DENVER – After months of hard work by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the engagement of more than 40 conservation partners, a new status report on Colorado’s big game winter range and migration corridors has been released that will inform future efforts to protect this invaluable natural resource.
On August 21, 2019, Governor Jared Polis directed both CPW and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to work cooperatively to conserve Colorado’s valuable big game resources through executive order D 2019 011: Conserving Colorado’s Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors. This executive order directed CPW to compile a big game status report to guide both agencies, as well as its partners, to collectively improve the conservation of big game winter range and migration corridors.
“This report provides a strong foundation as we turn our attention to crafting a strategy for conserving and restoring seasonal wildlife habitat and migration corridors across the state,” said Dan Gibbs, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources. “Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s detailed assessment illustrates the challenges our big game herds face in areas where development, environmental, recreation, and other pressures are evident, but it also points to opportunities for reducing habitat fragmentation and sustaining our big game populations down the road.”
This recently completed report is now available on CPW’s website: 2020 Status Report: Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors.
The report contains the current state of knowledge concerning Colorado’s big game herds and the challenges they face. It features CPW’s compilation of the bestavailable science on our state’s big game populations, including population status and trends, monitoring and inventory methods, seasonal habitats and migration corridors, and conservation threats and actions.
The report also outlines current research and data gaps associated with Colorado’s big game winter range and migration corridors. CPW’s report concludes with recommendations on a path forward to conserve these valuable habitats and populations.
“The Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridor Report is a testament to the great work CPW does in managing our state’s big game herds,” said CPW Director Dan Prenzlow. “This document will provide information for all CPW personnel, other government agencies, outside stakeholders, and all of Colorado as we continue to manage Colorado's big game herds and ensure their long-term viability in this great state.”
CPW Forest Habitat Coordinator Casey Cooley played an instrumental role in coordinating with multiple CPW departments and more than 40 conservation partners to create this report.
“Our deer and elk herds are an important part of Colorado’s outdoor identity; because of the amount of work CPW puts in conserving wildlife, we have really high-quality herds – in fact, we manage the largest elk herds in North America. We are committed to protecting these animals by maintaining habitat connectivity and making sure we’re removing migration barriers that may currently exist,” Cooley said.
“The report highlights CPW’s long-term goals: habitat protection and winter range restoration. This report is a tool that will help us move forward in conserving big game and their habitats.” This report illustrates the current state of Colorado’s big game herds, their habitat and the challenges they face, and lays the groundwork for future policy, regulatory and legislative recommendations to ensure the ongoing conservation of seasonal big game habitat and migration corridors.