An official website of

Colorado Atlas

Introduction

We first began the research for the Collaborative Conservation Atlas project back in 2013 with the goal of identifying and systematically describing collaborative initiatives across the state to gain a better understanding of ‘who is doing what, where?’ As of 2023, we have identified 250+ long-term collaborative and multi-stakeholder initiatives working across the state on many different kinds and combinations of natural resource, recreation and sustainability, and environmental issues. While each group is unique, the initiatives in our study share the following characteristics:

  • they include a range of stakeholders representing the diverse perspectives of organizations, interest groups, and/or individuals with a stake in the outcome that participate on a regular basis or have recognizable responsibilities within the initiative.
  • the core participants pool resources and assets to achieve shared objectives
  • they formed to achieve one or more conservation or natural resource-related goals
  • participants engage in a sustained process of interaction or consensus building at some point(s) during the group’s history lasting at least two years

Our research and findings on how and why collaboratives get started, and what organizational models they adopt to achieve their shared objectives are described in our final report found here.

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Who and where are they?

The collaborative initiatives in and around Colorado that we have identified so far are presented in this interactive map. Icon colors correspond to primary, broad natural resource sectors collaboratives focus on:

    • Forests
    • Water and Wetlands
    • Land Use, Range, & Habitat
    • Outdoor Recreation

The icons within each colored circled indicate what issue the collaborative emphasizes within the primary natural resource sector. As a major update to the 2023 map, we have added collaboratives working on recreation and conservation as part of the Regional Partnerships Initiative. We have also added several “support organizations” that work statewide to support place-based collaboratives. Click the icon to view the group’s name, website, status (active or inactive), primary natural resource sector and issue emphasis, year of initiation, geographic scope, and a brief description of the initiative. Although the map places collaboratives within broad categories, many collaboratives address multiple issues, including recreation, climate, and more. To view more details about the full range of issues a collaborative works on, download the  master list of the collaboratives as an excel file.

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We wish to thank Ch’aska Huayhuaca for her innovate thinking and commitment to the Atlas. We also thank The Nature Conservancy for their support for intern Jorune Klisauskaite, who assisted with the 2020 update, and the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute for in-kind support for the 2021 update.  The 2023 update was completed by Finch Camp, the Center for Collaborative Conservation’s office assistant, with assistance from Karolina Vida from the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute. This map and database will continue grow and change as we learn of more collaboratives. If you have questions, updates or corrections–or if you know of a collaborative that should be added to the map–please let us know by completing this update form.

Executive Summary of original 2019 Atlas

The Atlas of Collaborative Conservation in Colorado charts the landscape of the state’s many collaborative conservation initiatives, which are incredibly diverse in form and function. In this report, we compare and contrast the problems and issues collaboratives form to address, the activities they work on together, their founding leadership and members, and how they organize themselves. The report, which is unique in its statewide focus on such a broad range of collaboratives, adds to a growing body of knowledge about how collaboration happens at different scales and in different regions.

Timeline of number of collaboratives established in Colorado each year between 1977 and 2015, showing major events that may have affected their formation (N=183).

We found that Colorado is rich with collaboratives, working on a wide array of issues. Over the last 40 years, more than 180 collaboratives have formed, with at least 157 still active today. They come together to address complex environmental and social issues that one organization or individual cannot address alone. These issues are usually wide-ranging and cross ownership boundaries, like flowing water, wildfires, migrating fish and wildlife, or weed spread. Collaboration is often triggered by government policies associated with these issues (like regulatory threats, funding incentives, or mandates), and also by environmental problems, risks, or crises that impact safety, life, and property.

The people responsible for bringing collaboratives together represent individuals, industry, non-government organizations, and government agencies. They can work at the local, state, federal and tribal level, and can be combinations of government and non-government organizations. By working together with different kinds of members, collaboratives harness the power of broad and intersecting networks, pooled brain power and financial resources, and diverse decision-making authority. Together, they are learning and sharing information through monitoring, research and education, planning for change and resilience, developing and piloting innovative conservation tools and technologies, and strengthening relationships across the state of Colorado and beyond.

Access the full report here. Please also view Ch’aska Huayhuaca’s dissertation “The state of collaboration: an analysis of form and function in Colorado’s natural resource collaboratives” here.

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