Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is pleased to announce a Request for Proposals (RFP) for funding projects that provide habitat protection and/or wildlife-related recreational access through the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Protection Program (CWHPP). Proposals are being accepted from May 10, 2013, through 5 p.m. on June 19, 2013.
A total of up to $10 million will be made available for the best proposals received, subject to funds being appropriated or otherwise made available for this purpose.
Property owners are encouraged to apply if their proposed transaction addresses the priorities listed within this announcement. Proposals received after 5 p.m. on June 19, 2013, will not be eligible for consideration during this funding cycle.
Notification of the Parks and Wildlife Commission's decision on proposals will be emailed and sent by postal mail on November 18, 2013 (see the Timeline ).
Negotiation of projects selected by the Commission will begin in January 2014, and funds will not be available prior to July 1, 2014, and following completion of all required due diligence.
This Program’s priorities are guided by Colorado’s Wildlife Action Plan and the requirements of specific funding sources, which include Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and State Habitat Stamp Funds.
CWHPP solicits proposals from private property owners, local government open space programs, land trusts or other conservation organizations that address one or more of the following priorities (in no particular order):
- Sage-grouse and lesser prairie-chicken habitat;
- Parcels that provide public recreational access themselves or otherwise increase access to public hunting and/or fishing opportunities;*
- Riparian areas that connect important protected habitats (protected habitats may include State Wildlife Areas; other Conservation Easements on private property; BLM or U.S. Forest Service lands);
- Big game winter range and migration corridors; and/or
- Critical SWA in-holdings (described above).
* Note: In general, the more open the access is for recreational opportunity, the more favorably the access element of a proposal will be considered.
The selection of projects is highly competitive. It is not unusual for up to 70 proposals to be received, and, because of limitations on funding, for only about 10 projects to be selected for negotiation. Projects that excel in meeting one of the priorities will be considered; those projects that combine several of the priorities listed above may have a competitive advantage.
The selection process favors proposals that utilize perpetual conservation easements that provide incentives to private property owners to actively assist with the management and protection of the priority landscapes and specific wildlife habitats mentioned above.
All conservation easements funded through this Program will have an accompanying management plan that must be agreed upon by the property owner and the CPW prior to closing of the project. The protections sought by CPW may include (but not be limited to) restrictions on the type, timing and duration of livestock grazing and/or, recreational activities and the overall management of vegetation on the property. Negotiating the terms and conditions of the management plan is a key step in the process. Therefore, CPW encourages property owners to develop a clear vision for the future of their property prior to entering into these negotiations.
Following closing of the transaction, all projects involving a conservation easement must be monitored annually. “Third parties” such as a land trust or a local government will be required to submit to CPW a copy of the annual monitoring report for all easements that received funding through CPW. This requirement is in accordance with a requirement by the State Auditor that CPW ensure that annual monitoring of the easement is occurring.
Fee title purchases are allowed, but will be considered primarily for the acquisition of properties that are interior or adjacent to State Wildlife Areas (SWAs) and if the purchase would enhance the management of an SWA. Purchase of fee title may also be considered in rare situations if the threat of development is imminent and the landowner is unwilling to entertain a conservation easement, or where such acquisitions greatly enhance access to other public lands. All reasonable options in lieu of fee title will be pursued.
Public access is not required for conservation easement projects. However, projects that separately convey to CPW restricted or year-round public access for wildlife-related recreation will be eligible for compensation for public access in addition to compensation for the conservation easement. Property owners may also submit proposals for projects whose sole purpose is to provide hunting or fishing access through an access easement or agreement, or conveyance of fee title.
How to Apply
Any property owner wishing to participate in the program that has property benefiting the priority landscapes and/or recreational access described in this Request for Proposals may complete a Proposal Form for the proposed project or may ask an interested land trust or a local government open space program for assistance in completing the proposal. It is not required that CPW hold title to conservation easements funded through this program; land trusts or open space programs may be part of the proposal process at a landowner’s request and may hold the grantee interest in a proposed conservation easement.
All proposals will undergo a rigorous biological review and ranking process. Property owners are strongly encouraged to contact the Area Wildlife Manager within their project area to assist with wildlife information needed in the proposal. Contact information for Area offices is listed on the Areas map provided above. (The Area offices referenced here are the same as Wildlife Area Offices in prior years.)
Donations of a percentage of the value of the property interest being conveyed are not required but will be given significant weight in CPW’s evaluation, ranking and selection process.
In accordance with state statute (CRS 33-4-102.7), conservation easement projects involving “third parties” such as land trusts or local governments may receive proceeds from the sale of habitat stamps only if the requesting organization contributes at least 15% of the purchase price of the easement or 15% of the purchase price is secured using other sources of non-CPW funding. If, in the CPW Commission’s discretion, sufficient hunting or fishing access is provided, the 15% contribution requirement may be waived.
The Proposal Form is available in a link above within the box for Application Instructions/Documents. This format is computer-writable, and the size of the boxes will expand to fit your text. If you prefer to complete the form in handwriting, contact Diane Gansauer at (303) 291-7217 for a suitable version of the form.
CPW will hold workshops in Denver, Durango, Grand Junction and Colorado Springs between May 28 and June 3, as described on the Workshop Flier, available in a link above. The purpose of these workshops is to discuss the Program’s priorities and proposal guidelines with interested landowners, local government open space programs, land trusts and other conservation organizations. Attendance at a workshop is not required in order to apply. However, it is important that those preparing a proposal review the materials accompanying the Proposal Form in order to be fully informed of program priorities, the proposal process, and requirements if funding is awarded.
Because the Proposal Form is slightly modified each year in response to feedback from applicants and reviewers, those who have previously submitted a proposal and would like to be considered again are asked to complete a new Proposal Form.
Completed proposals should be emailed to Wildlife.RealEstateProposals@state.co.us. Less preferred delivery options are delivery in person or by mail to an Area Office of CPW or to Diane Gansauer, CPW, 6060 Broadway, Denver CO 80316. Proposals should be fully completed in order to be given complete consideration.
For further assistance, please contact Diane Gansauer, Land Protection Specialist, Colorado Parks and Wildlife at (303) 291-7217, or e-mail email@example.com.
Under Colorado law, once a transaction is closed and completed, the terms of the transaction become an open record. In addition, it is important for CPW and one of our major funders, Great Outdoors Colorado, to promote the efforts we are undertaking to protect vital habitats and provide sportsmen hunting and fishing access. In that regard, applicants should be aware that, after a transaction is closed, information about the transaction, including dollar amount, may be included in a press release issued by CPW.