Governor Polis Signs Wildlife Executive Order
Colorado is well-known for its natural beauty, wild places, and abundant wildlife. As the human population across Colorado continues to increase, the state is taking important measures to help it’s wildlife populations grow as well. On Wednesday, August 21, Governor Jared Polis signed an Executive Order to protect big game habitat corridors and migrations throughout the state. The EO will facilitate increased collaboration among state departments to conserve and safeguard big game migration corridors and seasonal wildlife habitats.
The Executive Order directs the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) to study and update big game migration patterns throughout the state, and instructs state agencies to identify ways to incorporate conservation of habitat corridors through policy, regulatory, and legislative opportunities. It further requires Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to incorporate big game migration into future planning processes.
The action includes five directives for DNR and CDOT. First, DNR will complete a status report on Colorado’s big game migration patterns by April 1, 2020. This will include a recommended timeframe and action plan “outlining how frequently Colorado Parks and Wildlife will need to update its list of high priority big-game migration corridors and seasonal habitats throughout Colorado.” The second and third directives encourage DNR to include big game habitat and migration corridors in current and future legislative and regulatory processes, as well as encouraging additional public education and outreach. CDOT is also instructed to incorporate migration corridors in all levels of its planning processes, and encouraged to enable safe wildlife passages. The final directive outlines expectations for the collaboration between CDOT and DNR.
Throughout the state, there has been success with installing wildlife over- and underpasses on Colorado highways. One particular example is the Colorado Highway 9 Wildlife Crossing project, which includes two overpasses, five underpasses, pedestrian walk-throughs, wildlife escape ramps, and wildlife guards. The project saw a 90% reduction in wildlife-vehicle collisions in the first year. More information can be found here.
Executive Order in the News