Ranger District on the Lincoln National Forest. The site serves important elk winter range and also benefits mule deer, pronghorn, turkey and other wildlife species.
Rio Arriba County
- Prescribe burn 1,000 acres on the Santa Fe National Forest as part of a landscape-scale effort to enhance wildlife habitat and improve overall forest health across the Cuba, Coyote and Jemez Ranger Districts (also benefits Sandoval County).
Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 422 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in New Mexico with a combined value of more than $44.2 million. These projects protected or enhanced 533,455 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 109,296 acres.
RMEF’s 2019 New Mexico project partners include the Gila, Lincoln and Santa Fe National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and university, sportsmen and other groups.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded 35 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.5 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org, elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.