The South Platte River in northeastern Colorado is ranked by Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) as among the highest priority regions for wetland conservation in Colorado, based on its historical importance to migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, marsh birds and other wetland wildlife. Since much of the land along the South Platte is private, conservation easements through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have been critical in preserving this habitat.
Last week, RMBO Private Lands Wildlife Biologist Colin Lee conducted a meeting and tour with NRCS leadership and partners, including representatives from CPW, USFWS, Ducks Unlimited and Playa Lakes Joint Venture, to discuss the results of a comprehensive inventory of 52 NRCS Wetland Reserve Program easements along the South Platte. During the meeting at Morgan Community College in Fort Morgan, Colin presented information he collected about the condition of infrastructure, wetland resources and wildlife habitat across the 7,598 acres of private lands enrolled in NRCS conservation easements along the river.
Then, with a landowner who Colin works with, meeting participants spent the afternoon touring two easements in Morgan County along Bijou Creek, part of the South Platte watershed. “These easements are outstanding examples of wetland conservation on private lands,” said Colin, who assisted the landowner this year by repairing a damaged wetland berm and developing a prescribed grazing plan to enhance wildlife habitat on uplands adjacent to the wetland area.
“One outcome of the meeting was valuable discussion and insight about how NRCS and partners can improve management on existing easements,” Colin said, “as well as strategize efforts to target additional wetland conservation in the future.”
Learn more about how RMBO works with partners and landowners to enhance habitat for birds on private lands on our Stewardship page.