California Conservation Projects to Receive RMEF Grants

California Conservation Projects to Receive RMEF Grants

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

MISSOULA, Mont. –-( Wildlife conservation and public education projects in 16 California counties–including a 339-acre land acquisition in Santa Clara County to conserve habitat and eventually open public access east of San Jose, Calif.–have been selected to receive grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in 2010.

The new RMEF funding, totaling $229,425, will directly affect Del Norte, Fresno, Humboldt, Kern, Merced, Modoc, Monterey, Placer, Plumas, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, Shasta, Tehama, Trinity and Tuolumne counties.

Several projects also have statewide interest.

The 339-acre acquisition, called the San Antonio Valley II project, is historic habitat for an area herd of more than 200 tule elk. In 2006, RMEF and partners permanently protected 2,900 adjoining acres in danger of residential development. Today those lands are a state wildlife management area. The San Antonio Valley II project will expand that area in the future. RMEF is holding the property until the state can gather funding to reimburse RMEF and take title.

The Nature Conservancy and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation provided key support for the project.

Still, San Antonio Valley II almost didn’t happen when funding from another source fell through. RMEF steered $95,000 in volunteer-raised funds to keep the project alive. This grant was the largest of 23 awarded in California this year.

“All of these grants are possible because of the successful banquets and fundraisers staged over the past year by our California volunteers–most of whom are elk hunters as well as devoted conservationists,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Since 1984, our annual grants have helped complete 390 different projects in California with a combined value of more than $23 million.”

RMEF grants will help fund the following projects, listed by county:

  • Fresno County–Provide sponsorship for California 2010 Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Program to engage women in outdoor recreation and conservation (open to women statewide).
  • Humboldt County–Remove encroaching conifers from oak woodlands and native prairies with prescribed fire to improve forage for Roosevelt’s elk in Lack’s Creek area of BLM lands; conduct elk population surveys on property owned by Green Diamond Resource Company and open for public hunting access (also affects Del Norte County).
  • Merced County–Enhance habitat quality for tule elk by mowing and prescribed burning to control noxious weeds in San Luis National Wildlife Refuge; provide 2010 sponsorship for Los Banos Scholastic Clay Target Program to engage youths in shooting sports and conservation.
  • Modoc County–Install two new guzzlers to improve water availability for elk and other wildlife in Devil’s Garden area of Modoc National Forest; continue landscape scale underburn program to improve forage quality and quantity in Crowder Block area of Modoc National Forest.
  • Monterey County–Provide sponsorship for Fort Hunter Liggett 2010 Kids Trout Derby to engage youths in outdoor recreation and conservation.
  • Placer County–Provide sponsorship for Roseville High School Sportsmen’s Club, which in 2010 will field a trap team to compete in the California Scholastic Clay Target Program; provide sponsorship for Del Oro High School Sportsman Club to purchase ammunition and engage youths in shooting sports and conservation.
  • Plumas County–Provide sponsorship for the Quincy Sport Shooting Association junior trap league to engage youth in shooting sports and conservation.
  • San Bernardino County–Provide sponsorship for Five Star Junior Series Shoot to engage youths in shooting sports and conservation (also affects Kern County).
  • San Luis Obispo County–Provide sponsorship for the Chimineas Ranch 2010 Junior Elk Hunt to engage youths in outdoor recreation and conservation.
  • Santa Clara County–Provide funding for 339-acre land acquisition in San Antonio Valley west of San Jose, Calif. Property will be held by RMEF until it can be transferred to state ownership and opened for public access.
  • Shasta County–Improve forage for elk using prescribed fire in Green Mountain area of Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
  • Statewide–Provide helicopter crew safety training for California Department of Fish and Game staff involved in aerial wildlife management projects; provide 2010 sponsorship for California Council of Land Trusts; provide sponsorship for a Laser Shot System used to teach hunter safety by the California Hunter Education Instructor Association; sponsor California Waterfowl Association 2010 Youth Hunter Camps to engage students in outdoor recreation and conservation; sponsor California Outdoor Heritage Alliance for 2010 to promote wildlife and hunting interests; sponsor California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus 8th Annual Legislative Trap Shoot to build relationships between sportsmen and lawmakers.
  • Tehama County–Provide sponsorship for Rolling Hills Casino 6th Annual PBR Touring Pro Division Sporting Clay Shoot.
  • Trinity County–Provide sponsorship and volunteer assistance for a hunter education course to introduce newcomers to safety, ethics and conservation basics.
  • Tuolumne County–Provide sponsorship for Sonora High School 2009-10 Trap Club to engage youths in shooting sports and conservation.

Habitat projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities. Conservation education and hunting heritage projects are selected by RMEF field staff and volunteers.

Partners for 2010 projects in California include the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Forest Service, sportsmen associations and gun clubs, other organizations, corporations, schools and landowners.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.8 million acres–a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at or 800-CALL ELK