The mission of the Western Slope Conservation Center is to build an active and aware community to protect and enhance the lands, air, water and wildlife of the Lower Gunnison Watershed.

As a result of our work, in 35 years the communities of the Lower Gunnison Watershed will be characterized by intact and functioning ecosystems, clean and abundant water resources, well-managed lands with the highest level of protection that they deserve, and an informed and engaged citizenry who understands the connection between the vitality of both its ecological and social communities.

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We distinguish ourselves by committing to four unique values.

We are transparent, responsible, and ethical in our actions.

We strive for integrity in all of our efforts. We are accountable to our mission, membership, donors, partners, and the public.

We are guided by science.

We will use reliable, relevant, and the best-available scientific research to guide our decisions whenever possible.

We have respect for the environment and diverse communities.

We strive to include the active involvement of the people and partners who are linked to the ecosystems we endeavor to protect. We consider the needs and values of our community. We build relationships based on trust and mutual benefit.

We seek tangible and enduring results.

We use informed debate and creative problem solving to develop locally appropriate solutions to complex conservation problems.

The Western Slope Conservation Center’s 2016 Strategic Plan is the product of a multi-year process of stakeholder gatherings, board sessions, and committee meetings. It defines who we are, what we do, and why we do it. It outlines an ambitious set of goals and objectives to be achieved over the next three years. SEE OUR 2016 STRATEGIC PLAN →

The Western Slope Conservation Center focuses on three main areas of conservation here in the North Fork Valley.


We are heavily engaged in important public lands planning processes currently underway across the Western Slope, from BLM to USFS to Delta County. These plans will shape our home for years to come, and we need your help!  READ MORE


From water quality monitoring to invasive species removal to increasing recreational opportunities, we are committed to fostering healthy river and riparian corridors on the Western Slope! READ MORE


Have you heard about the Youth Outdoor Network? We are committed to creating opportunities for local youth to enjoy the great outdoors and explore career opportunities in the natural resources sector.     READ MORE


Our organization began in 1977 when neighbors joined to stop coal mines from dumping waste next to the river. Over the years our mission broadened to include protection of water resources, public lands, and human health. In 2010, we merged with a watershed group that has a history of river restoration, water quality monitoring, and education. We focus on issues concerning Delta County and the North Fork Valley, focusing particularly on water quality, protection of our public lands, and education and outreach.

Click through our timeline below to see more of our work. 

The Western Slope Conservation Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We are located in Paonia, CO.