By: Tehri Parker, Executive Director
In 2017 we will work tirelessly to protect the biodiversity of the mountains, plains, and deserts that make up the Southern Rockies Eco-region. Understanding that our planet is on the verge of the sixth mass extinction we will focus our efforts on protecting and restoring the unique habitats of our region so that species can find refuge in our changing world. While large national groups lead efforts to protect environmental policies, we will be the boots on the ground organization for our region.
- We will use the best available science to guide our decision-making process. Period.
- We will continue the fight to keep Wolf Creek Pass wild and free from development. We will follow through with our current lawsuit opposing the ill-conceived land exchange, and pursue future action as needed.
- We will work to protect critical Gunnison sage-grouse habitat in southwest Colorado, so that future generations can enjoy this icon of our western heritage. We will develop strong science-based alternatives for BLM plans, work collaboratively with local stakeholders, and motivate the public to fight for habitat protections.
- We will watchdog the oil and gas industry by screening all lease sales in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming for conflicts with wildlife and wild lands. We will share our findings with the public and provide tools for individuals and organizations to engage in the leasing process.
- We will oppose oil and gas leases that threaten the survival of our region’s most imperiled species. Through comments, protests, and legal challenges we will fight to protect habitat for sage-grouse, white-tailed prairie dogs, Mexican spotted owl, and native wildflowers.
- We will work to protect the last remaining wild lands in our region from development and fragmentation. Using our GIS and biological expertise we will work with the conservation community to develop strong proposals for the protection of BLM and Forest Service land.
- We will continue to monitor the effects of climate change on the American Pika. With our partners we will train and utilize volunteer citizen scientists to monitor occupied pika sites on the Front Range, and pursue options to expand the program throughout Colorado.
- We will map and prioritize wildlife movement corridors on public land in Colorado. This work will set the course for our conservation actions for the next decade and beyond.
- We will compel decision-makers to construct wildlife crossings across roadways that bisect important wildlife movement corridors. Our efforts will focus on the I-70 corridor, as this roadway severs the north/south movement of many species, including the threatened Canada lynx.
- We will work to reduce gender bias in the sciences. Through our 100 Women for the Wild program we will engage women in our work, and develop an Emerging Female Leader fund to help pay for internships at Rocky Mountain Wild.
- We will harness the power of film, story telling, and activism to compel new audiences to join us in our work. Through our annual film festivals, citizen science projects, and other events we will inspire, engage, and educate the public, and provide real direct actions for protecting the environment.
- We will launch Colorado Endangered Species Awareness Week to draw attention to the threats to biodiversity in our state. The week will include speakers, events, and actions for all ages (May 14 – 20).
- We will educate the public about the importance of wolves, lynx, wolverines, and other carnivores for maintaining healthy ecosystems. We will press for land management decisions that protect habitat and movement corridors for these species.
- We will walk our talk. As a distributed working team we will work from home and use readily available technology to stay connected. Our efforts will reduce our carbon footprint by over 3,800 lbs of CO2 per year.
- We will work with federal, state, and local agencies to find collaborative answers to our regions most pressing conservation issues, while retaining the right to challenge agency actions in Court when necessary.
- We will go outside and enjoy the places we work to protect, because in the words of Rachel Carson, “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” We are going to need that strength.
- If we break any points in our pledge, we will say we are sorry, give you a truthful reason why, and buy you a beer.