RMEF Hires for the Growing Business of Stewardship

MISSOULA, Mont.–With federal forestlands choking for management, agencies strapped by budget cuts and other constraints–and with elk and other wildlife caught in the middle–the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) is positioning for a new way of making habitat conservation happen.

RMEF is announcing the hiring of Dale Kerkvliet of Newport, Ore., as its new director of habitat stewardship services.

Kerkvliet will spearhead a growing emphasis on RMEF stewardship contracting and other agreements with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The documents allow the agencies to hire RMEF as a contractor for forest thinning, grassland and aspen restoration and other habitat management projects. These services are then traded for the value of wood products harvested as part of the work for wildlife. [Read more…]

Partnership Reaches $1 Million in Conservation for Wyoming



MISSOULA, Mont.—A partnership between the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has reached the $1 million mark in projects for elk, other wildlife and their habitat in Wyoming.

Trust funds are generated by a tax on oil exploration in Wyoming. A nine-member, governor-appointed board of directors administers contributions to groups like RMEF.

Since 2006, the Trust has supported Elk Foundation habitat projects such as prescribed burns, aspen restorations, water developments and more. Eleven counties in Wyoming have benefitted including Big Horn, Carbon, Converse, Crook, Hot Springs, Laramie, Lincoln, Natrona, Park, Sublette and Weston. Most of the work has enhanced Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands.

Additional funding commitments to RMEF have expanded the slate of projects for 2009.

Trust Executive Director Bob Budd said, “Habitat-based groups like the Elk Foundation are highly effective in a variety of ways, from building support for conservation to actually putting the torch to invasive conifers. We really enjoy seeing the passion of sportsmen translate to better habitat on the landscapes of Wyoming. It is an honor for us to work with this great organization.”

RMEF supplements Trust contributions through its own granting program, which is based in banquets and other fundraisers held across Wyoming. Partners like the Wyoming Game and Fish Department are often involved, too.

Jack Blackwell, vice president of lands and conservation for the Elk Foundation, said, “Bob Budd and everyone at the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust are among the most engaged people that we work with. Under board chairman Delaine Roberts’ leadership, they carefully review each project application and at least one board member visits every project to build their understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s very rewarding when they provide support and enable us to accomplish our mission. As an organization, we can’t thank them enough.”

At an April meeting, Blackwell and RMEF colleagues presented plaques recognizing the successful partnership with Budd and the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust.