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Statewide Survey Finds That A Majority Of Maryland Residents Support The Potential Reintroduction Of Elk In Western Maryland

Elk in a stream

Annapolis, Maryland (May 15, 2012) - On August 22, 2011, The Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation (MLSF), Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) announced the formation of a Partnership to determine the viability of elk reintroduction in Western Maryland. The first step was to determine public opinion, especially within Western Maryland. Today, results of a statewide survey (see link below) – conducted on behalf of the Partnership by Virginia-based Responsive Management and financed solely by Montana-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation – were released that found three out of four Maryland residents support the reintroduction of this once-native species.

View the report

“These initial findings are most encouraging, but by no means conclusive” stated Bill Miles, project representative for MLSF. “Moving onto the next level requires the Partnership to meet with interested individuals, groups and organizations. Their collective opinion is what will ultimately determine the fate of the potential reintroduction of elk in Western Maryland, assuming suitable habitat exists for elk as determined by the staff within DNR.” As noted by DNR Secretary John Griffin on August 22, 2011: “As with all our ecological programs, science and informed public input will be our guide. Consensus from our experts and all impacted stakeholders will be a prerequisite to this decision.”

By October 31, 2012, the partnership envisions completion of the social, biological and economic feasibility assessment. With the statewide survey in-hand, compliance with the targeted deadline means that over the next five months (1) MLSF will host meetings with interested stakeholders; (2) DNR will pursue a habitat suitability analysis; and (3) a final report will be prepared by the Partnership that speaks to the 12-month assessment for purposes of presenting to the governing bodies of Western Maryland, et al.


   May 15, 2012

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov