Photo by Steve Martarano, USFWS
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has set aside two areas in California – one, near Pinnacles National Park southeast of San Jose; the other, in Siskiyou County in the Little Shasta Valley – among a group of Western locations to be protected as elk habitat.
Here’s the full RMEF release:
MISSOULA, Mont.—Shortly before the ball dropped to ring in 2015, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation closed the deal on seven different land projects in four states that permanently protect and conserve 10,565 acres of vital elk habitat. Three of the projects, two in Montana and one in North Dakota, create 3,601 acres of new public access and enhance access to thousands of more acres of public lands.
“We appreciate these conservation-minded landowners and our conservation partners who worked with the RMEF to protect and maintain this crucial habitat for elk and other wildlife,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation.
Four of the projects are voluntary conservation easement agreements between landowners and the RMEF to permanently protect habitat on private acreage for the benefit of wildlife. The other three are land acquisitions. RMEF purchased ownership of two Montana properties which will be conveyed to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) and contributed funds toward a North Dakota Game and Fish Department acquisition.
“These Montana and North Dakota projects are a win-win for wildlife and those who enjoy the outdoors. What was once private land that benefits a wide array of species is now permanently protected and will be added to expand three existing wildlife management areas,” added Henning.
A few more details on the two California areas protected:
Morellini Creek Conservation Easement, California
The Philip S. Berry estate donated a conservation easement to the RMEF on approximately 2,500 acres of Tule elk habitat south of California’s Pinnacles National Park (previously National Monument). The easement will protect the property’s natural oak, grass, and scrub ecosystem and continue to provide habitat for its small resident Tule elk herd as well as black-tailed deer and a wide variety of wildlife.
Little Shasta – Fogg Gulch Conservation Easement, California
RMEF teamed up with the California Department of Fish and Game, the California Wildlife Conservation Board and a committed landowner to permanently protect 640 acres of prime elk habitat in north-central California. The ranch is located on rolling foothills with seasonal drainages in Little Shasta Valley. The easement will protect important Roosevelt elk habitat, including riparian areas, that is also used by antelope, black-tailed deer, mule deer and other wildlife.