Science, government and corporations don't often find common ground - except when they're trying to save some. United by a mission to protect and connect wild spaces, the Chatfield Basin Conservation Network, southwest of Denver, has successfully brought together businesspeople, county officials, road builders and environmentalists.
"The purpose of the network is
to strengthen the conservation voice by banding together," says
Toby Sprunk, open-space specialist for Douglas County, Colo. Since
1998, the network has grown from 30 members to more than 75 and has
received several grants, including a Legacy Grant of $1.15 million
from Great Outdoors Colorado.
The network has
funded a variety of projects, including trailhead enhancement and a
study looking at how wildlife movement is hemmed in by highways.
Paul Hellmund, part-time coordinator for the network, says U.S.
Highway 85 could eventually be expanded from two lanes to six in
some places. Unless the network finds ways for wildlife to cross
those lanes, such as underpasses, roadkill rates will skyrocket, he
warns. "We want to keep the road as permeable for wildlife as
possible," Hellmund says. "It's a new kind of thing for builders to
For more information, visit the
network's Web site at