What is the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program?
The Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program (CWHP) offers funding opportunities for landowners who wish to voluntarily protect important wildlife habitat, provide wildlife-related recreational access to the public, and, if appropriate, sell their property to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The 2023 Request for Proposals Period is Now Open
Who can apply?
A landowner - or appropriate designee* - must submit a funding proposal that addresses one or more of the following Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission 2023 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 State Action Plan (SWAP)
- Riparian areas and wetlands
- Landscape-scale parcels and parcels that provide connectivity
Additionally, high value, once-in-a-generation projects that create lasting impacts on Colorado and future generations will be given special consideration.
*Can someone submit a proposal on behalf of the landowner?
A landowner may request a land trust, local government, or other conservation organization (collectively, “Third Party,”) to submit a proposal on the landowner's 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.
Proposal Deadline: October 10, 2023, 5:00 p.m. MST.
1. Completing a Proposal
The 2023 application is made up of the 3 parts listed below. Download and complete each before submitting a proposal.
Proposal Instructions (PDF)
How to Submit a Proposal Instructions (PDF)
How does the CWHP fund conservation across Colorado?
The CWHP is an incentive-based, voluntary program that accomplishes strategic wildlife conservation goals and/or public access goals using conservation easements, public 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..
From the program's inception in 2006 through 12/31/2022, CPW has invested approximately $189,200,000 across Colorado to secure:
- Conservation easements on 284,500 acres
- Public access on 146,300 acres
- Fee title on 31,700 acres
- River bank access along 377 miles of river bank
The CWHP leaves a lasting legacy that ensures Colorado’s natural resources and critical wildlife habitat is protected, and that there will always be wildlife-related recreational opportunities available.
Where does CWHP funding come from?
Funding for qualified projects comes from revenue generated by the sale of
Habitat Stamps from sportspeople, from revenue generated by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, from
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), and occasionally from federal funding sources.
See the CWHP fact sheet for more funding details.
Additional Program 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 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 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.
Landowners are encouraged to provide a clear vision of the future of their property, ideally in the RFP application, 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 appropriate 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 Parks and Wildlife Commission. Applicants will be notified of the Commission’s final award decisions following the May 2024 Commission meeting.
All 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 from 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 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.
Contact the CWHP
For more information about the CWHP or the application process, please contact:
Land Protection Specialist and CWHP Program Manager
Colorado Parks and Wildlife