Elk Management Strategy: Klamath National Forest


Purpose and Scope of this Strategy: There has not been a comprehensive strategy developed for the management of elk habitat on the Klamath National Forest. An earlier document (KNF, 1995) recorded the status of the elk reintroduction program and some efforts to improve isolated habitat conditions. That effort focused principally on habitats in the Elk Creek watershed (Happy Camp Ranger District) and the South Fork Salmon River watershed (Salmon River Ranger District) and catalogued locations of project activities cooperatively completed with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.The purpose of this strategy is to assess existing habitat conditions and provide guidance for restoring critical components and overall suitability of elk habitat. The strategy assumes that the current habitat quality may restrict population size, negatively affect animal condition, reproduction and survival, encourage elk to depredate on private property, and jeopardize public safety along roadways. There is limited research on mortality among local elk herds, but a study from the redwood region herd listed habitat quality (malnutrition) followed by poaching and motor vehicles as the leading causes of mortality (Harper et. al. 1967)This strategy uses available modeling tools to analyze existing seasonal elk habitat quantity, quality, condition, location, and interspersion to identify factors that may negatively affect elk herds. Identified habitat factors will be evaluated to determine if they can be modified to reduce their negative affect on elk. Habitat modifications will be modeled to determine locations where their application may have the greatest potential positive effect on elk habitats.It is recognized that habitat management alone is only one factor involving the management of elk. Many other factors, such as disease, predation, sport hunting and sex ratios have major affects on herd success. This document addresses only the habitat management components of a successful elk management strategy. Sport hunting is under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Fish and Game and is beyond the scope of this document.Provenance: Contributed to Sipnuuk Food Security Collection by Dan Sarna, PhD candidate at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management at UC Berkeley, in association with his dissertation research as well as his collaboration on Objective 12 of the AFRI Food Security grant.