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Governor Polis Signs Invertebrates & Rare Plants Bill to Bolster Colorado’s Conservation Efforts

WESTMINSTER, COLORADO — In a landmark move to enhance Colorado’s environmental stewardship, Governor Jared Polis signed the Invertebrates & Rare Plants bill (HB24-1117) at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster on May 17, 2024. This bill grants Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) the authority to conduct in-depth studies and implement conservation strategies for native invertebrates and rare plants across the state.

“Conservation is essential for our environment and communities. Colorado’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation rely on the health of insects, pollinators, and other animals. Today, we are safeguarding the species that contribute to Colorado’s beauty,” said Governor Polis.

The legislation marks a significant step in CPW’s mission to manage wildlife populations comprehensively. Dan Gibbs, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, emphasized the importance of this holistic approach, noting, “This bill provides an exciting opportunity to manage wildlife populations from the ground up, ensuring the health of ecosystems from plants and invertebrates to larger wildlife.”

CPW Director Jeff Davis highlighted the positive impact of the legislation, stating, “With this bill, CPW will have the tools needed to strengthen our biodiversity protection efforts in Colorado.”

The bill allows CPW to conduct surveys and research on native invertebrates and rare plants, focusing on species at risk of extinction due to limited distribution, population decline, or severe threats. These studies will inform conservation and management practices, aiming to prevent species from being added to federal endangered lists.

David Klute, CPW Species Conservation Unit Supervisor, explained the broader environmental benefits, “Native rare plants are vital for wildlife and human health, contributing to clean air and water, carbon sequestration, food sources, and healthy ecosystems. This legislation supports conservation programs to protect these essential species.”

The bill is funded through Wildlife Cash Funds, excluding revenue from hunting and fishing licenses and related federal grants. From January 2026 to 2029, the Department of Natural Resources will report to the General Assembly on CPW’s progress as part of the annual “SMART Act” presentation.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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