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Working Lands for Wildlife

Working Lands for Wildlife Logo - drawing of a bear, turtle, birds, fish, trees and cornWorking Lands for Wildlife in Colorado

A Partnership for Conserving Landscapes, Communities & Wildlife

The Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) partnership uses a targeted, win-win approach to improving agricultural productivity and enhancing wildlife habitat. Through the WLFW conservation model, the NRCS has worked with agricultural producers and conservation partners to conserve more than 6.7 million acres of wildlife habitat on working lands across the nation.  To learn more, view our 2016 WLFW Publication (PDF, 14MB).

How Does WLFW Work?

WLFW uses a voluntary, innovative approach to benefit high-priority habitat for targeted species of wildlife that are declining or listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Through USDA Farm Bill programs, producers can receive technical and financial assistance to restore and improve habitat on their land while strengthening their agricultural operations.

WLFW also gives peace of mind to participating producers that as long as they maintain the conservation practices and systems that benefit the targeted species, they can continue their farming, ranching and forest operations and remain compliant with the ESA regulatory responsibilities for up to 30 years.

WLFW Target Species in Colorado

Targeted species for this initiative were identified during a collaborative process with partners, using the following criteria: where conservation on private lands can help reverse species’ decline; the needs of the species are compatible with management of agricultural land; ESA tools are in place to provide regulatory predictability; and where habitat improvements benefit other species. Provided below are the targeted species selected for Colorado:

Image of a Lesser Prairie ChickenLesser Prairie Chicken

Through the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative (LPCI), NRCS works with landowners in five states to improve habitat for lesser prairie chicken and improve sustainability and productivity of native rangelands. Learn about LPCI in Colorado.

Image of Greater Sage Grouse

Greater Sage Grouse & Gunnison Sage Grouse

Through the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI), NRCS works with landowner across 11 western states to improve habitat for sage grouse and improve sustainability and productivity of native rangelands.  Learn about SGI in Colorado.

Image of Southwestern Willow FlycatcherSouthwestern Willow Flycatcher

Through the southwestern willow flycatcher (SWFL) effort, NRCS works with landowners across 6 western states to restore and conserve riparian ecosystems and improving working lands near riparian areas. Learn more about SWFL in Colorado.

Image of Colorado Cutthroat Trout

Native Cutthroat Trout

Starting in 2017, Colorado NRCS included three new WLFW target species (Colorado River cutthroat trout, Rio Grande cutthroat trout and the Greenback cutthroat trout) in an effort to work with landowners across the state to restore and conserve native trout habitat: streams and associated floodplains. Learn more Cutthroat Trout in Colorado.

If you would like to lean more or discuss opportunities for other species and key landscapes, please contact the NRCS state office. 

WLFW’s Six Critical Elements

  • Trust and Credibility: Taking a community, grassroots approach to conservation that is based on the principles of neighborliness.
  • Shared Vision: Finding the common link between wildlife and agriculture that invites cooperation over conflict.
  • Strategic Approach: Directing resources where the biological returns are the highest.  Each targeted species has a strategic implementation plan, please visit the species’ web page for details.
  • Accountability: Using science to measure conservation effectiveness and quantify resulting outcomes. Progress reports can be found on the NRCS National WLFW webpage.
  • Leverage: Multiplying investments through partnerships that achieve more conservation.
  • Regulatory Predictability: Endangered Species Act predictability providing peace of mind to participating landowners that they can enact conservation without concern over additional regulations.

Conservation Partnerships

Conservation partners are an integral part Working Lands for Wildlife. NRCS highly encourages partners to get involved. Interested partners are asked to contact their NRCS state office to learn more and to discuss how they can assist.

Application Forms

For technical assistance, please visit the Colorado Conservation Technical Assistance webpage and contact your local NRCS Service Center.

For funding consideration, please visit the Colorado Financial Assistance webpage where you can also view the USDA Farm Bill programs that are available, including Ranking Documents and Eligible Practices & Payment Rates. You may complete and print the form online or contact your local NRCS Service Center.

More Information

Learn more about the Working Lands for Wildlife campaign to accelerate conservation efforts for at-risk species on the NRCS National WLFW webpage.

State Contact:

Chanda Pettie, State Biologist
Denver Federal Center, Bldg 56, Rm 2604
P.O. Box 25426
Denver, CO 80225-0426
Office: (720) 544-2804