The Colorado Park and Wildlife is working in partnership with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department to implement a pilot project to build a “Decision Support System” (DSS) to identify crucial habitats and corridors on our states’ border. This project is being implemented under the auspices of the Western Governors’ Association.
Understanding the following terms helps to solidify the aims of the project.
Crucial Wildlife Habitat
All fish and wildlife habitat is important, but not all habitat is “crucial.” Crucial habitats are those areas that wildlife depend on in order to avoid unacceptable population declines. The term “crucial habitat” does not have any regulatory or legal meaning.
The goal in identifying these areas is to inform development activities and avoid regulatory limits on land uses. Making information about wildlife habitat available in the early stages of planning for development activities can help guide siting and construction away from the most important areas for fish and wildlife.
Wildlife corridors are the crucial habitats that provide connections among different habitat areas used by fish and wildlife.
Fish and wildlife need room to roam. This includes room for day-to-day movements for feeding and resting, seasonal migration between summer and winter ranges, dispersal of animals to new areas as populations grow, and large-scale shifts due to changing environmental conditions.
Decision Support System
A decision support system (DSS) uses interactive maps to provide developers, land managers and other interested stakeholders with direct access to consistent, up-to-date maps of wildlife habitat and other landscape-level information for planning and siting decisions. Making this information available publicly can help minimize impacts of development on fish and wildlife and help balance economic development needs with wildlife needs.
For More Information
The success of this project depends on engaging with potential users and other interested stakeholders to understand their needs and to design a system that assists the planning process.
For more information and/or to join the mailing list for this project, please contact Tom Brennan at 303-291-7174.