A month after Yellowstone National Park learned it would have to cut this year’s budget by $1.75 million, the Yellowstone Park Foundation has come up with $600,000 to donate to park projects.
“We obviously have some very generous donors,” said Yellowstone Park Foundation President Karen Kress. “It’s been increasing slowly; it’s hard for us, just like it is for everybody.”
The park submitted several proposals to the foundation last fall before it knew how much money would be lost to sequestration.
“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 Superintendent Dan Wenk.
Kress said the sequestration affects the maintenance budget of the parks, which the foundation doesn’t fund. But the park would have to pay its bills by taking money from projects that would disappear if the foundation couldn’t provide grants.
The foundation provides $1 million for cutthroat trout restoration in Yellowstone Lake in addition to the spring and fall rounds of grants.
Kress said the foundation may change to providing grants just once a year so the next round would occur in January.
The 12 projects selected for this spring’s grant cycle include:
- $100,000 for the Slough Creek Native Trout project. This project will identify how rainbow trout are invading Slough Creek and find a solution.
- $85,000 for the Yellowstone Raptor Initiative. Funding for the third year of this five-year project allows researchers to study raptors that nest in or use Yellowstone.
- $75,000 for the Wildlife and Visitor Safety Program, which funds additional seasonal rangers to maintain public safety and provide education.
- $50,000 for the Wildlife Health Program, which monitors and intervenes in wildlife disease and reduces disease risk to people.
- $45,000 for solar energy upgrades at Buffalo Ranch. Upgrades will replace ineffective, aging equipment for this small development that has relied partially on solar energy since 1996.
- $40,000 for Prevent Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program inspections, education and purchase of cleaning equipment to keep invasive species out of Yellowstone’s water.
- $40,000 for removal of two illegal trails in the Bechler Region.
- $40,000 for the Snake River Archeology Project, which delves into an area which contains intact archeological strata used by native people for 12,000 years.
- $35,000 for a symposium for Old Faithful. A scientific review panel will provide knowledge of the hydrothermal system, impacts of past and existing development on the system and options for the future at Old Faithful.
- $30,000 for research on brown bats to investigate white-nose syndrome. This grant extends 2012 studies to keep bats healthy and investigate the affect of climate change and other stressors.
- $30,000 for sensors to use in a pilot program that uses remote sensing equipment in the backcountry to deter boundary violations and wildlife poaching.
- $30,000 for development of a distance-learning studio for live webcast programs between park rangers and classrooms.