What a great day to celebrate Colorado’s Wildlife Habitat and Connectivity as Governor releases the Big Game Policy Report, titled, “Opportunities to Improve Sensitive Habitat and Movement Route Connectivity for Colorado’s Big Game Species.”
Colorado Wildlife Federation and our colleagues in the wildlife community thank Governor Polis for his leadership in elevating attention to this important issue. As we all know, Colorado’s big game species are not only iconic, but also play important roles in maintaining our state’s ecosystems, economics and our quality of life. Coloradans overwhelmingly consider preserving habitat for these and other wildlife a top priority for local, state and federal governments. Indeed, Colorado has long been regarded as a leader in wildlife research and conservation commitments.
Despite widespread public and political support, the mounting effects of climate change, and Colorado’s burgeoning population accompanied by increasing human activity and infrastructure, and other factors threaten to irreversibly outpace the successes of our collective habitat conservation efforts. Development poses a special challenge for Colorado’s big game species – such as elk, mule deer, pronghorn and our state mammal, the bighorn sheep. Their landscape consists of a herd’s summer and winter range and the migration route to move from one to the another, often encountering a highway crossing. Their habitat is essential for survival – foraging and reproduction. But presently the habitat for numerous herds is declining.
While these challenges are admittedly complex, as underscored in today’s Proclamation and in the 2019 Executive Order, the report released today, “Opportunities to Improve Sensitive Habitat and Movement Route Connectivity for Colorado’s Big Game Species,” offers a direct view of potential policy solutions for stemming landscape fragmentation and safeguarding sensitive habitat for big game species.
We in the wildlife community, with our diverse interests, are eager to work with state agencies and an array of other partners to make progress toward the aspirational success elements identified in the report.
Colorado can and must make recommendations in the report become realities before opportunities are lost. We believe that Colorado has the will to do just that.
Here is the press release the Governor’s office issued today: