MISSOULA, Mont. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has received a special Prairie Partner Award in honor of its exceptional habitat work for elk and other wildlife on the Cimarron National Grassland in Kansas.
The award was presented by the National Grassland Council, a joint committee of the U.S. Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Since 1989, thanks to RMEF volunteers raising funds across Kansas, the organization has helped complete 21 conservation projects on the Cimarron, an effort valued at more than $700,000. Projects have included relocating elk, enhancing more than 38,000 acres of habitat, improving water sources, restoring riparian areas and researching elk behavior.
Joe Hartman, district ranger at Cimarron National Grassland, said, “RMEF has truly been a great partner in re-establishing and managing elk in the Great Plains.”
RMEF Regional Director Bill Kenney accepted the Prairie Partner Award in May from National Grassland Council chairperson Tony Dixon.
“This recognition will be displayed proudly at our headquarters but what it signifies is a spirit of conservation and volunteerism that is uniquely Kansas,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Many people forget that elk are native to the Great Plains. The remnant herds that remain in America’s heartland are part of a heritage that inspires a special kind of passion among conservationists.”
At one time, the Cimarron National Grassland elk herd topped 150 animals, but today is managed at about 50 animals.
Conservation grants for 2010 will be allocated in Kansas later this year.