Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto Win BLM/Forest Service 2019 National Conservation Award


Thanks to Som Sai for this!

RMEF has helped the BLM and Forest Service implement more than 4,300 wildlife habitat enhancement, land protection, and public access improvement projects. Such projects include aspen restoration, forest restoration thinning, prescribed fire, burned area restoration, planting, seeding, fence removal, and weed control to enhance more than firve million acres of wildlife habitat on federal public lands.

RMEF also facilitated BLM and Forest Service land and easement acquisitions through the nation’s Land and Water Conservation Fund to conserve wildlife habitat and improve public recreational access on federal lands. RMEF has directly contributed more than $36.6 million to both agencies to help fund wildlife and conservation projects. The combined total conservation value of the two agencies’ partnership with RMEF is estimated at more than $411 million.

The NRMG assists the Forest Service, BLM, and the State of Montana in cave inventory, monitoring, and management, with a focus on cave restoration, bat habitat monitoring, and preventing the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a deadly and highly infectious disease affecting bat populations across the U.S. NRMG is actively engaged in helping the agencies educate the public on bat conservation, including installing cave visitor register boxes, which provide information for cave visitors about clean caving practices, decontamination protocols, and reporting bat observations through the NRMG website. The organization also collaborates with Forest Service and BLM personnel and Bigfork High School Cave Club to establish cave climate monitoring, photo monitoring, and Visitor Impact Point monitoring across Montana.

“We are honored to receive this recognition for our conservation work that benefits elk and so many other wildlife species,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We appreciate our federal agency partners with whom we’ve worked shoulder-to-shoulder for years now and look forward to many more joint projects that permanently protect and enhance wildlife habitat, open or improve public access and benefit hunters, anglers and so many others who cherish our wild landscapes.”

“We’ve really enjoyed working with the FS and BLM since 2011. As many agencies are stretched thin with resources, it is imperative that we learn to work more effectively to help manage the outdoor resources we all care so much about,” said Ian Chechet, NRMG Chairman.

Som notes that

It seems as if the RMEF is apolitical. I’ve never heard them seem to endorse one party over another, they also seem to work with whatever administration is in power at the time, and to seemingly get along well with them. I’ve never heard of the RMEF being in disagreement with policies of any federal agency, perhaps if there are disagreements they are voiced quietly and not in public. I think their methods are to get along with federal officials at agencies, and to work with them, not against them.

One Example
The RMEF strategy might be to “catch people doing something right”. For example these quotes from a recent Colorado Public Radio piece on considering recreation when selling public land.

Several hunting and conservation groups voiced support for the action, including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Association of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies. But others said it appeared politically calculated to curry favor among lawmakers ahead of the hearing.

The critics pointed to drastic cuts in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects nationwide.

RMEF and State Fish and Wildlife Agencies simply say “this is a good thing”; NPCA “he’s only doing good things because his hearing is next week, and besides he works for the Trump administration and the proposed budget slashes the Congressionally popular LCWF.”

The Center For Western Priorities newsletter went even further..”Western Values Project Executive Director Chris Saeger went a step further, saying the order suggests that “under Bernhardt’s leadership, the sale or transfer of public lands is back on the table and appears to be a real possibility.”

4 thoughts on “Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto Win BLM/Forest Service 2019 National Conservation Award”

  1. If you search for “Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation” on this site you’d have to conclude that they are not “apolitical.” They lobby for public lands and active management, and against predators like wolves, and they are very pro-gun. They do seem to avoid conflicts with the federal agencies, and maybe that’s because there’s money going back and forth; the FS spends money on elk habitat (acquisition and improvement), and the RMEF funds a shared liaison position within the Forest Service.

    • I guess lobbying for what you want is part of being an interest group. And being a hunting group and being pro-gun (which sounds bad, doesn’t it, compared to pro-bow?) seems fairly predictable. They perhaps avoid saying bad things about administrations or agencies, which I find refreshing in the current climate.. and simply go about doing what needs to be done with whomever wants to partner with them. I call this the action/complaint ratio.

      Maybe they avoid conflict because they adhere to the ancient wisdom “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”.

  2. 3.2 million wildlife killed by USDA/WS in 2015 according to their own report. This figure does not include state takings. I prefer not to go into how this translates into a ratio vis a vis elk population decline because I want to remain refreshed by such Sterling groups such advtge RMEF.


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