The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved the acquisition of a 15,000-acre Perpetual Conservation Easement on the Tuttle Ranch in Moffat County. The purchase will help preserve critical habitat and winter range for wildlife while allowing ranching operations to continue.

Consisting of sagebrush steppe, foothills grassland and pinyon-juniper woodlands, the property is home to greater sage-grouse and provides critical winter range for elk, mule deer and pronghorn.

The conservation easement was purchased from the RSH Land Company LLC, with a combination of funds from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado.

“When habitat is preserved, wildlife benefits, and all of us benefit, too,” said Bill de Vergie, Area Wildlife Manager in Meeker. “There are plenty of challenges out there to wildlife habitat – all kinds of development that can raise issues – but the cooperative approach of conservation easements is a way we can work with landowners to protect habitat.”

Because habitat loss is considered a primary cause for the decline of many wildlife species in Colorado, its preservation is critical, especially during winter months when big game animals are in search of any available forage at lower elevations.

“Preserving wildlife habitat is just one of our management challenges, but is among our most important,” said Ron Velarde, Regional Manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “With acquisitions like this one, we ensure that we will continue to have viable wildlife populations for our future generations.”

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Logo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife

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