DOW launches wildlife habitat protection program
The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), in conjunction with the Colorado Habitat Stamp Committee and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), has announced a request for applications for funding habitat protection in Colorado. This new initiative will be known as the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Protection Program.The program provides an avenue for private landowners, land trusts or other conservation organizations to conserve critical habitat throughout the state. Open enrollment for all program applications started June 1 and will continue until July 31. Up to $20 million will be made available through DOW funds, Colorado Habitat Stamp funds, GOCO and some federal grant money for the best applications received. The emphasis will be placed on the purchase of easements to ensure that all reasonable avenues are pursued prior to property acquisition.The main priorities for the program are important habitat for sage-dependent species, including critical winter range and migration corridors for big game species, Gunnison and greater sage grouse habitat, Front Range riparian communities, important access for wildlife recreation opportunities, critical wetlands, shortgrass prairie species and lesser prairie chicken habitat.Habitat loss can be a factor in the decline of wildlife species in Colorado. The Colorado Wildlife Habitat Protection Program will work to conserve remaining habitat. “This program is a tremendous step forward for conservation in Colorado,” said Bruce McCloskey, director of the DOW. “Partnering with other conservation organizations and landowners to multiply our resources will help Colorado conserve wildlife habitat. Both the residents and the wildlife of this state will benefit from this new program.”The monies raised to date by the new Colorado Habitat Stamp Program provided the catalyst to initiate this comprehensive effort to protect habitat and wildlife.Through the combining of these funding programs the DOW is able to bring together an array of species protection and land conservation tools and incentives not otherwise available. For more information on how to apply visit: http://wildlife.state.co.us/LandWater/PrivateLandProgram/WildlifeHabitatProtectionProgram.
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