At a Glance
A comprehensive habitat assessment methodology streamlines and facilitates a multi-county, regional effort to restore, protect, and enhance habitat connectivity.
Colorado has one of the fastest growing population rates in the U.S., and much of that growth is occurring in the Denver metro area. Given the pressure of this development on the region’s natural resources, the Metro Denver Nature Alliance (MDNA), a coalition of 50 partners collaborating to create a shared conservation vision for the seven-county region, sought to create a comprehensive approach to land use planning. Biohabitats worked with MDNA and its founding member, The Nature Conservancy, to develop a preliminary conservation framework and approach for prioritizing open space planning initiatives. The project includes the development of a common language and understanding of conservation and restoration opportunities to facilitate ongoing dialogue within and beyond the MDNA.
Biohabitats began by compiling existing land cover and other spatial data sets relevant to conservation planning to create a geospatial framework which established planning zones. In collaboration with a Technical Advisory Team, Biohabitats developed a high quality assessment methodology involving a synthesis of multiple habitat criteria, including climate resiliency. Multiple connectivity analysis models will be developed and used to engage a multi-jurisdictional Leadership Team to gain feedback about their potential use. Guided by that feedback, Biohabitats will develop a comprehensive conservation map identifying core areas, corridors, critical gaps, connectivity barriers, and important conservation and restoration opportunities. This assessment, when later combined with information related to recreation, social vulnerability, access, capital planning, and other conservation-related considerations, will enable our partners to plan holistically and prioritize actions in a way that values people and the natural landscapes we enjoy and on which we depend.