Elk NetworkInvasive Weed Management in the Salmon River Corridor, Idaho – Restoring Elk Country

Conservation | June 7, 2021

Idaho’s Salmon River Canyon features a variety of scenic landscapes including wooded ridges, steep sidehills and towering rocky formations.  

It is one of the deepest gorges in North America, even deeper than the Grand Canyon.  

And its habitat is heavily used winter range for elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep. 

Unfortunately, weeds crept in over the years, transforming what was a shrub-dominated landscape into infestations of cheatgrass, spotted knapweed and other invasive plants that degrade or eliminate wildlife forage. 

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has a long history of actively working to improve habitat in the Salmon River corridor. 

Dating back to 1994 and as recently as 2020, RMEF provided more than $195,000 in funding that leveraged an additional 1.4 million in partner dollars to carry out 22 different invasive weed projects in the immediate region. 

Those projects range from backpack spraying and releasing root-boring weevils to aerial spraying and supplemental seeding. 

Treatment areas include the Frank Church River of No Return and Gospel Hump Wilderness Areas, Nez Perce-Clearwater, Payette (pay-ETT’) and Salmon-Challis (CHAL’-iss) National Forests, and privately owned lands. 

Because of these efforts, more than 16,000 acres of Salmon River corridor habitat now provide enhanced and vital nutrition for elk and other wildlife.