Colorado
© Mike Norton (Colorado)

Colorado Natural Heritage Program Potential Conservation Areas

Potential Conservation Areas (PCAs) are delineated to identify the land area that provides habitat and ecological processes upon which a particular species, suite of species, or natural community depends for its continued existence. The best available knowledge about each species’ life history is used in conjunction with information about topographic, geomorphic, and hydrological features; vegetative cover; and current and potential land uses. In developing boundaries of a PCA, Colorado Natural Heritage Program scientists consider a number of factors that include:

  • Ecological processes necessary to maintain or improve existing conditions;
  • Species movement and migration corridors;
  • Maintenance of surface water quality within the PCA and the surrounding watershed;
  • Land intended to buffer the PCA against future changes in the use of surrounding lands;
  • Exclusion or control of invasive exotic species;
  • Land necessary for management or monitoring activities.

PCA boundaries are meant to be used for conservation planning purposes and have no legal status. The proposed boundary does not automatically recommend exclusion of all activity. Rather, the boundaries designate ecologically sensitive areas in which land managers may wish to consider how specific activities or land use changes within or near the PCA may affect the biological resources on which the PCA is based. Please note that these boundaries are our best estimate of the primary area supporting long-term survival of targeted species and communities. A thorough analysis of human context and potential stresses has not been conducted. CNHP’s conservation planning staff is available to assist with these types of analyses where conservation priority and local interest warrant additional research.

To learn more, or to download Potential Conservation Area data, visit Colorado Natural Heritage Program.

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