Elk Foundation donates $50,000 to ensure future of elk in Minnesota's tallgrass prairie
Thief River Falls, Minn. - Winter elk surveys conducted by the Minnesota DNR in 2005 show two elk herds that are healthy and growing, according to results announced at a recent Project Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) in Minnesota.
"A total of 112 elk including cows, calves and some nice bulls were observed from Minnesota's two flourishing elk herds, noted MN Volunteer State Chairman Tim Losinski. It is important to recognize that the Kittson County herd is a herd that moves between both Minnesota and Manitoba."
The herds inhabit two areas - north of the town of Grygla and in a broad expanse of northern Kittson County and adjacent southern Manitoba. Over the past five years, the border herd in Kittson County has grown substantially, according to DNR surveys.
Elk Foundation Regional Director Ralph Cinfio III says, "This goes to show that the RMEF and our partners are doing great things to ensure the future of elk in Minnesota, that we can restore and enhance habitat and conserve more land. To date, the RMEF and its partners have spent more than $500,000 in this state to benefit elk and other wildlife, like sandhill cranes, sharp-tailed grouse and moose that live on the tallgrass prairie."
RMEF dedicates more funding for 2005
At its spring PAC meeting, RMEF approved funding for a variety of conservation projects in Minnesota, ranging from prescribed burns, food plots, upland brush management, research, and conservation education. Project funding was made possible by the volunteer efforts in 12 chapters across Minnesota.
The Elk Foundation funded over $25,000 that will impact nearly 4,000 acres of Minnesota's primary elk range. Project proposals came from DNR, The Nature Conservancy, Becoming an Outdoors Woman and other RMEF partners. Over $13,000 from the Elk Foundation still remains to fund conservation and stewardship projects in Minnesota's elk range for 2005.
RMEF/Nature Conservancy partnership to study elk habitat
The Elk Foundation also committed $12,000 in funding to The Nature Conservancy to help fund a 15-year research project that will that will evaluate management practices used to set back aspen encroachment in tallgrass aspen parkland habitat. Maintaining open areas of tallgrass prairie is believed to be critical in maintaining Minnesota elk habitat. It also benefits other wildlife, like whitetail deer, bear and marbled godwit.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Now in its 20th year, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation already has conserved or enhanced more than 4 million acres ˆ an area 50 percent larger than Yellowstone National Park ˆ of habitat for elk and other wildlife. The organization boasts a record 140,000 members, 115,000 supporters and 10,000 volunteers. Working together these impassioned conservationists are on track to restore elk to long-empty native ranges, and ensure an elk country legacy for future generations. To learn more, visit www.elkfoundation.org
or call 1-800-CALL ELK.