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Recently, I attended the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northwest Region Partner Appreciation Meeting held here in Grand Junction. I am always interested in such meetings because they bring together some diverse uses of the outdoors. How much does Grand Valley Audubon Society have in common with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation? How much does the Mule Deer Society have in common with Grand Valley Anglers? Well, there is much more in common than not. A primary issue on everyone’s mind is Habitat.
Here is some damaged habitat:
Note the bare cutbanks eroded because of over-grazing. The stream that remained might once have held fish, but was now intermittent as the erosion has caused straightening and downcutting.
Further up this trail, an hour or two later, the canyon narrowed and there was a fence preventing livestock entry and we came upon this view.
I also remember finding Cordilleran Flycatchers and a couple of kinds of warblers nearby. It is consistently true that habitat that is good for birding and other wildlife viewing is also good for hunting and fishing.
My family has some property adjacent to the Grand Mesa National Forest. This property had been heavily over-grazed. Once we removed the cattle, kept the fence fixed, and removed invasive weeds (opportunistic plants that quickly colonize damaged soil), numbers of ground and shrub-nesting birds such as Swainson’s Thrushes and Lincoln’s Sparrows increased. We also began to see more scenes such as this one from a few weeks ago.
This is not to say that these photos of elk and deer can’t be taken on grazed land, but careful management is critical if we are going to preserve and, perhaps, improve our wildlife enjoyment opportunities. The habitat equation includes many factors such as roads and OHV use, energy development, and zoning. Issues involved are scientific, political, economic and always emotional. For these reasons it is important for all groups with an interest in the outdoors to work together. This post provided by Nic Korte, Grand Valley Audubon Society. Send questions/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more and to participate in the activities of Grand Valley Audubon, please see our website at audubongv.org and “like” us on Facebook!]