Community Agriculture Alliance: Upper Yampa River Habitat Partnership Program
for Steamboat Pilot & Today
Are you familiar with Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Habitat Partnership Program ? If you are in the livestock/agriculture business or a landowner in Routt County you should be.
CPW’s program works to reduce wildlife conflicts, particularly conflicts associated with forage and fences, and to assist CPW in meeting game management objectives. The program’s efforts are primarily aimed at agricultural operators and focus on problems and objectives for deer, elk, pronghorn and moose. It’s funded by receiving 5% of the deer, elk, pronghorn and moose license revenue from each area. This results in millions of dollars annually that can be spent on projects on both private and public land across Colorado.
The local habitat program committee in Routt County is the Upper Yampa River Habitat Partnership Program committee. The committee is composed of several local agricultural producers, local sportsman and agency representatives — CPW, Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Serivce. This combination of local knowledge allows for innovative project ideas and novel solutions to problems specific to Routt County.
The Upper Yampa River committee has recently funded several habitat improvement projects, specifically projects that enhanced the amount of water available to both wildlife and livestock on private property. These projects allowed for better grazing practices that will benefit wildlife and livestock into the future.
Other common projects for the Upper Yampa River committee involve assisting landowners with fencing projects. This could be providing materials for a strong welded wire hay stack-yard that can stand up to the snow loads in Routt County or supplying vinyl-coated top wire. The vinyl-coated top wire program helps to reduce the damage that deer and elk can cause to fencing while they are crossing it because the vinyl-coated wire is more visible, which also results in fewer deer and elk fence entanglement issues.
The possibilities do not end there. In addition to fence and forage type projects, the Upper Yampa River committee also assists landowners with funding a portion of the transaction costs for conservation easements.
Habitat Partnership Program looks for a 50/50 cost split to approve the project being submitted. This means if you are asking the committee to contribute $2,000 to a habitat improvement project on your property, they would be looking for a contribution from you worth $2,000.
The Upper Yampa River committee also considers any other partners associated with the project, like a neighbor, if the project can span multiple parcels of property.
To submit a project with the Upper Yampa River committee, contact your local district wildlife manager directly or call the CPW Steamboat Springs Service Center at 970-870-2197. Upper Yampa River Habitat Partnership Program meetings are typically held once a month. Contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife to learn more.
Jack Taylor is a district wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
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This first year of the Yampa River Fund has been a whirlwind and one of great anticipation of the things to come.