Organizations join in partnership to protect West Slope lands

The Colorado West Land Trust based in Grand Junction has joined with three other organizations in a new collaborative effort to preserve natural resources and open spaces in Western Colorado.

The West Slope Conservation Partners also includes the Crested Butte Land Trust, Montezuma Land Conservancy and La Plata Open Space Conservancy.

Rob Bleiberg, executive director of the Colorado West Land Trust, said the partnership will address the pressures of growth on land as well as agriculture, lifestyles and wildlife in the region. By one estimate, the population of Colorado has increased 700,000 over the last nine years.

“We hope to address these profound challenges by working together to discover new opportunities and expand our public outreach efforts,” Bleiberg said. “It is our common goal to protect the lands where we live, work and play in Western Colorado. Together we can preserve these priceless landscapes for future generations to enjoy.”

The West Slope Conservation Partners released its first collaborative report. Together, the four organizations have conserved a total of 193,238 acres in Western Colorado and put in place 867 conservation easements — binding agreements with willing property owners that preclude development. Efforts also included the conservation of 462 miles of rivers, creeks and streams; 75,971 agricultural acres; and 120,037 acres of elk habitat and migration corridors.

The support of donors and municipalities has made those numbers possible, Bleiberg said. As a private, nonprofit alliance, West Slope Conservation Partners also relies on support.

For more information about West Slope Conservation Partners, visit the website at westslopeconservationpartners.org.