Yellowstone Park Foundation donates $600,000 for wide range of projects

The Yellowstone Park Foundation has announced $600,000 in grants for a variety of projects in the park, including $85,000 toward a continuing five-year study of raptors that nest in or use Yellowstone. (Neil Mishler/USFWS)

The Yellowstone Park Foundation has announced $600,000 in grants for a variety of projects in the park, including $85,000 toward a continuing five-year study of raptors that nest in or use Yellowstone. (Neil Mishler/USFWS)

From Staff Reports

A host of diverse projects in Yellowstone National Park — including bat research, visitor safety initiatives and a scientific symposium on Old Faithful Geyser — will receive financial support this year from the Yellowstone Park Foundation, the park’s official fundraising partner.

The Foundation has announced $600,000 in new grants aimed at helping park managers, researchers and others achieve important goals that are not necessarily covered by the park’s $69.5 million annual budget.

Each year, Yellowstone’s superintendent submits proposals to the Yellowstone Park Foundation for projects that are unfunded or not fully funded by the National Park Service. The independent, nonprofit Foundation’s board decides on projects and funding.

Though the Bozeman, Mont.-based Foundation may be best known for making large, high-profile grants for major projects — including millions of dollars to assist with lake trout reduction measures and construction of a new visitor center at Old Faithful — it also makes smaller but significant grants to a wide range of other projects.

Decisions about the latest round of grants made by the Foundation were made before the budget cuts mandated under the Congressional sequester, but the funds are likely to prove especially helpful in light of reduced funding.

“Now more than ever in these difficult and uncertain times, YPF is especially grateful to our generous donors for making this funding possible,” said Foundation President Karen Kress, in a written statement. “Our fundraising efforts for the Park are even more necessary because projects like these might otherwise go by the wayside in light of current budget cuts.”

The 12 projects funded by the Yellowstone Park Foundation for the spring 2013 grant cycle include:

Yellowstone Raptor Initiative: $85,000
Funding for the third year of this five-year project will allow researchers to study inadequately monitored raptors that nest in or use Yellowstone.

Slough Creek Native Trout Project: $100,000
Slough Creek, a stronghold for cutthroat trout, has recently been invaded by rainbow trout.  This project will identify the invasion source, and design a solution for mitigation.

Wildlife and Visitor Safety Program: $75,000
Supports additional seasonal rangers needed to maintain public safety and provide essential education.

Wildlife Health Program: $50,000
Will integrate disease surveillance and interventions that preserve wildlife health, and reduce disease risks to visitors and Park staff.

Solar Energy Upgrades at Buffalo Ranch in Lamar Valley: $45,000
Upgrades will replace ineffective, aging equipment for this small development that does not have commercial power and has partially relied on the sun for electricity since 1996.

Prevent Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program: $40,000
Funding AIS for inspection, education and purchase of cleaning equipment to keep AIS out of Yellowstone’s pristine waterways.

Removal of Social Trails in the Bechler Region: $40,000
Two substantial social trails in the Bechler backcountry will be removed to discourage continued travel via these routes.

Snake River Archeology Project: $40,000
Research to be conducted of this largely unstudied corridor containing intact archeological strata used by native peoples for the past 12,000 years.

Science Symposium for Old Faithful: $35,000
A scientists’ review panel will advise the Park on existing knowledge of the hydrothermal system, impacts of past and existing development on the system, and best management options for the future at Old Faithful.

Remote Sensors for Boundary Enforcement: $30,000
YPF funding is making possible a pilot program that uses remote sensing equipment in the backcountry to help deter boundary violations and wildlife poaching.

Development of a Distance Learning Studio: $30,000
Equipment and space for live webcast programs between Park rangers and classrooms across the U.S. that want interactive programs for their students.

Scientific Research on Brown Bats: $30,000
Around 6.7 million bats have died as a result of White Nose Syndrome in the U.S. as of January 2012.  This grant extends 2012 studies to keep bats healthy, and address climate change effects and other stressors.  YPF funds will complete a two-year study to determine habitat, activity and their beneficial role in the ecosystem.

Yellowstone Raptor Initiative: $85,000
Funding for the third year of this five-year project will allow researchers to study inadequately monitored raptors that nest in or use Yellowstone.

More than 16,000 donors have helped the the Yellowstone Park Foundation raise more than $60 million for more than 250 projects since 1996.

Contact Yellowstone Gate at 307-213-9818 or [email protected]

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