LAFAYETTE, Colo. — The City of Lafayette has drafted its first-ever Wildlife Plan to address conservation of local wildlife in the city's urban settings, and the public is invited to weigh in.
Throughout 2023, Lafayette Open Space has worked with the ecological consulting firm Biohabitats, Inc. to create this draft out of study results and hundreds of community survey responses. This came after conducting baseline mapping, soil and hydrology assessments, vegetation and wildlife site-surveying, critical connectivity analysis, and an evaluation of management opportunities for current habitat conditions, the city said.
"The purpose of this plan is to address wildlife conservation holistically through the lens of wildlife equity," the city said. "In other words, if you were a fox living near Old Town, what kind of protections would you want to see in place to protect your home and family?"
The plan builds upon many other of Lafayette's management plans and studies. As listed out in the draft, Lafayette Open Space has several goals, including:
- Habitat conservation: Preserve and enhance significant natural areas and wildlife habitat, as well as the ecological integrity of the greater Lafayette region, while applying a strategic approach to Open Space conservation.
- Open space management: Provide an effective and balanced approach to Open Space management that protects and enhances environmental values.
- Open space recreation: Provide, where appropriate, high-quality outdoor recreation and trail opportunities that are consistent with the values of Open Space lands, provide high quality access between Open Space, parks, and community destinations, and minimize adverse impacts to the environment.
About half of the people who responded to community surveys through 2023 said they use open spaces in the city on a daily or weekly basis for activities like walking, biking and birding. They reported loving wildlife sightings, but had a higher interest in mammals and birds compared to other animals. The respondents also expressed their concern with development's impact on wildlife habitat.
Residents of Lafayette are welcome to review the draft and submit their input through Jan. 5 here.