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Resource Management


The National Elk Refuge's 24,700 acres require a combination of protection, restoration, and maintenance of several habitats types. Refuge personnel use a variety of habitat management tools to maintain, recover or enhance plant and wildlife values. Refuge staff carefully considers management techniques and employs them in varying degrees according to the situation, a term commonly referred to as adaptive management. Public involvement and input are important to the planning process. 



  • Bison and Elk Management Plan

    Bison and Elk small box

    A Bison and Elk Management Plan was finalized in April 2007 with the signing of the Record of Decision. This 15-year plan guides management of both species for both the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park. 

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  • Supplemental Feeding


    As elk gather on the refuge, harsh winter conditions create challenges for the animals and for wildlife managers.

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  • Irrigation Program

    Irrigation K-Line pods

    Historically, the National Elk Refuge primarily watered cultivated fields by flood irrigation, using the same ditch systems created by original homesteaders. Flood irrigation, however, proved to be much more inefficient than other methods, in part due to the porous nature of soils on the National Elk Refuge. 

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  • Collaring Elk


    Since 2005, the National Elk Refuge and Wyoming Game & Fish Department have deployed 88 collars on elk wintering on the refuge. Elk location data collected from the collars can help wildlife managers in a variety of ways.

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  • Nonnative Invasive Plants


    At least 19 species of nonnative invasive plants are present or have been detected on the Refuge. In addition to restrictions such as requiring weed-free certification for those transporting hay, the Refuge uses biological, mechanical, and chemical means to control invasive plants.

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  • Fire Management

    Fire Crew

    The National Elk Refuge is part of the Teton Interagency Fire Program, which includes partnerships with the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole Fire/EMS.

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Last Updated: Jul 15, 2014
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