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Wildlife and Habitat Roundtable
A Forum for CPW and Colorado’s Non-consumptive Users
Colorado is full of people who appreciate and strive to protect its rich and diverse native plants and animals. Non-consumptive users, such as birdwatchers, botanists, wildlife rehabilitators, nature photographers, volunteers and professionals working to preserve Colorado’s biodiversity, and scientists, are some of the state’s most active and engaged groups – many of their activities are only growing in popularity and potential economic impact. Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) is the agency tasked with managing the state’s natural heritage.
CPW’s management decisions directly impact the work and play of Colorado’s wildlife- and habitat-oriented non-consumptive user community. Similarly, this community’s various longstanding and emerging efforts have an impact on CPW policies. Both will benefit from regular, open communication. More importantly, the state’s many diverse ecosystems and native wildlife populations will benefit.
The Roundtable exists to build open communication and a working relationship between CPW and Colorado’s non-consumptive wildlife users on issues such as those pertaining to the state’s wildlife populations and habitats, as well as non-consumptive use patterns. It is built on the assumption that open, frank, and respectful dialogue is the key to identifying common priorities, finding potential collaborations, cultivating productivity, revealing areas of conflict before lines are drawn in the sand, and ultimately protecting the state’s natural heritage.
The Roundtable is co-managed by CPW and the nonconsumptive user community. It is built so that information will flow in two directions:
From CPW to the Roundtable (WHR) community representatives who will pass it to their respective communities, on topics such as management strategies, scientific research, perspectives of other constituencies, legislative updates, emerging concerns, etc.
From the WHR community to CPW, providing a conduit to the agency for grassroots information and ideas such as observations of wildlife population changes, challenges facing parks, conservation workplans, habitat impacts, suggestions for and reactions to CPW proposals, support for certain CPW initiatives after discussion, and through appropriate processes.
The Roundtable will also provide a forum for the various organizations and individuals within the nonconsumptive wildlife user community – who are quite diverse and may not communicate, much less agree, on all issues – to improve communication amongst themselves.
Outcomes and Authority
The Wildlife and Habitat Roundtable was created to foster information sharing on important topics between CPW and the nonconsumptive wildlife user community and among different interests within that community. The Roundtable was not created to function as an advocacy organization. Any group consensus is advisory and does not bind organizations affiliated with Roundtable participants, the agency, or the Parks and Wildlife Commission. In discussing topics, the Roundtable will focus on exploring issues and highlighting areas of agreement and disagreement.
The Roundtable will consist of CPW’s director and applicable staff as well as wildlife- and habitat-concerned individuals representing various forms of non-consumptive use. These may include but are not limited to: habitat conservation, nature photography, wildlife rehabilitation, birdwatching, plant monitoring, ornithology, herpetology, entomology, and ecosystem advocacy. Representatives from these interest groups will be designated by their constituent groups and will commit to serving as conduits for communication rather than exclusively as advocates for their particular issues. The Roundtable’s goals do not include advocacy as an organization, though individual groups within the Roundtable can agree to advocate for a common position. Therefore, each representative must be well informed of the perspectives within his or her interest group. Special effort will be made to include representatives from across the state, not just the Front Range region. The Roundtable will aim for two representatives from each interest group and a total of 20-26 members. The Roundtable may decide over time to vary the number of interest groups or representatives from each. Representatives of interest groups new to the Roundtable will be considered by the current Roundtable and, if sufficiently focused on wildlife populations and habitats, will be approved for membership by CPW’s director. Representatives will strive to work collaboratively and respectfully at all times.
Term Limits: Representatives will be designated by their constituent groups. Each group will have 1 representative and one alternate, if feasible. Reps. serve as designated by their constituent groups.
Interest Groups: For an interest group to be invited to designate a representative for participation in the Roundtable, it must demonstrate sufficient concern for the state’s wildlife populations and habitats, as well as an ethos of non-consumptive use. Wildlife and habitat need not be a group’s primary focus. Interest groups will be fairly flexibly defined.
Meetings: Initially the Roundtable will meet in person four times a year. The frequency of meetings can be changed by a decision of representatives. The meetings will be open to the public. Members of the public wishing to speak to the Roundtable must ask to be put on the agenda prior to the meeting. Public attendees will generally not be involved in discussions of agenda items unless they are invited to offer their perspective. Additional conference calls may be scheduled to discuss emerging topics. The Roundtable will meet 2 times per year in person and 2 times by conference call or virtual meeting.
Steering Committee: A steering committee of four to five representatives from CPW and the WHR community will work to plan logistics, send emails, arrange speakers, and maintain momentum. A chairperson elected by the Roundtable will serve as point person and meeting facilitator.
Meeting Topics: The agenda for each Roundtable meeting will be created based on input from members at the preceding meeting and ideas sent to the Steering Committee between meetings. The Steering Committee will develop a preliminary agenda and submit it to the Director. Topics will be informational and relevant to current management concerns and will allow information to flow both ways between CPW and the WHR community.
Roundtable Member Organizations
Audubon of the Rockies
Boulder County Audubon
Boulder Valley Nature Association
Colorado Native Plant Society
Colorado Nature and Wildlife Photographers
Colorado Parks and WIldlife
Defenders of Wildlife
Denver Field Ornithologists
Greenwood Wildlife Rehab Center
People and Pollinators Action Network
Rocky Mountain Wild
Wild Earth Guardians
Wild Once More Rehab
CPW Wildlife and Habitat Roundtable
The origins and current status, as of March 2020, of the Wildlife and Habitat Roundtable .
In 2016 a roundtable group was formed at Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Now known as the Wildlife and Habitat Roundtable this continues to be a group of stakeholders representing non-consumptive users. It is a statewide group of conservation and birding organizations, rehabilitators and of course, nature photographers. Members were initially approved by then Director Bob Broscheid with the goal of having people who were open-minded enough to have a positive, two-way dialogue. Anti-hunting organizations weren’t included for this reason. (The hunting, fishing and trapping community is represented by a similar Sportsman’s Roundtable.) I have been the person representing the photographic community. As a sportsman and a nature photographer, I can see issues from different angles.
The group’s charter and member list are shown after this introductory section.
Recently the CPW director has changed and we engaged with the new director, Dan Prenzlow, to continue the Roundtable to provide value to CPW. Our goal is to communicate on matters that affect the wildlife and park lands in Colorado. To date our group has been mostly exchanging ideas with and asking questions of CPW staff regarding a variety of issues ranging from wildlife management plans (e.g. the predator control study in western Colorado) to funding plans for both Parks and Wildlife. CPW is an enterprise department meaning its funding is from fees and such, not the taxpayer money in the general fund. Parks and Wildlife run on different budgets by law. This is primarily because Federal money (e.g. taxes from hunting and fishing supplies from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, most often referred to as the Pittman–Robertson Act) must be used for wildlife.
We have found the CPW staff is very friendly and open to discuss almost any topic with the group (unless the topic relates to ongoing litigation). We do not have a direct connection to the Sportsman’s Roundtable but that is an item we plan to address in the very near future. We do not want a contentious relationship with them.
Why should photographers be interested and/or involved? I believe the best reason is that our state’s outdoor resources provide us with outstanding opportunities for photography, ranging from wildlife to landscape. The organizations responsible for managing our wildlands and parks include CPW, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By engaging with CPW we have access to an organization that manages our wildlife on much of the public and private land as well as the state parks and has a working relationship with the federal agencies.
CPW funding, although it comes from license and entry fees, is controlled by the State Legislature. Our Roundtable has been involved in focus group sessions targeting additional funding sources such as expanding the Habitat Stamp Program, as well as considering additional use permits and funding sources other than hunting/fishing licenses.
As we move forward with Dan, we will be adapting our meetings to his schedule and management style. We plan to have quarterly meetings alternating between conference calls and face to face meetings (usually at the CPW location on Broadway in Denver), preceded by an exchange of ideas on agenda topics. We have a Roundtable Steering Committee of a few individuals that work with the Director’s staff to make up the agenda. They work with the various stakeholder groups to come up with the possible agenda items based on various ideas, concerns, questions, etc. The goal being to provide CPW with input as to what the stakeholder groups find important.
We plan to meet quarterly alternating between conference calls and face to face meetings (usually at the CPW location on Broadway in Denver). Meetings have always been open to the folks on the Roundtable and we have tried to figure out a way to have other people attend as observers. We are trying to include interested persons as observers at meetings and on conference calls. Details of meetings, agenda process, etc. are shown below in the charter.
To date I have been communicating with local camera clubs that are interested in the outdoors, several individual pros, and a group of amateur photographers that I know personally, alerting them to upcoming meetings (providing agendas) and sending meeting minutes afterwards. The photographer community in general has been quite passive.