Supporting Clean Air & Water for Colorado
The History of The Colorado Environmental Coalition
Each year, CEC inspired thousands of organizations and individuals who, like you, care deeply about Colorado. They worked on a variety of issues that span the state and include protecting our public lands, ensuring the quality of the water we drink, preserving wildlife habitat and opportunities for recreation, advocating for good transportation and growth practices, promoting common sense policies in the state legislature, and providing technology resources to other non-profits.
Colorado is blessed with a number of designated Wilderness Areas, but these lands only represent a small portion of the lands suitable for Wilderness designation in Colorado, and protect a limited number of the different ecosystems and wildlife habitat found in the state. CEC is dedicated to winning wilderness protection for Colorado's roadless wildlands – some of the most breathtaking landscapes in our nation.
Energy exploration is occurring at an unprecedented rate, and Colorado is ground zero for much of this development. As the energy demands of our region and the nation increase, it is critical that we find ways to balance our energy needs with the importance of protecting our land, air, water, and wildlife.
Generations of Coloradans have relied on our waterways and aquifers to support farms and ranches, and each year people come from around the United States (and beyond) to fish, kayak, raft and play in our rivers. CEC works with our partners to develop and advocate for the adoption of water supply and management decisions that are environmentally and economically sustainable in order to conserve, protect and restore Colorado rivers.
Coloradans are attracted to our state because of its scenic beauty and its outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation. Yet Colorado's rapid development and lack of significant growth management policies threaten to undermine the quality of life we enjoy in Colorado. CEC is working to promote smart policies for urban growth and transportation.
On behalf of the conservation community, CEC lobbies elected officials at the local, state and federal level on priority campaigns and helps in educating and influencing decision makers and the public on important issues.
Through our capacity building program, the Coalition offers a variety of equipment and services to environmental and other progressive nonprofit organizations in Colorado. CEC’s goal is to strengthen and build technology know-how in the conservation community and among its partner organizations. Topics and tools include media equipment and training, networking and computer support, GIS and cartography, and web-based organizing strategies.
Education and Outreach
Citizens who are passionate about Colorado's quality of life and wild places are the heart and soul of Colorado Environmental Coalition. Their energy and enthusiasm increases the Coalition's ability to respond to the threats that we face. Whether it is showing up at a rally, writing a letter to your state senator, or helping us block an illegal route through a proposed wilderness area, your action creates change.
Where did CEC Work?
Central Mountain Corridor
The Central Mountain Corridor of Colorado is home to the headwaters of many of Colorado's important rivers. It is imperative that we work to preserve the integrity of these watersheds, which supply water to both sides of the Continental Divide. We must work to ensure that all uses of water are recognized and protected, including recreational uses of water that provide valuable tourism dollars to local economies and help keep high flows in our rivers to support aquatic and riparian habitat. We also must work to guarantee that as Front Range providers look to these headwater areas for water supplies that we consider the impact of large trans-basin diversions on the local environment and economy.
Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign
The White River National Forest is a landscape of national importance -- it is the country's most visited national forest, and encompasses the headwaters of the Colorado River. It occupies a critical stretch of a key continent-scale wildlife migration corridor, and provides core habitat for Colorado's recently reestablished lynx population. While most of the existing wilderness in Colorado is of the high-elevation "rock and ice" variety, this proposal seeks to protect a different kind of wilderness. Most of the "hidden gems" that we're targeting exist at the ecologically more diverse middle elevations, adding vital ecological diversity to our wilderness legacy.
Front Range/Eastern Plains
Colorado's Front Range contains about 80 percent of the state's population and nine of its ten largest cities. Its population is expected to grow by more than 50% over the next 20 years, increasing pollution, sprawl, and water demands on an already strained environment. The region also encompasses the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, including thousands of acres of roadless forests, several wilderness proposed wilderness areas, and the headwaters for a number of urban watersheds.
Rapid growth combined with sprawling land-use patterns on the Front Range has led to disappearing open spaces, more congestion on our highways, and more air pollution in the Denver metro area. CEC is dedicated to finding smart solutions and promoting reasonable growth policies that enable our communities to continue to grow without sacrificing the quality of life we treasure.
Approximately 80% of the population in Colorado resides on the Front Range, while nearly 80% of our water resources originate on the West Slope, driving the need for wise water use and creative solutions to meet future demands. The focus of our work on the Front Range is to encourage conservation and efficiency measures with water consumers, while also encouraging wise water planning with water providers. Future water needs will demand more flexible and creative water planning, which includes conservation, efficiency, reuse, sharing between providers, and work to mitigate the environmental impacts that our increased demand has on our rivers.
Northwest Corridor-Denver Metro Area
The Colorado Department of Transportation is in the midst of a planning process to determine the best alternative for relieving traffic in the northwest Denver metro area including Golden, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Broomfield, and Westminster. CEC is working with local organizations and citizens in the northwest Denver metro area to ensure that $1 billion taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted on a highway or toll road that isn't needed. The voices of the people to preserve this area and obtain common-sense traffic solutions is beginning to be heard.
West Slope: North
Colorado Environmental Coalition has an office in Craig, allowing CEC to take a lead in defending some of the most unique landscapes and vital wildlife habitat areas in the nation. As part of our ongoing effort to preserve quality lands, CEC and its partners are continuing to deal with significant threats in the region.
Conserving Sage-Grouse by Protecting Sagebrush Habitat
The northwest Colorado population of Sage-Grouse is by far the largest in the state, making up more than 70% of CO's overall population and is actually part of the Wyoming Basin regional population. This population is widely considered the largest and most important to the survival of the species in the eastern half of the Sage-Grouse's range.
Rapid oil and gas expansion and fragmentation of habitat threatens most parts of this population. Population modeling in 2009 projected that the Wyoming Basin population "will decline from 20,980 males attending leks in 2007 to 7,545 males attending leks in 2037 to two in 2107 if this trend continues at the same rate in the future." The same study also employed another model that projected extinction by 2037.
West Slope: South
The Citizens' Voice on the West Slope CEC's largest office in Western Colorado is located near the stunning canyon country of Grand Junction. Western Slope staff and volunteers are working with local citizens, governments, and decision makers to ensure our special places and natural resources will be here for future generations to enjoy. Whether it's getting out and exploring those special places in dire need of protection or hosting a series of important and entertaining presentations to the community, we have built important relationships in Western Colorado.