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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Colorado Parks and Wildlife seeks applications for projects that will restore wetland habitat

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is seeking applications for wetland and riparian restoration, enhancement and creation projects to support its Wetlands Program Strategic Plan.

CPW will award up to approximately $1.25 million in funds from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and Colorado Waterfowl Stamps to projects in Colorado that support the Wetlands Program Strategic Plan’s two main goals: 

• Improve the distribution and abundance of ducks, and opportunities for public waterfowl hunting. Applications supporting this goal should seek to improve fall/winter habitat on property open for public hunting (or refuge areas within properties open for public hunting) or improve breeding habitat in important production areas (including North Park and the San Luis Valley in Colorado and other areas contributing ducks to the fall flight in Colorado).

• Improve the status of declining or at-risk species. Applications supporting this goal should seek to clearly address habitat needs of these species. See species list on the Wetlands Priority Species page. 

The application deadline is Wednesday, Jan. 26. The Wetlands Funding Request for Applications is available on our website, which can be accessed at: https://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/WetlandsProjectFunding.aspx.

A new Tier 1 priority species this year is beavers. Beavers are a keystone species and ecosystem engineer that create and maintain healthy wetland and riparian habitats. Many mountain ponds, willow thickets and meadows are the works of beavers over time. These habitats aid in controlling floods, providing refugia during wildfires, improving water quality and preventing soil erosion.

Tier 1 species are the highest priority for project funding.

The Colorado Wetlands for Wildlife Program is a voluntary, collaborative and incentive-based program to restore, enhance and create wetlands and riparian areas in Colorado. Funds are allocated annually to the program and projects are recommended for funding by a CPW committee with final approval by the director.

“Wetlands are so important,” said CPW Wetlands Program Coordinator Brian Sullivan. “They comprise less than 2 percent of Colorado’s landscape, but provide benefits to over 75 percent of the species in the state, including waterfowl and several declining species. Since the beginning of major settlement activities, Colorado has lost half of its wetlands.”

Since its inception in 1997, the Colorado Wetlands Program and its partners has preserved, restored, enhanced or created more than 220,000 acres of wetlands and adjacent habitat and more than 200 miles of streams. The partnership is responsible for more than $40 million in total funding devoted to wetland and riparian preservation in Colorado.

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