MEEKER I Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Habitat Partnership Program will bid a fond farewell to Meeker livestock grower and agricultural icon Michael Grady. The 72-year-old rancher from Meeker will retire from the program’s White River committee at the end of May after serving a 23-year term, nearly as long as the program has existed.
Since its inception in 1990, HPP has brought government agencies, sportsmen, agricultural operators and CPW together to find creative ways to reduce financial losses to agricultural operations caused by big game, efforts championed by Grady during his lengthy tenure.
To recognize Grady’s service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will honor him with an award during a ceremony at the White River HPP committee meeting on May 25 at 6 p.m. at CPW’s Meeker office.
“This is all about partnerships; working together with the other committee members, local landowners and CPW staff, we’ve been able to resolve a good number of conflicts between wildlife and private landowners up here,” Grady said. “We used a landscape-scale habitat improvement approach and I believe that has resulted in long-term solutions to this challenge. I am very proud to have been a part of that.”
HPP State Program Manager Pat Tucker says the program will miss Grady’s experience, knowledge and leadership.
“Mike has been a valued committee member since HPP started in Meeker in ‘93, and he will leave huge shoes to fill,” said Tucker. “CPW and HPP are very much appreciative of his volunteer service and dedication, not only to the program and landowners, but to wildlife as well.”
In December of 2015, Tucker presented the prestigious Joe Gerrans Award to Grady during the agency’s HPP Conference in Grand Junction. The award honors volunteer members who exhibit exemplary service and dedication to the goals of the program.
“Based on what he has done for this program, Mike certainly deserved the award,” Tucker said.
Any livestock grower in Rio Blanco County interested in volunteering to replace Grady on the White River HPP Committee should contact District Wildlife Manager Bailey Franklin at 970-942-5111, or submit a letter of interest to CPW’s Meeker office at 73485 Highway 64, Meeker, Colo. 81641. The deadline for submittal is May 25.
After the initial interview process, the CPW Commission will approve the new member before final appointment by the CPW Director.
The Colorado Wildlife Commission and the State Legislature began the Habitat Partnership Program in 1990. There are 19 HPP committees throughout the state, most of them on Colorado’s Western Slope.
Anyone interested in the HPP program should contact their local CPW office or visit the HPP page on CPW’s website.