Colorado Divisions of Wildlife and Parks to Merge

On March 8, 2011, Governor Hickenlooper announced that plans will be made for Colorado Division of Wildlife and Division of Parks to be combined into one agency
(click here to read the press release) .  Legislation is being drafted first to combine the Wildlife Commission and the Parks Board into one body, effective July 1, 2011.  During this year, a transition planning team will work to define and prioritize the many complicated issues.  Additional legislation will be needed in 2012 to address numerous issues.   CWF believes it is essential that the transition planning be transparent and stakeholders have a meaningful role in this process.  See the statement below that CWF released on March 10 immediately before the joint meeting of the Wildlife Commission and the Parks Board.  CWF's Board Chair also made public comment.  CWF will update our website again when the legislation is introduced and as new developments occur.

New Oil and Gas Regulations for Colorado

On Wednesday, April 22nd, Governor Ritter signed into law new rules for oil and gas development.  The new regulations will update 30 year old public health, water and wildlife protections for oil and gas drilling. 


In 2007, the Colorado State Legislature passed a key bill requiring the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to write new rules with the Colorado Dept of Public Health and the Division of Wildlife to better protect wildlife and the general public during oil and gas operations.

After an 18-month rulemaking marathon, Colorado adopted the most comprehensive state oil and gas drilling regulations in the nation on December 11th, 2008.

The 177 pages of rules — aimed at better managing oil and gas development, protecting wildlife, and reducing impacts on people living near drilling operations — were passed unanimously by the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Among the protections the regulations impose are:

  • A 300-foot no-drill buffer around streams used for drinking-water supplies.
  • Controls on odors and dust on operations within a quarter-mile of homes in Garfield, Mesa and Rio Blanco counties — all major areas for natural- gas development.
  • A requirement that drillers consult with the state Division of Wildlife on mitigation plans if they drill in designated wildlife areas.

On Friday, March 13th, the Colorado State House passed the new oil and gas rules by a vote of 50-13. Then on Wednesday, March 25th, the Colorado State Senate passed the new rules by a vote of 21-13. The bill took effect on April 1st.

Why do we need these rules?

  • Colorado issued a record 6,368 drilling permits last year, six times the 1999 number, and state officials say more than 7,000 could be approved this year. Tens of thousands of new gas wells are expected on federal land alone over the next 20 years.
  • Just one year ago, 1.2 million gallons of drilling mud - a cocktail of oil and chemicals - created a serious health hazard in what is known as the Garden Gulch Spill.
  • From January of 2003 to March 2008 there were 1,549 spills or seepage incidents in Colorado.

Read the Final Rules

Fact Sheet

Forest Service Pulls Public Lands in Colorado from Lease Sale

The U.S. Forest Service pulled 57 parcels from a recent offering of public lands for oil and gas development in Colorado. The area comprised over 66,000 acres in the Grand Mesa, Uncompaghre and Gunnison National Forest. .

Removing the pacels leaves only 12,200 acres in 28 scattered parcels for auction on Thursday. The removal came after protests and opposition from a number of local conservation groups as well as the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Criticism focused on the fact that the lease parcels were selected based on an outdated 1993 management plan with dated science on how drilling might affect land and wildlife. Some parcels were also in the watershed which supplied drinking water to the town of Norwood, southwest of Montrose.

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