In light of changes to the Conservation Reserve Program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has partnered with Pheasants Forever, the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (through Natural Resources Conservation Service ), High Plains Land Conservancy and Muley Fanatics Foundation to provide Corners for Conservation—677 acres of grassland wildlife habitat and 82 new hunting spots in Phillips, Sedgwick, and Kit Carson Counties.
“Colorado Parks and Wildlife is proud to be a partner in this important effort for wildlife conservation on the Eastern Plains,” said Bob Broscheid, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “We are excited about the new opportunities to partner with Colorado landowners and Pheasants Forever to provide vitally important wildlife habitat and ensure hunting access for Colorado sportsmen and women.”
This joint habitat initiative provides a starting point to address the decline of Colorado’s grassland habitat while providing benefits for key wildlife species such as ring-necked pheasants, grassland songbirds, and pollinating insects. Corners for Conservation projects will be open to public hunting through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Walk-in Access program beginning on November 12, 2016. Interested small game hunters can locate these new sites in the forthcoming Late Cropland Atlas, due in late October 2016.
“This is the first year of a partnership that we hope to continue,” said Trent Verquer, grasslands habitat coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “We all worked diligently to target issues that really needed help now. Following a philosophy of farm the best and conserve the rest, we are pleased we could all come together to create and protect these critical habitats in concert with our landowner cooperators.”
Corners for Conservation joined public and private entities to locate small areas throughout the eastern plains that could be established into highly diverse grassland habitat. Projects were designed to address multiple beneficiaries. With landowners looking for options and partners seeking to provide habitat and access, all entities came at conservation from different, but complementary angles which resulted in this unprecedented partnership.
“Partnerships that have a vested interest from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and a nonprofit organization such as Pheasants Forever result in a win-win for landowners, sportsmen, and most importantly, Colorado wildlife,” stated Sam Lawry, western regional director for Pheasants Forever. “Corners for Conservation is already a major success, and Pheasants Forever hopes to continue growing the program for many years to come.”
For more information on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Walk-In Access program, please visit: http://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/WalkInAccessProgram.aspx.