Foundation Donates $1.1M for Habitat, Research Projects

The Mule Deer Foundation is providing more than $1.1 million for habitat projects and mule deer research in Utah, a record amount a wildlife conservation group has contributed in a single year to the Utah Watershed Restoration Initiative.

Utah's biologists are keeping an eye on state mule deer populations this winter. (Photo: Brent Stettler)

Utah’s biologists are keeping an eye on state mule deer populations this winter. (Photo: Brent Stettler)

The money is generated from the sale of Utah Conservation Permits (Governor’s Tags) and money raised from the 200 Big Game Tag drawing held at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City in February.

“MDF is proud to contribute to the continued success of Utah’s Conservation Permit program, and we are seeing many successes from the dollars that have been dedicated toward habitat restoration,” said Miles Moretti, MDF President & CEO. “Utah’s mule deer population is the highest it has been in over 20 years, and that is a direct result of the investments made through this program.”

A variety of projects were funded that will benefit mule deer, elk, antelope, moose, turkeys and sage grouse throughout the five Utah Division of Wildlife Resources administrative regions. Specific habitat improvement projects will include the removal of encroaching pinyon pines and juniper; development of water resources and guzzlers; fencing freeways to eliminate deer/vehicle collisions; and continuation of the successful urban deer transplant program.

Money also will be used for research on survival rates of mule deer fawns and adults, as well as the effects of habitat treatments on mule deer. In addition to the habitat and research projects, continued funding for the joint MDF/DWR habitat stewardship position.

“This $1.1 million was raised in Utah and had to be spent in Utah, but MDF is committed to raise funds for mule deer and black-tailed deer habitat restoration projects throughout the West,” Moretti continued. “We have already spent a record amount for these projects this year and will continue to find ways to invest in the future of these icons of the West.”

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