Mule deer depend on large landscapes for survival. They migrate from higher elevation summer range to find refuge in areas that will sustain them through the cold winter months. In doing so, they cross federal, private, and state lands. Increasingly, energy and urban development on these lands are hampering their movement. Public agencies and the private sector will need to work together to create conservation strategies that both protect habitat and allow beneficial economic development to occur.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is working to conserve critical habitat through the Colorado Habitat Exchange. The Habitat Exchange is a proactive solution to balance species conservation with economic development and agriculture. As part of this ongoing effort, Environmental Incentives is developing a Mule Deer Habitat Quantification Tool that will support mule deer conservation in the state. The Habitat Quantification Tool is designed to be scientifically rigorous and user-friendly. The Habitat Quantification Tool will be used by Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff to assess impacts from development projects and evaluate offsets.
The Mule Deer Habitat Quantification Tool was published in Spring 2020. Environmental Incentives supported the roll out of the tool through field testing, training of Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff, and continual improvement of the tool through adaptive management.