The Starkey Project, established in 1989 by the U.S. Forest Service, is one of the most comprehensive field research programs in history. Research trials in an enclosed 25,000-acre working landscape measure the effects of timber management, livestock grazing and recreation on elk and deer populations. Results help guide resource-management decisions across the West.
Boone and Crockett's new award recognizes Starkey's development of "applied science" for effective, science-informed management.
"There is a significant difference between basic research and the applied research conducted at Starkey," explained Tom Price, chairman of the Club's Stewardship and Multiple Use Sharing Committee, which administers the award. "Most public and private lands are not like national parks. They are working landscapes where people and wildlife must co-exist. We need sound, applied science that tells us what is best for wildlife, people and the land under shared conditions, and that's what the Starkey Project has been supplying for the past 25 years."
Starkey's research in elk habitat and development of nutrition models help guide informed decisions in multi-use management based on observed elk and deer interactions with cattle grazing, hunting, roads and forest management. Results also inform decisions about managing elk and deer forage, cover needs, desired age of elk breeding bulls, productivity, bull/cow and buck/doe harvest ratios, and nutrition levels.
Price said, "The Starkey Project produces landscape-scale, boots-on-the-ground research that has defined successful management strategies for elk and mule deer based on how these species interact with real-world land uses."
The award was presented March 11 during the 100th annual North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Omaha, Neb.
The Conservation and Stewardship Award will be given annually to the organization or entity that best exemplifies excellence in conservation and wildlife and land stewardship - core values of the Boone and Crockett Club and its founder, Theodore Roosevelt.
"As Theodore Roosevelt once said, 'conservation means development as much as it does protection.' That's why this research station, the people behind it and the U.S. Forest Service are most deserving of this recognition and our thanks," Price added.
To learn more about the Starkey Project, visit www.fs.fed.us/pnw/starkey and www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/science
To learn more about the Boone and Crockett Club's Conservation and Stewardship Award, visit www.boone-crockett.org.