The 2013 period is now closed for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to receive proposals for projects that provide habitat protection and/or wildlife-related recreational access through the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Protection Program (CWHPP). The deadline for proposals was 5 p.m. on June 19, 2013.
A total of up to $10 million will be made available for the best proposals received, subject to funds being appropriated or otherwise made available for this purpose.
Notification of the Parks and Wildlife Commission's decision on proposals will be emailed and sent by postal mail on November 18, 2013 (see the Timeline ).
Negotiation of projects selected by the Commission will begin in January 2014, and funds will not be available prior to July 1, 2014, and following completion of all required due diligence.
This Program’s priorities are guided by Colorado’s Wildlife Action Plan and the requirements of specific funding sources, which include Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and State Habitat Stamp Funds.
CWHPP solicits proposals from private property owners, local government open space programs, land trusts or other conservation organizations that address one or more of the following priorities (in no particular order):
- Sage-grouse and lesser prairie-chicken habitat;
- Parcels that provide public recreational access themselves or otherwise increase access to public hunting and/or fishing opportunities;*
- Riparian areas that connect important protected habitats (protected habitats may include State Wildlife Areas; other Conservation Easements on private property; BLM or U.S. Forest Service lands);
- Big game winter range and migration corridors; and/or
- Critical SWA in-holdings (described above).
* Note: In general, the more open the access is for recreational opportunity, the more favorably the access element of a proposal will be considered.
The selection of projects is highly competitive. More than 40 proposals were received in 2013, and, because of limitations on funding, it is possible that fewer than 10 projects could be selected for negotiation. Projects that excel in meeting one of the priorities will be considered; those projects that combine several of the priorities listed above may have a competitive advantage.
The selection process favors proposals that utilize perpetual conservation easements that provide incentives to private property owners to actively assist with the management and protection of the priority landscapes and specific wildlife habitats mentioned above.
All conservation easements funded through this Program will have an accompanying management plan that must be agreed upon by the property owner and the CPW prior to closing of the project. The protections sought by CPW may include (but not be limited to) restrictions on the type, timing and duration of livestock grazing and/or, recreational activities and the overall management of vegetation on the property. Negotiating the terms and conditions of the management plan is a key step in the process. Therefore, CPW encourages property owners to develop a clear vision for the future of their property prior to entering into these negotiations.
Following closing of the transaction, all projects involving a conservation easement must be monitored annually. “Third parties” such as a land trust or a local government will be required to submit to CPW a copy of the annual monitoring report for all easements that received funding through CPW. This requirement is in accordance with a requirement by the State Auditor that CPW ensure that annual monitoring of the easement is occurring.
Fee title purchases are allowed, but will be considered primarily for the acquisition of properties that are interior or adjacent to State Wildlife Areas (SWAs) and if the purchase would enhance the management of an SWA. Purchase of fee title may also be considered in rare situations if the threat of development is imminent and the landowner is unwilling to entertain a conservation easement, or where such acquisitions greatly enhance access to other public lands. All reasonable options in lieu of fee title will be pursued.
Public access is not required for conservation easement projects. However, projects that separately convey to CPW restricted or year-round public access for wildlife-related recreation will be eligible for compensation for public access in addition to compensation for the conservation easement. Property owners may also submit proposals to this Program for projects whose sole purpose is to provide hunting or fishing access through an access easement or agreement, or conveyance of fee title.
For further information on this Program, please contact Diane Gansauer, Land Protection Specialist, Colorado Parks and Wildlife at (303) 291-7217, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.