Special to the Herald Times
RBC I Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is pleased to announce the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program (CWHP) 2021 Request for Proposals (RFP). The CWHP is a statewide program that supports CPW’s mission by offering funding opportunities to private or public landowners who wish to protect important wildlife habitat on their property, and/or provide wildlife-related recreational access to the public.
The CWHP is an incentive-based program which uses conservation easements, public access easements, and 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 2021 cycle is approximately $11 million and is made possible by revenue generated from the sale of the Habitat Stamp, hunting and fishing licenses, and through a partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).
The landowner, or a third party representative, must complete a project proposal form (“Proposal”) that addresses one or more of the following Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s 2021 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 are available as of Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 here: https://cpw.state.co.us/cwhp
All proposals must be received by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.
Completed Proposals are to be emailed to: Wildlife.RealEstateProposals(at)state.co.us
Applicants will receive a confirmation email acknowledging receipt of Proposals.
The CWHP funds conservation easements to be held by CPW or a certified third party holder. Certified third party conservation easement holders, such as a land trust, local government, or other conservation organization (collectively, “Third Party,”) may submit a Proposal on behalf of the landowner. Third Party holders 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 achieved through conservation easements and land management plans. All conservation easements funded through the CWHP require a management plan. The plan 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, recreational activities, and overall management of wildlife habitat to protect or enhance the property’s conservation values identified in the conservation easement. Landowners are encouraged to develop a clear vision for the future of the 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 the CWHP Program Manager in advance of proposal submission, as well as the local CPW Area Wildlife Manager 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
The final decision on which Proposals move forward is expected to be determined at the May 2022 CPW Commission meeting.
All conservation easement properties 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 all conservation easement projects, but compensation is available for granting wildlife related public access easements to CPW. Landowners are welcome to submit proposals for projects where the sole purpose is to provide hunting or fishing access to the public through a public access easement, without an associated conservation 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 major funding partners to provide accurate information to the public regarding the CWHP’s 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 CWHP real estate transactions are subject to an appraisal and an appraisal review 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/CWHP Program Manager
Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Real Estate Section
Denver, CO 80216