Grants for Wildlife Conservation Available

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The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) has set aside $200,000 for a competitive grants program to help conservation groups and communities around the state implement projects aimed at conserving, restoring or enhancing Colorado’s threatened, endangered and declining wildlife resources, state officials announced this week.

Jim Guthrie, the DOW’s financial initiative program manager, said the Colorado Wildlife Conservation Grant Program (CWCG) will be funded through the federal State Wildlife Grant Program, and should start hitting the ground in early summer.

“We work closely with many organizations throughout Colorado in our wildlife conservation efforts, and their support is tremendously valuable,” Guthrie said. “This new grant program will help build important new initiatives, expand the resources dedicated to our state’s wildlife, and help the DOW meet high-priority goals in its strategic plan.”

Local governments, school districts, private conservation groups, education organizations, and other qualifying parties can apply for the funds. Eligible projects will include those focused on species conservation and education projects closely tied to a species conservation effort. A $50,000 cap has been set for any single project.

Guthrie said the intent of the grants program is to fund several projects, not a single initiative such as a large property easement acquisition.

“This funding will help move some good ideas from paper to reality, and we expect it will draw in additional financial support—as well as volunteer help—for several wildlife projects,” he said.

Funding applications for 2004 allocations must be postmarked by June 1 and sent to the DOW headquarters at 6060 Broadway, Denver, CO 80216, or e-mailed by the same date to jim.guthrie@state.co.us.

A panel made up of DOW personnel and outside experts is expected to meet and review the applications by June 15 and forward its recommendations to the agency’s senior staff and director, who will review and adopt a final project list by July 1. Finalists will be notified by July 10. The review panel will rank projects based on impact, consistency with DOW priorities, expectation of success, partnerships, whether they address imminent needs, and the percentage of funding that will go toward project implementation instead of administrative overhead.

Examples of possible projects include: on-the-ground habitat restoration; wildlife education programs tied to a specific species conservation effort; public information campaigns in support of species recovery programs; species population field surveys; or development of alternative funding sources for species conservation projects.

The review panel and DOW senior staff will give priority to projects that are consistent with the principles of the agency’s Wildlife Strategic Plan, including the five “high-priority achievements,” which are:

-- Habitat to support the broadest sustainable wildlife populations;

-- Conservation partnerships with private landowners;

-- Protect and enhance species at risk of becoming threatened or endangered;

-- Implement recovery plans;

-- Increase the number of Colorado students who learn about wildlife issues.

Projects that do not fall under any of the high-priority achievements categories—but are consistent with other strategic plan goals—will be considered. The DOW’s 2002-2007 strategic plan is available on the DOW Web site. Applicants should be aware they will have to comply with federal and state regulations related to grants, including accounting, reporting, and matching fund requirements.

All applications should include: a description of the project; specific, tangible goals or “deliverables;” project location; benefits of the project; partners; project costs, including total requested funding; type and source of matching funds; a project timeline; and project leader contact information.

Proposals should not exceed four pages. Project costs should be detailed enough to enable the review panel, DOW senior staff, and the agency’s director to understand exactly how funds will be used. Costs should also be tied to project deliverables and elements. Funding for the competition has already been earmarked for fiscal year 2004, but successful completion of projects should not depend on future availability of State Wildlife Grant or CWCG funds, Guthrie said.

Entities competing for funding must contribute 25 percent in matching, non-federal funds for planning projects, and 50 percent in matching, non-federal funds for implementation projects. In-kind services and volunteer time can be used as a match. Funds already committed as a match for other projects cannot be used to match CWCG funds.

“We hope Congress will continue to fund the State Wildlife Grant program, but it is a year-to-year decision. Unfortunately, the uncertainty over future appropriation levels also limits the type of conservation programs we can support with State Wildlife Grant funds,” Guthrie said.