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Bird Conservancy of the Rockies Announces Summit to Conserve North America’s Central Grasslands

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- More than 200 organizations across eight sectors representing Mexico, Canada, the U.S., and Indigenous Nations, came together for two days in May for a multi-national summit to commit to conserve North America's Central Grasslands. Hosted by the Grasslands Roadmap Planning Committee, the announcement comes from Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, one of the convening summit partners.

More than 50 million acres of grassland have been lost in the last 10 years alone and the tension between conserving and developing grasslands to meet the needs of a growing population has only increased, exacerbated further by the impacts of climate change.

Birds are good indicators of environmental health and since 1970, grassland bird species have seen a 53-percent reduction in their populations - that's more than 720 million birds. This early warning sign reveals that these diminishing grasslands are being so severely impacted by human activities that they no longer support the same robust wildlife populations they once did.

The Central Grasslands span hundreds of millions of acres across the continent's interior and are one of North America's largest and most vital ecosystems. These Grasslands support crucial environmental functions like water supply, soil health and biodiversity, and are essential for agriculture, food security and supporting rural communities and economies. And, as these grasslands disappear, many benefits they provide are lost.

For example, healthy grasslands filter sediment, nutrients, and bacteria that otherwise end up in waterways, threatening fish and drinking water. Grasslands improve air quality and help mitigate the effects of climate change by sequestering carbon and increasing resilience against drought, fire and wind erosion.

So, what can be done to reverse the trends? That was the main driver behind the Central Grasslands Roadmap and recent summit meeting.

"Many are working to conserve our grasslands, but our disparate efforts are not adding up to change the trajectory and ensure resilient grasslands for the future. We have to prioritize what needs to happen, from funding and policy to partnerships and engagement, to science and conservation delivery - all aligned for the future," Tammy VerCauteren, Roadmap convener and executive director at Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, says.

Collectively, they're working to make a movement to save the grasslands and the people and wildlife that depend on them.

"Together we can ensure access, opportunities and dedicated resources that are relevant and honor cultural values and knowledge across our three countries and the traditional landscapes of Indigenous/Tribal Sovereign Nations," VerCauteren says.

Graeme Patterson, director, JV8 Central Grasslands Conservation Initiative explains that The Central Grasslands Roadmap has been a model exercise in bringing diverse sectors together to chart a path for conservation.

"The complex and painstaking process of giving everyone voice in the Roadmap development will pay huge dividends as all stakeholders will see themselves in the process and be ready to act," Patterson says. "Successful conservation is dependent on true collaboration and thoughtful planning. Together, we will succeed."

About The Central Grasslands Roadmap:

The Central Grasslands Roadmap was launched in 2020 to guide and inform innovative and connected conservation for the benefit of grassland birds, pollinators and mammals, as well as to ensure viable human communities across the landscape of one of North America's most biogeographically unique areas.

The Roadmap community includes a cross-section of leaders and experts that live and work in the Central Grasslands - including producers on working land, Indigenous/First Nations, federal, state and provincial agencies, foundations, industry, and nongovernmental organizations including land trusts, tribal representatives and academia.

About Bird Conservancy of the Rockies:

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is one of 25 Roadmap planning committee member organizations. The Colorado-based nonprofit works to conserve birds and their habitats through an integrated approach of science, education and land stewardship. Their work extends from the Rockies to the Great Plains, Mexico and beyond.


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Partnering Together to Preserve the Western Colorado Experience

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -- Four distinct Western Slope Land Trust organizations have formed an alliance to help preserve our western Colorado natural resources and open space. West Slope Conservation Partners is a new collective group, spanning the southwestern corner of Colorado that includes conservation efforts from the following organizations: Colorado West Land Trust, Crested Butte Land Trust, Montezuma Land Conservancy and La Plata Open Space Conservancy.

Combined with the support of great local communities, the West Slope Conservation Partners have been successful in conserving 193,238 acres of land in western Colorado.

The State of Colorado ranks #7 in population growth nationwide, gaining over 700,000 people over the last nine years. As a result of this continued growth, Western Slope areas are recognizing increasing pressures that threaten the land, agriculture, wildlife, and our quintessential lifestyle.

"We hope to address these profound challenges by working together to discover new opportunities and expand our public outreach efforts," said Rob Bleiberg, Colorado West Land Trust Executive Director. "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 just released its first collaborative report for the purpose of conservation and stewardship education. Together, these organizations have conserved 462 miles of rivers, creeks and streams, 75,971 agricultural acres, and 120,037 of elk habitat and migration corridors. These lands are now guaranteed sustainable for future use due to a total of 867 conservation easements and additional efforts from area municipalities and donors.

2019 West Slope Report:

To review the full report including area specific stories, recreational land preserved, stewardship efforts and upcoming projects, visit

As a private, non-profit alliance, the West Slope Conservation Partners relies on public support. Visit to learn how you can help preserve our Western Slope experience.

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Bridgett Gutierrez
Ryan/Sawyer Marketing

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*Photo caption: West Slope Conservation Partners.

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