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Wetland Wildlife Conservation Program
Wetland Wildlife Conservation Program
Russell Lakes State Wildlife Area - wetlands with avocets and mountains. Photo courtesy of Cary Aloia.

Who we are and what we do

The Wetland Wildlife Conservation Program is a voluntary, incentive-based program to protect wetlands and wetland-dependent wildlife on public and private land.​  

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

Wetland Program Services

  • Funding for all phases of wetland and riparian creation, restoration and enhancement
  • Funding for conservation easements and fee-title purchase through the Wildlife Habitat Program
  • Wildlife and aquatic resource inventories
  • Education and outreach
  • Project monitoring and evaluation

What is a wetland?

Wetlands are simply lands affected by water, resulting in unique plants and soils. They may be classic cattail areas with a few feet of standing water, areas with very shallow water, or temporary habitats such as playa depressions on the eastern plains that only occasionally have standing water. Riparian areas next to streams that are subject to frequent flooding are also considered wetlands.

Why should you care?

Fishing at Teter Wetlands & Michigan Creek SWA. Photo by Dennis McKinney.Wetlands comprise less than two percent of Colorado’s landscape but provide benefits to over 75% 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. By virtue of their position in the landscape, wetlands perform several functions valuable to wildlife and society, including: 

  • Feeding, resting and rearing habitat
  • Movement corridors
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Flood flow alteration
  • Stream bank stabilization
  • Sediment and nutrient removal

Additional values include open space, education, and economic benefits, such as those from hunting, fishing, and bird watching.


*Banner image: Photo courtesy of Cary Aloia