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Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program
Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Grady Ranch

What is the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program?

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

The statewide Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program (CWHP) offers opportunities for private landowners to voluntarily protect important wildlife habitat, provide wildlife-related recreational access to the public, and, if appropriate, sell their property to CPW. 

2021 Request for Proposals

The 2021 CWHP expects to release its Request for Proposals (RFP) in September 2021, with an anticipated application deadline of October 28. Applicants should note this is a change from the historic schedule where the program began in March with a May deadline. Applicants may use the 2020 proposal materials below to begin thinking about 2021 applications.

2020 RFP

Who can apply?

A landowner, or his/her designee*, must submit a funding proposal that addresses one or more of the following Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission 2020 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 Statewide Action Plan)
  • Riparian areas and wetlands
  • Landscape-scale parcels and parcels that provide connectivity 

*Can someone submit a proposal for me?

​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 conservation easements under federal and state law. 

How-to Apply​

Proposal Deadline:  Monday, May 18, 2020, 5:00 p.m. MDT.  ​The 2020 application period is now closed.

​​1. Complete Your Proposal

The 2020 application is made up of the 3 parts listed below.  Download and complete each before submitting a proposal.  Directions on how to submit may be found in the Program Information and Proposal Instructions document.

Note: If using Internet Explorer or Edge browsers, please right click on the Word document links below and choose "Save Target As..." to save the files to your computer.   

Program Information and Proposal Instructions (PDF)

Part 1: Proposal Form (DOC)

Part 2: Proposal Budget (PDF)

Part 3: Supplemental Information​ (DOC)

​2. Submit Your Proposal

Follow the detailed proposal instructions in the proposal instructions​ and supplemental​ program information above to make sure your proposal meets all requirements and is ready for submission.

How does the CWHP fund conservation across Colorado?

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.).

Since 2006, CPW has invested approximately $171,750,000 across the state to secure:
     • Conservation easements on 253,000 acres
     • Public access on 119,000 acres
     • Fee title on 30,000 acres
     • River bank access along 360 miles of river bank

Since the program's inception, 93% of all acreage has been acquired through conservation and public access easements. Fee title acquisitions account for only 7% of transactions and represent high quality opportunities with broad public support.

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.

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 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 Parks and Wildlife Commission. Applicants will be notified of the Commission’s final award decisions following the November 2019 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.

​Contact the CWHP Program

For more 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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