Conservationists, state team up to protect prairie |

Conservationists, state team up to protect prairie

DENVER ” The Nature Conservancy and the Colorado Department of Transportation have teamed up to protect 32,000 acres of short-grass prairie in eastern Colorado.

The conservation group used about $5 million in state funds to acquire four conservation easements in Prowers, Bent, Pueblo and Weld counties. State officials say the easements will ensure there will be land to offset the impacts of future construction, such as widening highways.

Sharleen Bakeman of the Transportation Department says setting aside the land will also help the state protect mountain plovers, lesser prairie chickens and other species considered at risk.

The project is expected to save the state up to $30 million in land costs over the next 20 years.

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