The Kansas chapters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation have received a coveted national award for their work on the Cimarron National Grassland in southwest Kansas.
The National Grassland Council awarded the conservation group a special Prairie Partner Award. The council is a committee of the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The Elk Foundation has been raising funds amid Kansas chapters since 1989 to help with projects on the grasslands for elk and other wildlife. About $700,000 has been raised. To date about 21 projects have impacted about 40,000 acres via research programs, improving water resources and restoring riparian areas.
Once native to most prairie areas, elk were largely gone from the plains by the early 1900s. The herd re-introduced to the grasslands in the 1980s has reached as high as 150 animals. The current population is estimated to be about 50 elk.
For more information on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation go to www.rmef.org.