CO Western Landowners 2
Most of our endangered species rely on private lands for habitat. Western Landowners are seeking changes in programs designed to help farmers and ranchers regenerate their lands while growing healthy foods.
Lesli Allen Executive Director of the landowners advocacy group.
“The Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a habitat partnership program that helps pay landowners to provide habitat in certain cases, like providing critical winter habitat for elk and deer for example. Leaving forage in a crop circle can be really helpful to wildlife. And landowners are forgoing a cutting potentially to do that. On the flipside, the more we put strings on those programs that require additional things from those landowners, besides just providing the forage and habitat, it makes it more difficult to use those programs. You have some programs that say in order to participate you also have to provide public access. For landowners who are trying to make the bottom line work through hunts for example or fishing opportunities, that undermines their ability to stay economically viable.
Allen is calling for more Regulatory Assurance Agreements that let landowners know that they will not be penalized with additional regulations after making changes that work to improve habitat for endangered species.
Allen also points to sage grouse program as one of the star programs that brought private landowners and public agencies together to improve habitat for the endangered bird.