March 26 – Elk and Wildfire in the Bitterroot by Kelly Proffitt
Kelly Proffitt will describe evaluation of elk forage quality and post-fire changes in forage quality in the Bitterroot Valley of west-central Montana. Examining summer and winter forage quality helped to achieve the primary goal to evaluate how landscapes with varying post-fire successional stages influence elk nutritional resources. Results highlight the important effect of wildfire on the distribution and abundance of elk nutritional resources and demonstrate that elk nutritional carrying capacity likely varies over time with variation in fire history and management practices. Kelly Proffitt, a wildlife biologist from the Bozeman FWP office, has spent several years documenting the effect of wildfire on elk populations in the Bitterroot.