YELLOWSTONE PARK FOUNDATION

BOZEMAN – Sequestration. Budget cuts. These are tough times for America’s national parks.

On April 11, the Yellowstone Park Foundation, the official fundraising partner for Yellowstone National Park, announced $600,000 in new project grants for 2013 park projects. More than 16,000 individuals, corporations and foundations donate to YPF each year.

Like most park friends’ groups, YPF’s mission and agreement with the National Park Service is to provide funding for specific projects beyond the park’s daily operations.

This spring’s grants were made in response to the foundation’s fall 2012 request for proposals, where the park submitted suggested projects to YPF’s board of directors. Grant decisions were made prior to sequestration, but now are timely.

“These grants from the Yellowstone Park Foundation will help us maximize our resources that are even more limited than before sequestration, so that these important projects can move forward,” said Yellowstone Supt. Dan Wenk.

YPF has raised more than $70 million since its inception in 1996, funding more than 250 projects and initiatives that include wildlife research, cutthroat trout restoration, trail maintenance and youth education.

The 12 projects funded for the spring 2013 grant cycle are:

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.

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.

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 Program – $40,000

Funding for inspection, education and purchase of cleaning equipment to keep AIS out of Yellowstone’s waterways.

Removal of Illegal Trails in the Bechler Region – $40,000

Two substantial illegal trails impacting 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.

Scientists Symposium for Old Faithful – $35,000

A scientist’s 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

This is 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.

For more information, visit ypf.org.