Monday, July 29, 2013

Renée Rondeau wins the 2013 Stewardship Award from the Palmer Land Trust!

by David Anderson, CNHP Director

The Palmer Land Trust has announced its 2013 winners of the Southern Colorado Conservation Awards, and Renée Rondeau has won the 2013 Stewardship Award!  Every year Palmer Land Trust honors individuals and organizations that have made a profound impact on conservation in Southern Colorado.  In their newsletter, they describe these awards thus: “Colorado faces some of the greatest conservation challenges in the nation.  And it responds with some of the greatest conservation successes—championed by people for whom protecting important places, leading by example, teaching our children about the natural world, and setting new benchmarks for a sustainable future are a part of their daily lives.  Each year Palmer Land Trust honors four of these champions at the Southern Colorado Conservation Awards (SCCA).”

Renee Rondeau at the JE Canyon Ranch in 2012,
telling us about what makes this place so special
I have heard land owners in Southeast Colorado talk about the “renaissance” that has occurred there since we started the GOCO- funded inventory in 2007, and credit for this success goes to all of the landowners who worked with us, to our partners who helped us all along the way, and to CNHP staff who led surveys and visited over 50 ranches over the course of three years.   Renée played a key role in that project and has gone on to help landowners turn the knowledge of their biological wealth into actions that will benefit the land and people for generations to come.  Renée is being recognized for her leadership and cultivation of partnerships, her ability to communicate about conservation, and the transformations that have followed from her connections and inspiration in Southeast Colorado.  She has become a trusted advisor, supporter, and friend to so many members of communities throughout the region, and we are grateful for Palmer Land Trust’s recognition of her contributions!

Stakeholder engagement!
These awards will be given to their recipients on October 9th in Colorado Springs.  Congratulations, Renée!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Colorado Natural Heritage Program and Colorado Parks and Wildlife Partnership for Wetland Assessment and Strategic Conservation

by Joanna Lemly, CNHP Wetland Ecologist

CNHP serves as a collaborative research partner to CPW’s Wetlands Wildlife Conservation Program, providing essential information and tools to help CPW target wetland conservation where it is needed most. This partnership is funded primarily by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but would not be possible without CPW’s matching contributions. There are four focal areas to the CPW-CNHP partnership:

  • Digital Wetland Mapping. CNHP and CPW have worked closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetland Inventory and many funding partners to complete digital wetland mapping for Colorado. Prior to this collaboration, Colorado had little digital wetland mapping and it was impossible to calculate wetlands acres. Now these data can be used to quantify wetland acres in public and private ownership, locate important wetland complexes, and identify wetlands threatened by development. By the end of 2013, the CNHP-CPW will have increased the total coverage of digital wetland mapping mapping data to 90%!
Map of Colorado's Digital Wetland Mapping Status, 2013
  • Wetland Assessment Protocols. In collaboration with CPW, CNHP has developed a suite of field and GIS-based wetland tools to assess the overall condition of wetlands and the quality of habitat available for CPW’s priority wetland-dependent wildlife species. These tools can be used to evaluate habitat need in a given watershed or management unit and to evaluate the success of restoration projects.
Modeled Priority Duck Habitat on the Lower South Platte River Basin

  •  Basinwide Wetland Condition Assessments. CNHP and CPW have carried out three river basin-scale wetland condition assessment studies. Randomly selected wetlands are visited in each basin to estimate the overall range in wetland condition. To date, over 300 wetlands have been surveyed. These studies provide a baseline understanding of wetlands, the threats they face, and the availability and/or need for habitat in each basin, helping CPW target restoration projects.

Map of Basinwide Wetland Condition Assessments
  • Education and Outreach Tools. With essential CPW matching funds, CNHP has developed several important education and outreach tools. Early in 2013, CNHP released the Field Guide to Colorado’s Wetland Plants, an information and photo rich publication that describes over 600 wetland plant species and emphasizes each species beneficial use by wildlife. This publication was distributed to each CPW Wildlife Technician. A series of shorter Pocket Guides to Wetland Plants are in the works for each major region in the state. Along with the field guides, CNHP and CPW have developed online resources about wetlands, including an online wetlands mapper.
Cover of the Field Guide to Colorado's Wetland Plants