Hunters’ Dollars to Fund Big Game Conservation and Management Projects
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has awarded $1.1 million in grants for big game conservation projects in Fiscal Year 2016-2017.
The Big Game Grant Program (BGGP), which allocates funds generated by big-game hunters through the purchase of tags for sheep, bear, deer, pronghorn antelope and wild pig, identified 15 proposals for projects that will benefit big-game populations and the habitats upon which they depend.
“This year we are funding some exceptional studies that will broaden our knowledge and understanding of the unique needs of elk and sheep,” said Craig Stowers, CDFW’s Big Game Program Manager. “Other projects will help restore crucial habitat for deer and other wildlife, and provide water sources necessary for their survival. All of these proposals have been identified as an appropriate use of hunter dollars. Their funding goes directly to benefit and sustain the wildlife populations they hunt.”
The projects are selected and budget approved by a public advisory committee. Funded proposals must reflect the grantees’ dedication to big game conservation and management and meet a series of criteria, including increased hunting opportunity. Awards approved for 2016-2017 include:
- Three grants totaling $277,000 to Oregon State University and the California chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation for several studies on the effects of pneumonia and respiratory disease in Desert Bighorn Sheep.
- A $29,000 grant to the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep to develop water sources for wildlife on isolated parcels of land in the Mojave Desert.
- A $205,000 grant to Humboldt State University to study Roosevelt elk populations in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
- Four grants totaling $127,000 to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to study elk populations in Modoc and Siskiyou counties.
- A $27,000 grant to the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep to refill dried-up water guzzlers for wildlife in rural areas.
- Two grants totaling $160,000 to the Mendocino County Blacktail Association to remove fir trees and improve forage and cover for deer in Mendocino, Glenn and Humboldt counties.
- A $54,000 grant to CalFauna to conduct a prescribed burn in the Stanislaus National Forest and to document revegetation that will benefit wildlife.
- An $81,000 grant to the Mule Deer Foundation to restore riparian meadows near Little Rattlesnake Creek in the Stanislaus National Forest.
- A $150,000 grant to the California Deer Association to reconstruct and maintain watering devices for wildlife in the northern part of the state.
Grant monies awarded to the California chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation will allow the continuation of an ongoing study of the spread and consequences of respiratory disease for bighorn sheep in the eastern Mojave Desert. In addition to conserving and enhancing wild sheep populations, the nonprofit is committed to educating the public about sustainable use and the conservation benefits of hunting.
“We could not have funded this three-year sheep study without the support from the Big Game Management Account,” said Kyle Meintzer, an avid outdoorsman and bow hunter who serves on the Board of Directors for the Wild Sheep Foundation. “The BGGP shows the importance and value of hunters and the dollars their licenses and tags provide for wildlife management and conservation.”
The Big Game Management Account and BGGP were created by the California Legislature in 2010 (currently Fish and Game Code, section 3953). Since the inception of the BGGP, more than $5 million has gone to such projects. More information about the BGGP can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/grants/big-game.