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RBC | Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is pleased to announce the 2020 Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program (CWHP). The CWHP is a statewide 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 that uses conservation easements, public 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 2020 cycle is approximately $11 million and is made possible through a conservation partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) 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”) 2020 funding 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
– Landscape-scale parcels and parcels that provide connectivity to conserved lands
All application materials became available on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 through the following CPW webpage: http://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/LandWaterCWHP.aspx
Proposals will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Monday, May 18, 2020.
Completed Proposals are to be emailed to: Wildlife.RealEstateProposals@state.co.us
Applicants will receive a confirmation email acknowledging receipt of Proposals.
It is not required that CPW hold conservation easements funded through the CWHP. 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 conservation easements under federal and state law.
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 land 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 the closing of the project. The management plan typically includes provisions for the type, timing, and duration of livestock grazing, 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. 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. Local CPW office contact information may be found at https://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Maps/CPW_Areas.pdf.
Projects are provided funding based on recommendation by the Commission. Applicants are expected to be notified of the Commission’s final award decisions following the November 2020 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 proposals that separately offer to convey to CPW public access for wildlife-related recreation may be eligible for compensation in addition to compensation for the conservation easement. Landowners may also submit proposals to the CWHP for projects where the 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 has 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
For additional information about the CWHP or application process, please contact:
Amanda Nims, Land Protection Specialist and Program Manager, CWHP
Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Real Estate Section
Denver, CO 80216