For 70 years, Colorado Wildlife Federation has been the foremost advocates for our state's wildlife need to thrive in good quality habitat. We focus especially hard on protecting important habitat on the public lands in Colorado.
We keep members, supporters, decision makers and the public aware of the key wildlife issues and the impacts to viewers, anglers, hunters, wildlife photographers, birders, hikers and other conservationists.
We monitor, analyze and take specific action on proposed plans and policies of state and federal agencies as well as industrial activity including energy development and land use. We also conduct on-the-ground projects to remove noxious weeds and to restore habitat through our volunteers.
In 2001, CWF spearheaded support for the successful legislative effort sponsored by Representative Joe Stengel to make the Division of Wildlife an enterprise agency. The Division can utilize sportsmen’s dollars without competing under TABOR restrictions against other state agencies. The General Assembly retains oversight; the Joint Budget Committee reviews and approves the budget.. (The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission continues to set policy.)
CWF also developed and hosted an important series of wolf panel discussions to encourage a provocative, balanced, civil discussion of issues surrounding wolves in the southern Rocky Mountains.
CWF focused much of its work during 2002 on chronic wasting disease (CWD). CWF’s board chair participated on the Governor’s Task Force on CWD which concluded its work in October and issued a report with nine resolutions and recommendations. Earlier in the year, the Division of Wildlife and the Colorado Department of Agriculture entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) which declared that double fencing or depopulations would be required when a CWD infected elk or deer is found in an alternative livestock facility. CWF spearheaded efforts by sportsmen’s organizations to advocate for strong regulations pursuant to the MOA to prevent spread of CWD, making comments before the Colorado Wildlife Commission and the Colorado Board of Brand Inspection
CWF weighed in on the two development phases of the 2005-2009 big game season structure. The first phase focused on policy to provide framework and the second consisted of development of implementation alternatives and regulations.
CWF and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) urged Colorado’s Congressional delegation to support the resolution of a serious threat to public lands and wildlife potential giveaway of rights-of-way across public lands under a 19th century law known as “R.S. 2477.” The law provided for rights-of-ways for construction of highways. Certain states, counties and special interest groups began pressing for application of the law to trails and cowpaths.
CWF conducted an extensive analysis of and submitted comments on the Platte River Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
CWF worked in conjunction with several sportsmen’s groups and the Division of Wildlife on a number of proposals that would improve and protect habitat, including a fee increase in resident hunting and fishing licenses, a habitat stamp and a 75-cent surcharge to fund the Public Education Advisory Council. This work culminated in the successful HB 2005-1266 the next year.
CWF forged a coalition between sportsmen and moderate environmentalists in support of the habitat stamp provisions in HB 2005-1266. This bill became law.
Kent Ingram represented CWF on the Big Game License Allocation Working Group and CWF consistently submitted comments on issues including nonresident percentages, landowner allocation, preference points and the proposed pilot projects.
The Colorado Mule Deer Association and CWF developed Colorado Oil and Gas Leasing Guidelines. The document gained signatures of 67 conservation organizations, comprising sportsmen’s groups and moderate environmental groups.
CWF submitted comments on the proposed Endangered Species Act amendments contained in its letter to Senators Salazar and Allard in November 2005.
In December 2005, CWF wrote a letter, signed by 44 sportsmen’s groups, to urge Senator Allard to defeat a disastrous mining provision that was embedded in the House Reconciliation bill (H.R 4241) and had passed the House in the wee hours of November 18, 2005. This provision would have enabled mining claim holders to purchase public lands without regard to the public value of the lands. It also directed that a mineral examination report would not be required and that use of the land be limited to mining. Before the House vote, Congressman Salazar issued this very wise statement (excerpted): “A budget is supposed to be about getting our finances in order, so it really doesn’t make sense to put in provisions that may hurt our local economies…. Even the thought of changing our landscape in a way that impacts our economies deserves an open, honest public discussion. A decades old problem cannot be solved overnight and certainly not as a last minute insertion into a budget bill. The provision needs to be pulled from this bill, and addressed on its own, so that everyone can understand the impact to our economies.” Within days of receipt of this letter, Senator Allard voiced his opposition to the provision and it was discarded.
Again in 2006, CWF gained sign-ons to its letter in opposition to the administration’s proposed sale of hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands to fund unrelated items in its 2007 federal budget. CWF wrote, “Hunters, fishermen and other conservationists view our public lands as crown jewels. These public lands form the very core of our proud tradition of hunting and fishing heritage. Our federal public lands are not for liquidation, at any price, for any reason.”
During 2006 CWF created maps that showed habitat of selected species overlaid on roadless areas for each national forest, made presentations on panels before the Roadless Areas Review Task Force, and urged sportsmen to become involved and to make recommendations on areas that needed to remain roadless.
CWF continued its support for the Platte River Cooperative Agreement, begun in 1995
CWF, CMDA and others adapted the OIl and Gas Guidelines into proposed legislation, sponsored by Representative Dan Gibbs and Senator Lois Tochtrop. The bill was passed unanimously and signed by the Governor on May 31, 2007.
CWF protested BLM’s February 6, 2007 planned Lease Auction of four state wildlife areas. The BLM “deferred for further evaluation” its proposed lease auction of these state wildlife areas: Little Snake, Browns Park, Spanish Peaks, and Red Lion. In addition to CWF’s protest, the Division of WIldlife had written “letters of concern” and in addition Representative Mark Udall had written a letter to the BLM.