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Enhancing Wildlife Migration Corridors in SE Montana

The Montana’s Outdoor Legacy Foundation (MOLF) has received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to focus on improving elk, mule deer and pronghorn migratory movements in southeast Montana. The grant provides MOLF and partners a total of $275,000 for priority work identified over the next two years. MOLF and our partners will contribute roughly an additional $1 million in matching funds and in-kind support.

“We are excited to work alongside our partners and private landowners to improve the migration of big game in Montana,” said Mitch King, Executive Director, Montana Outdoor Legacy Foundation. “We know where movements are inhibited and where habitats pose challenges, this funding allows us to put the research into action.”

In 2022, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department (FWP) identified five critical migration focus areas and supported research on big game movements to locate impediments impacting wildlife movements as well as areas where habitat degradation has fragmented wildlife movement and production. MOLF and the partners will use this research as the blueprint to remove or modify impediments and work to enhance grassland habitats important to wildlife and big game migration.

“Wildlife research is key to proper management, but without action that utilizes the information gained during the research to improve the landscape for those wildlife species we fall short in helping conserve the wildlife which we all love, said Brett Dorak, Miles City Wildlife Manager for FWP. “Being able to work with NFWF, MOLF, private landowners, and the other partners with these funds will help us address some key impediments to wildlife movements we have identified and improve access to critical habitats that pronghorn, elk, and mule deer require throughout all portions of the year for their survival now and into the future.”

MOLF’s southeast Montana project is a partnership between MOLF, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), FWP, BLM, FS and local ranchers & landowners. The project area includes four counties in southeast Montana (Custer, Carter, Rosebud and Powder River). As much of the project area is on private land, the ranching community in the area will play a key role in project implementation. MOLF and the other project partners will work with the agriculture community to identify cooperative projects to ensure that any work performed through the grant will not preclude the area’s traditional ranching and farming activities.

One of 13 projects selected by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the grants will provide nearly $4 million in funding across the western U.S. to secure key migration paths and restore rangeland habitats for elk, mule deer and pronghorn. These grants were awarded through the Western Big Game Seasonal Habitat and Migration Corridors Fund, a partnership between NFWF, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and ConocoPhillips, with additional funding this year from the Bezos Earth Fund.

MOLF is the non-profit partner of MT FWP. Our primary mission is to provide support to FWP for their highest priority endeavors. To learn more about MOLF please visit MTOUTDOORLEGACY.ORG or contact Mitch King (MOLF Executive Director at or call at 303-585-0377.