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Fellows Cohort 10

Collaborative Conflict Prevention Programs for Minimizing Human-Carnivore Conflict: Enabling Factors and Applications to Colorado.

In November 2020, Colorado voters approved Proposition 114, requiring the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to reintroduce wolves to Colorado by 2023. Wolf recovery and management is recognized as one of the most contentious conservation issues in American West, with positive and negative impacts across a range of stakeholders.

An effective process for having a dialogue and making decisions on such a contentious issue requires a careful and skilled approach, backed by good information from biological and social sciences and from people who derive their livelihoods from the land.

With this in mind, in fall of 2019, the Center for Collaborative Conservation Fellows program invited proposals for interdisciplinary projects related to the potential need for wolf management in Colorado. These projects were expected to be science-based, use collaboration to address conservation and livelihood issues, and include outreach to communities or stakeholders that have a direct interest in the outcomes of this work.


Policy and Practice for Wolf Reintroduction in Colorado

The following policy briefs in this series report on the fellows’ research findings and their policy implications:

Entire Series combined in PDF

Policy Lessons for Colorado Wolf Reintroduction
Brielle Manzolillo and Courtney Shultz

Collaboration for Reducing Livestock-Carnivore Conflicts
Matthew Collins, Rebecca Niemiec, Jon Salerno, Courtney Shultz

Guiding Principles for Conflict Resolution
Mireille Gonzalez

Perspectives on Wolf Depredation Reporting and Compensation
Rae Nickerson, Alex Few, Becky Niemiec, Dana Hoag, Paul Evangelista

Meet the Fellows:

Fellows Cohort 10 - Matt Collins

Matthew Collins

Master’s student, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Warner College of Natural Resources, CSU

Fellows Cohort 10 - Stewart Breck

Stewart Breck, Ph.D.

Research Wildlife Biologist, USDA National Wildlife Research Center

A new and emerging challenge facing ranchers throughout the American West is the recovery of large carnivores in portions of their historic range. Addressing these challenges, ranching collaboratives have played important roles in minimizing carnivore-livestock conflicts and maintaining viable ranches. Yet, the process by which these collaboratives achieve success in reducing conflicts is poorly understood.
This fellowship will focus on three primary objectives: 1) Identify what factors enable the formation and potential success of rangeland collaborative conflict-prevention programs, 2) Build working relationships among project leads, collaborators, and Colorado collaboratives with an interest in forming conflict prevention programs, and 3) Communicate research findings to these Colorado collaboratives to potentially facilitate the formation of carnivore-livestock conflict-prevention programs in Colorado. To achieve the objectives, fellows will interview stakeholders from collaboratives with carnivore-livestock conflict-prevention programs in Alberta, Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, and Arizona, identifying best practices for organizing and maintaining conflict prevention programs. If implemented in Colorado, these programs would enable long-term research on best carnivore-livestock conflict management practices that can lead to economic and social sustainability of ranchers and sustainable carnivore populations.

  • Hillary Zaranek-Anderson, MS, rancher and wildlife biologist, Anderson Ranch/Centennial Valley Association
  • Alex Few, PhD, Northern Rockies Coordinator, Western Landowners Alliance
  • Matt Barnes, MS, Shining Horizons Land Management LLC, Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative

Identifying Effective Policy and Governance Strategies for Predator Reintroduction

Fellows Cohort 10 - Brielle Monzalillo

Brielle Manzolillo

Master’s student, Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, Warner College of Natural Resources-CSU

When Colorado passed proposition 114 in the fall of 2020, Colorado began following in the footsteps of past wolf reintroduction efforts in other states, and land managers and policy makers will start to contemplate policy approaches and management plans. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will have several years to plan for wolf reintroduction and will face questions about how to do so in a way that is effective, inclusive, equitable, and legitimate. An opportunity exists to draw on the lessons learned from past reintroduction efforts in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Mexican wolf reintroduction area and uncover the challenges that will face Colorado specifically. This project will 1) identify how lessons learned from past wolf reintroduction efforts can inform policy and governance strategies for wolf reintroduction in Colorado, and 2) support efforts in Colorado by working with policy makers and land managers to identify the policy tools that will facilitate a successful reintroduction for both wolves and humans. Policy tools are instruments that can enable governments to solve both social and economic problems such as capacity building, educational programs, incentives, etc. The research will use a policy design lens as an analytical framework to examine the tools and governance strategies available for policy makers working in conservation.

  • Peter Nelson, Director of Federal Lands, Defenders of Wildlife
  • Jonathan Proctor, Director of the Rockies and Plains Program, Defenders of Wildlife
  • Dr. Stewart Breck, Research Wildlife Ecologist, USDA-National Wildlife Research Center

Understanding Wolf-Livestock Depredation and the Policies and Management Practices that Affect Incident Reporting to Provide Recommendations in Colorado

Fellows Cohort 10 - Rae Nickerson

Rae Nickerson

Master’s student, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Warner College of Natural Resources, CSU

Fellows Cohort 10 - Alex Few

Alex Few, Ph.D.

Northern Rockies Coordinator, Western Landowner’s Alliance, Working Wild Challenge

For agricultural producers in Colorado, livestock depredation due to wolves is a major concern regardless of how wolves arrive on the landscape. Understanding the impact of wolves is complex and depredation data used to inform the creation of policy often suffer from scaling and scoping challenges that misrepresent the lived experiences of landowners. This team will analyze the drivers influencing livestock depredation detection and reporting on multiple spatiotemporal scales (local, county, state) improving our understanding of when, where, and to what degree wolves impact livestock. Depredation data, surveys, and interviews will be collected in collaboration with landowners and producers operating on public, private, and tribal lands in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, and New Mexico. This research will recommend strategies for policymakers, wildlife managers, and funders on the development of a fair depredation compensation program, build trust between diverse stakeholders, and inform a dialogue about how public policy unintentionally shapes reporting of livestock lost to wolves. The results and recommendations will serve as a template for a fair compensation policy that is adaptive, representative at various scales, and supports both agricultural communities and wildlife conservation in Colorado and beyond.
  • Dr. Stewart Breck, Research Wildlife Ecologist, USDA National Wildlife Research Center
  • Dr. Paul Evangelista, Assistant Professor ESS and Research Ecologist, Natural Resource Ecology Lab, CSU
  • Dr. Dana L.K. Hoag, Professor Department of Agricultural Economics
  • C.J. Mucklow, Western Region Director, Colorado State University Extension

Understanding, Measuring, and Addressing Social Conflict Surrounding Proposed Wolf Reintroduction in Colorado

Fellows Cohort 10 - Mireille (Ray) Gonzalez

Mireille Gonzalez

Ph.D. student, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Warner College of Natural Resources -CSU

Social conflict over wolf recovery and management can create negative outcomes for both people and wolves and can pose challenges to human-wolf coexistence and to the practitioners charged with managing wolves. A reduction in social conflict is crucial to ensure that predators and humans can coexist, and that trust and positive relationships can be built and/or maintained between different stakeholder groups over time. This research seeks to characterize the state of social conflict over proposed wolf reintroduction in Colorado, and investigate guiding principles of stakeholder engagement processes that can help address these drivers of social conflict. Investigating the drivers of the intergroup conflict and potential processes for addressing this conflict can assist practitioners in developing more effective stakeholder outreach and engagement. Specifically, this research will 1) Identify the drivers and indicators of social conflict surrounding proposed wolf reintroduction, 2) describe how to measure and characterize the drivers and indicators, 3) identify the potential stakeholder engagement processes for reducing social conflict, and 4) evaluate the feasibility and resources needed to implement these processes on the ground in Colorado.
  • Robin Young, Archuleta County Director, CSU Extension
  • Jonathan Proctor, Rockies and Plains Program Director, Defenders of Wildlife
  • Karin Vardaman, Executive Director, Working Circle Proactive Stewardship