A Plan for Successful Conservation

The State Wildlife Action Plan allows CPW to stay consistent in their management efforts and in coordinating with other members of the conservation community.
Species Spotlight: Lynx
More than 20 years ago, CPW launched what was to become one of the most ambitious and high-profile wildlife reintroductions in state history. Known as the Colorado Lynx Reintroduction Program, CPW set out to re-establish wild lynx—a species that was extirpated (no longer found in Colorado) by the late 1970s.  Learn more.

Recognizing Colorado Endangered Species Week
May 10 through May 16, 2020 is Colorado Endangered Species Week. This week is dedicated to the mission of educating the public and working towards the protection of the over 300 plant and animal species that are at risk in Colorado.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has statutory authority over many of Colorado’s abundant natural resources, including more than 960 native species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks, and crustaceans. These resources require a strong plan to guide their management. And while CPW implements various conservation principles for proactive management, the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) provides a blueprint for CPW and its numerous conservation partners.

The State Wildlife Action Plan outlines and prioritizes a wide range of Colorado’s conservation needs and allows CPW to stay consistent in their conservation efforts and in coordinating with other members of Colorado’s wildlife conservation community. While it is not a regulatory document, CPW is required to revisit and reformulate it every ten years in order to continue receiving federal State Wildlife Grants. These funds provide crucial support for several conservation projects.

New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Species Spotlight: New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse
Biologists surveying the Fishers Peak property, which will become Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s next state park, have discovered the 19,200-acre former ranch is home to the federally endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. Learn more.

What Is The State Wildlife Ac​tion Plan?

In Colorado’s State Wildlife Action Plan, Colorado Parks and Wildlife outlines which species and habitats are the most vulnerable. From there, they can determine the conservation actions that CPW and other Colorado organizations can take to address the primary threats. 

Black-footed Ferret
Species Spotlight: Black-footed Ferret
The black-footed ferret is one of the most endangered mammals in North America. Learn more.

The guiding principles of this strategy:

  1. ​Encourage and support conservation actions that address Colorado’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need. 
  2. Manage for healthy habitats and ecosystems so that all species will benefit.
  3. Create a plan that will be flexible enough to incorporate new research findings and successful management innovations into conservation actions.
  4. Acknowledge the pivotal role that private landowners and local stakeholders play in conservation.
  5. Enhance, not replace, other planning efforts.
  6. Maintain an atmosphere of coo​pera​tion, participation, and commitment among wildlife managers, landowners, private and public land managers, and other stakeholders in development and implementation of conservation actions.​​

To qualify for the State Wildlife Grants, Colorado’s State Wildlife Action Plan needed to include elements such as distributions of wildlife species, descriptions of issues facing Colorado’s wildlife, conservation actions and monitoring plans. The document breaks down each Colorado species and habitat one at a time and discusses threats, information needs and conservation actions. 

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Visit the Conservation Section of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website to learn more about the challenges and opportunities and the habitats involved in Colorado’s State Wildlife Action Plan.

Who Is Involved?

Colorado Parks and Wildlife formulated Colorado’s State Wildlife Action Plan in cooperation with partners throughout the state. The guidance provided by the plan is not only for the agency but for Colorado as a whole. And coordination with partners is vital to the success of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s efforts. 

Why is the State Wildlife Action Plan Important?

In the years since writing and implementing the first State Wildlife Action Plan, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been able to adopt a much more proactive approach to wildlife conservation. Using the guidance outlined in the plan for everything from prioritizing and coordinating to legislation and funding, the SWAP is one of Colorado’s major go-to documents for conservation. Read the entire SWAP document​ or check out our condensed SWAP version.

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