Current cycle to apply for program runs through June 22
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Colorado Division of Wildlife has up to $15 million dollars available for habitat protection and to ensure wildlife-related recreational access available during a current funding cycle for projects guided by the state’s wildlife action plan and a 10-year strategic plan.
Both those plans target habitat for threatened and endangered species and species of concern, protecting wetlands and riparian corridors, protecting big game winter range and migration corridors, and acquiring or improving public access to wildlife-related recreation including fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing.
Habitat loss is a primary cause for the decline of many wildlife species in Colorado. As highly desirable lands are altered or converted to other uses, wildlife habitat can become degraded, destroyed and fragmented. Habitat conversion and loss can also reduce opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking and wildlife observation.
The Division of Wildlife is taking requests for proposals through June 22. Property owners are encouraged to apply if their proposed transaction addresses the priority habitats and/or wildlife-related recreational access opportunities listed within this announcement.
More information, including application details, after the break …
The program emphasizes the purchase of permanent conservation easements over outright land purchases, but in some cases, fee simple title purchases are allowed. Public access is not required for conservation easement projects. But the program guidelines specify that additional consideration will be given to projects that separately convey restricted or year-round public access for wildlife-related recreation to the Division of Wildlife, in addition to placing a conservation easement on the project property.
Property owners may also submit proposals for projects that provide provide hunting or fishing access through an access easement or agreement, or conveyance of fee title.
Colorado’s Wildlife Habitat Protection Program is designed to accept proposals from property owners, local government open space programs, land trusts or other conservation organizations that address one or more of the following priorities:
• Winter range for big game species
• Migration corridors for big game
• Important access for hunting and/or fishing opportunities*
• Important habitat for Threatened or Endangered Species or Species of Concern
• Wetlands and/or riparian corridors
• Property acquisitions that would enhance the management of a DOW State Wildlife Area (i.e. provide a more manageable boundary, fill in an in-holding, improve public access, or enhance management of habitat or wildlife-related recreation on DOW property).
Conservation easements help guarantee that landscapes remain intact and to provide fundamental wildlife benefits on a long-term basis. For the purposes of habitat protection, private property owners have the opportunity to choose either perpetual conservation easements or fee simple acquisition for their proposals; the DOW encourages easements.
All conservation easements funded from the program will have an accompanying management plan that must be agreed upon by the property owner and the Division of Wildlife prior to closing of the project. The implications of a management plan should be carefully considered by the property owner prior to submitting a proposal. The conservation easements purchased under this program must include not only the protection of open space values, but of the habitat being utilized by the wildlife on the property.
The protections sought by the Division of Wildlife may include (but not be limited to) restrictions on the type, timing and duration of livestock grazing, the type and timing of 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. The DOW encourages property owners to develop a clear vision for the future of their property prior to entering into these negotiations.
How to apply
Any property owner wishing to participate in the program that has property benefiting the priority landscapes and/or recreational access identified may complete a Proposal Form for the proposed project or may ask an interested land trust or a local government open space program for assistance in completing the proposal. It is not required that DOW hold title to conservation easements funded through this program; land trusts or open space programs may be part of the proposal process at a landowner’s request and may hold the grantee interest in a proposed conservation easement.
Property owners who wish to participate in this program are strongly encouraged, although not required, to donate a percentage of the value of the property interest being conveyed. The value of any landowner donation will be given significant weight (along with other factors) in DOW’s evaluation, ranking and selection of properties.
The Proposal Form is available in the links above in two formats: computer-writable format or in a format that can be printed and then completed in handwriting. It is important that those preparing a proposal review the materials accompanying the Proposal Form in order to be fully informed of program priorities, the proposal process, and requirements if funding is awarded.
All proposals will undergo a rigorous biological review and ranking process. Property owners are strongly encouraged to contact the Area Wildlife Manager within their project area to assist with wildlife information needed in the proposal. Contact information for DOW Area offices is listed on the DOW Areas map provided above.
DOW will hold four open house meetings between June 1 and 4- one each in Denver, Brush, Colorado Springs, Durango and Meeker- specifically to discuss the proposal guidelines with interested property owners, local government open space programs, land trusts and other conservation organizations. The dates, times and locations of these workshops are listed in the workshop announcement posted above.
Following the successful closing of transactions, completed projects may be publicized by DOW on the agency’s Web site and through the press.
For further assistance, please contact Diane Gansauer, Land Protection Specialist, Colorado Division of Wildlife at 303-291-7217 or e-mail email@example.com. Sending proposals by e-mail rather than by any other means is strongly encouraged; e-mailed proposals should be sent to Wildlife.RealEstateProposals@state.co.us. However, other options are available for delivering a completed proposal to DOW. These are described in the Proposal Form, or those preparing proposals may contact Diane Gansauer as listed above for proposal delivery options. Proposals should be fully completed in order to be given complete consideration.
Those who submitted a proposal in 2009 and would like their proposal to be considered again in 2010 may contact Diane for information on how to update their 2009 proposal. All updates to the 2009 proposals must be received by the proposal deadline of 5 p.m. on June 22, 2010.
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Environment, Summit County Colorado Tagged: | Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, endangered species, habitat protection, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, wildlife