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Elk foundation pumping $314K into research, habitat projects

Apr 13, 2017 The Associated Press

MISSOULA, Mont.--The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $314,629 in grant funding to assist with elk research, habitat enhancement, permanent land protection and improving public access in Wyoming.

The grants benefit 42,586 acres across Albany, Big Horn, Campbell, Carbon, Converse, Fremont, Johnson, Hot Springs, Lincoln, Park, Sheridan, Sublette, Sweetwater, Teton and Washakie Counties. There is also one project of statewide benefit.

Highlighted projects, listed by county:

Carbon County--Enhance 11,278 acres of critical winter range and summer range for elk and mule deer near Baggs via noxious weed treatment, removal of encroaching junipers, thinning serviceberry and removal of sagebrush from aspen stands in an area used by 3,000 mule deer.

Park County--Provide additional funding for a multi-year migration study that follows elk from low-elevation winter ranges on the east and southern slopes of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to high-elevation summer ranges mostly within Yellowstone National Park with its findings expected to guide future on-the-ground conservation efforts (also benefits Teton and Fremont Counties).

Sublette County--Provide funding for a conservation easement on the Hoback Rim in northern Sublette County bordering the Bridger-Teton National Forest and an existing RMEF conservation easement thus protecting vital wildlife habitat.

Sweetwater County--Provide funding to assist with the capture and collaring of elk calves as an extension of the Deer-Elk Ecology Research Project that began in 2015.

to determine why elk populations are growing in southwest Wyoming while mule deer populations are struggling.

Statewide--Continue sponsorship of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Access Yes Program that seeks to secure access for hunters and anglers to private lands across the state.

Wyoming project partners include the Bighorn, Bridger-Teton, Medicine Bow and Shoshone National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game and Fish Department and private landowners as well as sportsmen, government, civic, universities and other organizations.

"Critical research will aid wildlife managers in learning more about elk populations, their forage needs and the importance of both public and private land in migratory patterns within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem," said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. "RMEF funding will also assist with a wide range of habitat enhancement work and in bolstering public access efforts."

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 668 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wyoming with a combined value of more than $129.6 million. These projects conserved or enhanced 1,105,360 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 151,548 acres.

RMEF volunteers in Wyoming raised the grant funding by carrying out banquets, membership drives and other events.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 220,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 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 www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK. Take action: join and/or donate.

State gets fed grant to help coal jobless

CHEYENNE (AP) -- The State of Wyoming has been awarded up to $2 million in federal funds to retrain workers in the northeast part of the state who lost their jobs in the coal industry.

The money can be used to assist those who worked directly for coal companies or indirectly in manufacturing and transportation businesses associated with coal.

Wyoming is the nation's top coal-producing state by far, but industry slowdowns have cut employment in the industry. Three Wyoming coal companies have filed for bankruptcy, although one now is emerging from it under an approved plan.

Workers in Campbell, Converse, Crook, Johnson, Niobrara, Sheridan and Weston counties are eligible for the new grant funds.

Eligible individuals can receive up to $6,500 toward the cost of a retraining program.

Resources and information about the program are available at state Department of Workforce Services centers.

Wyoming recent;y created a web-based "jobs pipeline" to help energy sector workers who recently lost their jobs directly connect with potential employers.

The service allows workers to complete a simple web-based form that adds their contact information and skills to a database employers can directly access through a secure login to find a match.

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2017-10-18