Projects aim to reduce conflicts between ranchers, game animals
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Grants worth $500,000 from the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Habitat Partnership Program will be put toward improving wildlife habitat by treating brushy areas, weed control, water developments and reseeding with a goal of increasing available habitat and forage for big-game animals.
The recipients of this year’s grants are:
• White River National Forest Milk Creek Enhancement Project near Meeker;
• Rio Grande National Forest San Luis Valley Water Development project near Saguache;
• Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest Uncompahgre Plateau Habitat Restoration project;
• Uncompahgre Partnerships North Rim Landscape Restoration project near Hotchkiss; and,
• Three Rivers Alliances Russian olive and tamarisk removal project in Yuma County.
The Habitat Partnership State Council evaluated each proposal based on several criteria including the size and scale of treatments and the type of improvements proposed. One critical component the council examined before presenting the awards was the extent of the recipient’s partnerships. The selected projects exemplified the partnership component that HPP encourages and develops.
“The criteria that the council used to evaluate the applicants ensures that we can leverage everyone’s limited funds while creating a successful project for both landowners and wildlife,” said Division of Wildlife HPP coordinator Pat Tucker.
HPP began these grants in 2009 to encourage larger scale habitat improvement projects and this is the second time that the HPP program has granted funds for them. By the end of June 2012, an additional $1 million will have been spent by HPP to improve habitat and reduce conflicts between big game and agricultural operators. This does not include additional money spent by project partners, which can easily double or triple HPP’s investment.
The Colorado General Assembly and the Colorado Wildlife Commission established the Habitat Partnership Program in 1990 with th goal of reducing wildlife conflicts by facilitating cooperation between landowners, land managers, sportsmen, the Division of Wildlife and others to minimize and resolve conflicts between ungulates and agricultural users.
“These grants have proven to be a very effective way to help reduce big game conflicts with private landowners,” said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “We appreciate the cooperation with both public and private landowners and their efforts to improve natural habitat for wildlife.”
While applications for this habitat improvement grant offer are no longer being accepted, people interested in local HPP projects should contact their local Division of Wildlife office or go to the Division’s website, www.wildlife.state.co.us/landwater for more information.