Improvements Coming to South Dakota Elk Country

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MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $104,367 in grant funding to assist with elk research as well as habitat stewardship and hunting heritage projects in South Dakota.



The grants fund 19 projects across Aurora, Beadle, Brookings, Butte, Charles Mix, Codington, Custer, Deuel, Hand, Jerauld, Kingsbury, Lake, Lawrence, Lyman, Moody, Pennington, and Sanborn Counties. There is also one project of statewide benefit.



Ongoing research allows biologists and managers to gain increased insight into elk survival and mortality,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Among other things, this funding will also assist with the installation of pipeline, tanks and guzzlers that supply water to wildlife in a particularly dry region of South Dakota.”



RMEF volunteers raised the grant funding through banquets, membership drives and other activities which is put back on the ground in their home state and across elk country.



Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 266 different conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in South Dakota with a combined value of more than $36.1 million.



Here is a sampling of the 2016 projects, listed by county:



Custer County—Provide funding for year-two of research designed to monitor cow elk survival and mortality on the Black Hills National Forest by replacing 20-30 collars and increasing the overall sample size from 100 to 100 animals (also benefits Pennington and Lawrence Counties); and provide funding for the installation of eight miles of pipeline, 12 stock tanks and two water guzzlers as part of a multi-phase project that, when completed, will provide water to approximately 60,500 acres in the remote Elk Mountain area of the Black Hills National Forest.



Lawrence County—Remove four miles of old fencing to benefit wildlife movement and construct exclosures around two acres of hardwood stands to help recruit new growth on Bureau of Land Management lands.



Lyman County—Provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding to assist the Step Outside 2016 Youth Deer Hunt which introduces first-time youth and non-hunting parents into the outdoors to learn about firearm safety, basic deer hunting skills, field dressing and proper care of deer for consumption.



Pennington County—Apply noxious weed treatment to 40 acres along an extensive system of trails and roads within the Elk Creek and Butte Creek watersheds on the Black Hills National Forest to benefit elk and other wildlife.



Statewide—Provide funding to expand South Dakota’s Elk Hunting Access Program so more privately-held land within Hunt Unit 3 is available to public hunting.



Go here for a complete project listing.

South Dakota project partners include the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, Black Hills National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and private landowners as well as sportsmen, government, civic and other organizations.



RMEF uses TFE funding solely to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

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