Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Habitat Partnership Program has awarded $280,000 to three successful applicants that will use the funds for habitat enhancement projects on public lands, including the large-scale removal of pinyon and juniper, re-seeding, fuel reduction and water development projects.

The goal of the HPP grant program is to address the substantial damage to agricultural operators caused by big game – typically deer and elk – that spend much of their time on private land.

“These grants will help fund public land habitat projects that will improve range conditions for both livestock and wildlife,” said Pat Tucker, HPP statewide coordinator. “The goal is to keep big game on public lands longer, reducing their impacts to private landowners.”

The 2013 recipients of the HPP grants are:

  • Sand Gulch/Kerr Gulch phase – Large-scale Habitat Enhancement Project – $100,000
    This project is located on Bureau of Land Management land near Howard, Colorado and is a continuation of projects recently completed to improve BLM range resources for the benefit of both livestock and big game.
  • Trail Gulch Habitat Enhancement and Fuels Reduction project – $80,000
    This project is located on BLM land north of Canon City and will improve big game habitat and serve as a fuel reduction project, a benefit to neighboring private landowners in the event of a wildfire.
  • Bears Ears Winter Range Habitat Enhancement Initiative – $100,000
    This project is located on Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Bitterbrush State Wildlife Area near Maybell, Colorado. Completion of this project will improve conditions on the SWA and allow it to hold more big game animals longer, before they move to the adjacent private property.

The size and scale of treatments and the type of improvements proposed were among the criteria the HPP State Council evaluated prior to awarding the grants. However, one critical component examined was the extent and availability of funding from the applicant’s partners.

Tucker adds that a significant portion of HPP funding comes from money generated by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses; however, the program leverages that money several times over by combining it with funding from all of the project partners, making small and large-scale projects possible.

“It’s important to note that these improvements not only benefit landowners, but sportsmen as well,” he added. “The enhanced habitat improves hunting opportunities and also helps maintain the size of big game herds.”

The Colorado General Assembly and the Colorado Wildlife Commission established the Habitat Partnership Program in 1990 with a goal to reduce wildlife conflicts by facilitating cooperation between landowners, land managers, sportsmen, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“We appreciate how all stakeholders have worked together towards a common goal, ” said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “HPP has proven to be a highly successful program that resolves problems, improves habitat, lowers CPW’s financial liability and improves our relationships with the landowners, sportsmen and federal agency partners.”

People interested in local HPP projects should contact their local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office or visit www.bit.ly/cpwhabitatpartnershipprogram for more information.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado’s wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. To learn more, please visit cpw.state.co.us

Logo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife

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