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Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program
Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program
Grady Ranch

$141 Million at Work for Conservation

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s conservation work has touched almost every county in Colorado. 

The statewide Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program (CWHP) offers funding opportunities for private landowners who wish to voluntarily protect important wildlife habitat, and/or, provide sustainable wildlife-related recreational access to the public. 

Since 2007:
▶ The CWHP has invested approximately $141,000,000 to protect a total of 253,000 acres.
▶ Public access has been secured on 121,500 acres.
▶ Conservation easements have been secured on 234,000 acres.
▶ Fee title has been acquired on 11,000 acres*.
▶ On average, the CWHP has spent $557/acre to secure and protect critical wildlife habitat and public access.
▶ Since the program’s inception, 95% of all acreage acquired has been through conservation and public access easements.
Fee title acquisitions account for 5% and represent high quality opportunities with broad public support.
▶ The CWHP has protected approximately 36 miles around the state for fishing access. ​

*Why don’t these numbers add up? It is because not all conservation easements provide public access, and not all public access easement lands are also encumbered by conservation easements. But some properties do have both​.

The CWHP leaves a lasting legacy that ensures Colorado’s natural resources and critical habitat is protected, and that there will always be wildlife-related recreational opportunities available.

What is the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program?

CWHP is an incentive-based, voluntary program that accomplishes strategic wildlife conservation goals and/or public access goals using Conservation Easements, Access Easements, and in some circumstances, fee title purchases. Priority is given to Conservation Easements and Public Access Easements over Fee Title (per CPW Policy and Title 33-4-102.7 C.R.S.).

CPW's State Wildlife Action Plan guide CWHP priorities . 

How is Wildlife Habitat Conservation Paid for?

The $10 habitat stamp attached to hunting and fishing licenses, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and occasionally from federal funding sources allow CPW to invest in landscape-scale conservation efforts.

To Apply:

To apply, a landowner, or his/her designee, must complete a project proposal form that addresses one or more of the following Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission 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 
All application materials, including the Proposal Instructions and the Proposal Form, are available in the "Application Materials" section of this page. Proposals will be accepted until 5:00 pm on Friday, June 15.

Please email completed proposals to . You will receive a confirmation email acknowledging receipt of your Proposal. 

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 conservations easements under federal and state law. 

Additional Information:

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 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 closing of the project. The management plan typically includes provisions for the type, timing, and duration of livestock grazing and 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. 

It is not required that CPW hold conservation easements funded through the CWHP; a Third Party (i.e., land trusts, local governments, or other conservation organizations qualified to hold conservation easements under federal and state law) may hold the conservation easement at a landowner’s request.

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.

Proposals are awarded funding based on approval by the Commission. Applicants will be notified of the Commission’s final award decisions following the November 2018 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 projects that separately convey to CPW public access for wildlife-related recreation may be eligible for access compensation in addition to compensation for the conservation easement. Landowners may also submit proposals to the CWHP for projects whose 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 is 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 further information about the CWHP or the application process, please contact:  

Amanda Nims
Program Manager
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
(303) 291-7269


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