Colorado governor enlists habitat exchanges to benefit sage-grouse and economy

EDF, industry and agriculture partners help Colorado conserve sage-grouse, secure more prosperous future

May 15, 2015
Chandler Clay, (202) 572-3312,

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive order today designating habitat exchanges as the preferred compensatory mitigation option for companies impacting greater sage-grouse habitat in the state. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has been working with policymakers, agriculture and industry to develop habitat exchanges to grow quality sage-grouse habitat across portions of Colorado’s 31.3 million acres of private working lands.

“This executive order underscores the need and opportunity for Colorado agriculture and industry to contribute to the state’s sage-grouse solution,” said Eric Holst, senior director of working lands at EDF. “I’m excited to see Governor Hickenlooper embrace habitat exchanges to rapidly drive high-quality conservation for sage-grouse, which will in turn secure a more prosperous future for the state.”

The executive order gives Colorado farmers and ranchers the opportunity to enroll in the Colorado Habitat Exchange to earn new revenue for improving greater sage-grouse habitat, sold to energy companies and other developers looking to mitigate impacts.

“The Colorado Habitat Exchange will unlock new opportunities for farmers and ranchers to make sage-grouse conservation a part of their business models,” Holst said. “The sooner we can put conservation on the ground, the sooner we can see sage-grouse recover and the sooner Colorado can mitigate the risk of a listing decision in the future. The governor’s endorsement of habitat exchanges brings us one step closer to achieving the results we need to ensure the sustained economic and environmental vitality of Colorado.”

The Colorado Habitat Exchange was developed through a multi-stakeholder process that included representatives from state government, agriculture and energy industries, and the conservation community.

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