Landowners have opportunity to protect wildlife voluntarily

Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently announced the Request for Proposals for the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program. The CWHP is a state-wide program that supports CPW’s mission by offering funding opportunities to private landowners who wish to voluntarily protect important wildlife habitats on their property, and/or provide wildlife-related recreational access to the public.

The CWHP is an incentive-based and voluntary program which uses Conservation Easements, Access Easements and, in limited circumstances, Fee Title purchases to accomplish strategic wildlife conservation goals and/or public access goals. Priority is given to proposals for Conservation Easements and Public Access Easements over Fee Title purchases (per CPW Policy and Title 33-4-102.7 C.R.S.).

Funding for the 2018 cycle is approximately $11 million and is made possible through a conservation partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado and from revenue generated through the sale of habitat stamps.

To apply

A landowner, or his/her designee, must complete a project proposal form (“Proposal”) that addresses one or more of the following Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission (“Commission”) priorities:

Public access for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing;

Big game winter range and migration corridors;

Protecting habitat for species of concern (specifically those Species of Greatest Conservation Need, as identified in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Statewide Action Plan);

Riparian areas and wetlands; and

Landscape-scale parcels and parcels that provide connectivity.

All application materials, including the Proposal Instructions and the Proposal Form, are available now on the agency’s CWHP webpage at

Proposals will be accepted until 5 p.m. on June 15.

Please email completed Proposals to [email protected]. You will receive a confirmation email acknowledging receipt of your proposal.

A landowner may request a land trust, local government, or other conservation organization (collectively, “Third Party,”) to submit a Proposal on his/her behalf. If the Proposal involves a conservation easement to be held by a Third Party, the entity must be qualified to hold conservations easements under federal and state law.

Additional information

Colorado Parks and Wildlife recognizes that maintaining wildlife-compatible agriculture on the landscape is an important benefit that can be realized through appropriately crafted conservation easements and management plans. All conservation easement projects funded through the CWHP will have an accompanying management plan that must be agreed upon by the landowner and CPW prior to closing of the project. The management plan typically includes provisions for the type, timing, and duration of livestock grazing and recreational activities and overall management of habitat to protect or enhance the property’s conservation values identified in the conservation easement. Negotiating the terms and conditions of the management plan is a key step in the conservation easement process. Landowners are encouraged to develop a clear vision of the future of their property prior to submitting their Proposal.

It is not required that CPW hold conservation easements funded through the CWHP; a Third Party (i.e., land trusts, local governments, or other conservation organizations qualified to hold conservation easements under federal and state law) may hold the conservation easement at a landowner’s request.

Proposals are scored and ranked through a rigorous review process to evaluate strategic conservation impacts, biological significance, public benefits, and project feasibility. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their local CPW Area Wildlife Manager or his/her designee for assistance describing the wildlife and habitat values accurately and to discuss the merits of their Proposal.

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Proposals are awarded funding based on approval by the Commission. Applicants will be notified of the Commission’s final award decisions following the November 2018 Commission meeting.

All projects involving conservation easements are required by law to be monitored annually. Third Party conservation easement holders are required to submit to CPW a copy of the annual monitoring report for each conservation easement that receives funding through the CWHP.

Public access is not required for conservation easement projects. However, conservation easement projects that separately convey to CPW public access for wildlife-related recreation may be eligible for access compensation in addition to compensation for the conservation easement. Landowners may also submit proposals to the CWHP for projects whose sole purpose is to provide hunting or fishing access to the public through a public access easement.

Under Colorado law, terms of the transaction become a matter of public record after the project is completed and closed. Additionally, it is important for CPW and our major funding partners to provide accurate information to the public regarding the CWHP efforts to protect vital habitats and provide hunting and fishing access opportunities. Applicants should be aware that after a project is closed, information about the transaction, including funding amounts, may be used by CPW for internal planning and public information purposes.

All real estate transactions in this program are subject to an appraisal to verify value.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult their legal and financial advisors when contemplating any real estate transaction associated with the CWHP.

Contact information

For additional information about the CWHP or the application process, please contact: Amanda Nims, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, at 303-291-7269 or [email protected].