LA GRANDE, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Access and Habitat Program has awarded the Blue Mountains Elk Initiative a $100,000 grant to fund projects that improve elk management on private lands in the Blue Mountains region of northeast Oregon.
The A&H grant funds are dedicated for projects on private lands because private lands make up about half of the area covered by BMEI and contain a substantial amount of elk habitat. Typical elk habitat projects include grazing management programs, controlled burns, fencing projects, juniper management and invasive non-native plant control.
Created in 1990, the Blue Mountains Elk Initiative is a cooperative effort composed of federal, state, local, tribal and private agencies and organizations, including ODFW. BMEI addresses elk management issues in Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Baker, Grant, Morrow, Crook, Harney and Malheur counties.
The Blue Mountains’ population of about 55,000 elk is among the largest populations of Rocky Mountain elk in the world. Over the past 15 years, BMEI has coordinated more than 300 projects and invested over $6 million to improve habitat on 2 million acres of land.
The A&H Program is funded by a $2 surcharge on hunting licenses. Funds raised by the program are distributed through grants to individual and corporate landowners, conservation organizations and others for cooperative wildlife habitat improvement and hunter access projects throughout the state.
For additional information on ODFW’s role in the Blue Mountains Elk Initiative contact Mark Henjum at 541-663-6768.
For information on the A&H Program call program coordinator Matt Keenan at 503-947-6087 or visit the website at www.dfw.state.or.us/AH/.