Welcome to the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge! Located in southern Colorado along the banks of the Rio Grande, this Refuge was set aside as a haven for migratory birds and other wildlife.
Grazing Opportunity

 Sheep Grazing Opportunity on the San Luis Valley NWR Complex 2023

 

San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Cooperative Agriculture Program

Sheep Grazing Permit (2023-2027)

Application Package

Attention Agricultural Operators:

Starting February 1st, 2023, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) will be seeking to permit selected agricultural operator(s) for a Cooperative Agricultural Program at the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex (Refuge Complex). The refuge complex consists of the Alamosa, Monte Vista, and Baca National Wildlife Refuges in southcentral Colorado.  Under this permit agreement, selected operator(s) will fulfill prescriptions for specific intensities of sheep grazing for a period of up to 5 years (2023-2027).  The acres available for grazing will vary annually based on habitat and environmental conditions, however about 5500 acres on Alamosa Refuge, about 9000 acres on Monte Vista Refuge, and about 15,000 aces on Baca Refuge are considered for these offerings, each year for a period of up to 5 years (2023-2027).

 Background

The Service’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the Refuge Complex provides resource management objectives for each refuge.  It outlines that the refuges provide resting, feeding, and breeding habitats for native fish, wildlife, and migratory bird species.  Additionally, it identifies the permitting of prescribed grazing as a management tool as an appropriate, compatible, and necessary use to meet the CCP objectives.  So, through the Cooperative Agricultural Program, both the selected applicants and the Service complete and sign both a Special Use Permit and a Cooperative Agricultural Agreement to permit grazing on refuge lands accordingly.

Proposed Cooperative Agriculture Agreement

Interested applicants should read all requirements and flexibilities outlined in this package and complete the application as thoroughly as possible. Selected sheep operators will work under a Cooperative Agriculture Agreement (CAA) as a “Cooperator” with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service). Under this agreement, selected Cooperators will fulfill prescriptions for specific intensities of sheep grazing on the Refuge Complex for a period of up to 5 years (2023-2027).

Bids will be accepted based on cattle equivalent of Animal Unit Month (AUM) of which, a Mature Sheep/Goat is 0.2 AUM and an Ewe-lamb/nanny-kid pair is 0.3 AUM.  The minimum bid accepted is $19.50/AUM.  This grazing fee is based on average grazing fee rates published by USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) for Colorado for 2022.  Grazing fees in years 2023-2027 will be adjusted accordingly based on NASS published average rates.

There will be three (3) Bid Packages available for bidding. Operators can submit applications for one, two, or for all three bid packages.  If applying for more than one bid package, operators must be able to fulfill all required stocking rates for each refuge separately.  See links below for application and bid forms.

*** Potential bidders must attend a pre-bid onsite briefing and formal inspection tour to have their bids considered. (Dates and time are listed in bid packets).

            Bid Package # 1 - Alamosa Refuge, Alamosa County, Colorado 

            Bid Package # 2 - Monte Vista Refuge, Rio Grande County, Colorado

            Bid Package # 3 - Baca Refuge, Saguache County, Colorado

Cooperator(s) will be selected through an open, transparent, and competitive process where applicants will be scored and ranked based on a combination of a competitive bids, reference checks, flexibilities, ability to provide in-kind services, and relevant experience. 

Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, February 24, 2023. (Postmarked by Friday, February 24, 2023, if mailed)

Hand delivers or Mail to:

SLVNWRC – Dean Lee

Attn:  2023-2027 Sheep Grazing

9383 El Rancho Lane

Alamosa, CO 81101

        OR

Email to:

Dean_Lee@fws.gov with subject line “2023-2027 Sheep Grazing”

Sealed applications will be opened starting on February 27, 2023, and selected operators will be notified starting on Monday, March 6, 2023.

For more information, please reach out to Dean Lee at 1-719-589-4021 ext. 1008 or by email at Dean_Lee@fws.gov.

San Luis Valley NWR Complex Sheep Bid Packet 

Form 3-1383-C - Special Use Application

Form 3-1384 - Sheep Bid Form & Questionare 

 

 

Visit Us

Wildlife Viewing & Events (Feb. 3rd, 2023)

*  With the cold months of winter still holding on, wildlife viewing has been slow.  Some of our year-around residents are occassionally seen passing through on their way to find feed and water.  Elk, mule deer, coyotes, and porcupines are common to see while on our Wildlife Drives and Rio Grande Walking Trail.  The occassional Great Horned Owl has been observed perched on the edge of the Visitor Center building at dawn, welcoming our visitors and searching for a morning morsel.  As Spring inches closer, wildlife will begin to venture out more and more.  Sandhill Cranes and numerous waterfowl will begin their northern migration, using the Rio Grande as a navigational beacon and resource oasis during their journey.  

 

*  40th Annual Monte Vista Crane Festival March 10th, 11th, & 12th.  Please visit Festival – Monte Vista Crane Festival (mvcranefest.org) for information on tours, regristrations, and events. 

 

 

Refuge Information
Know before you go:

When you plan for a trip to the Refuge, wear sturdy shoes for hiking and dress for the weather. Bringing water, food, binoculars, field guides, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and anything else that might make the outdoor experience more enjoyable.

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      About the Refuge

      Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1963 to provide food, cover, and breeding habitat for migratory birds and resident wildlife. The Refuge conserves and enhances the mixtures of wetland and desert habitats found in the area to accomplish these goals. Habitat management tools used on the Refuge include water and wetland management, weed control, haying, grazing, and prescribed fire.  

      The 12,026 acre Refuge is located at the south end of the San Luis Valley, a high mountain basin in south-central Colorado. It’s one of three national wildlife refuges in the Valley that provide crucial feeding, resting, and breeding habitat for over 200 bird species and other wildlife.  The San Luis Valley, sitting at 7,800 feet, extends over 100 miles from north to south and 50 miles from east to west. Three mountain ranges surround it – the Sangre de Christo to the east, the San Juan to the west, and the Saguache to the north. At sunset, the high peaks of the Sangre de Christo take on the blood red glow which inspired the Spanish explorers to name the range “Blood of Christ.”  The surrounding mountains feed the arid valley with precious surface water and replenish an underground reservoir. The mountain snow melt and artesian wells provide needed water to the agricultural community and to the rivers, creeks, and wetlands that thread across the valley floor.  The Refuge lies within the Rio Grande floodplain and consists of wet meadows, old river oxbows, riparian riparian
      Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

      Learn more about riparian
      corridors, and dry uplands. These diverse habitats support a multitude of songbirds, water birds, waterfowl, raptors, mule deer, beavers, and coyotes. The west side of the Refuge borders the Rio Grande, long considered to be the life blood of the San Luis Valley. Water from the Rio Grande maintain these important habitats.  

      About the Complex   

      Alamosa, Monte Vista, and Baca National Wildlife Refuges are areas set aside for migratory birds and resident wildlife. The Refuges are now combined administratively into the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex.  The 12,026 acre Alamosa Refuge includes wetland areas, riparian corridors, wet meadows, and river oxbows. The wetland and river habitats provide a wildlife oasis in this dry region. These habitats support a variety of wildlife, including songbirds, water birds, raptors, deer, beavers, coyotes, and more.  

      The artificially created wetlands on the 14,804 acre Monte Vista Refuge are intensively managed to provide habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl and other water birds. Mallards, pintails, teals, and Canada geese are common, as are American avocets, killdeers, white-faced ibises, egrets, and herons. Irrigation canals and wells provide precious water to maintain this important wetland habitat.  

      The 92,500 acre Baca Refuge is a highly diverse combination of shrublands, grasslands, wet meadows, playa wetlands, and riparian areas. This Refuge was set aside not only as another haven for migratory birds and resident wildlife, but also as an important piece in a broader conservation effort to protect the wildlife, habitat, and water of the north and east portions of the San Luis Valley.  These three refuges of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex contribute to over 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System – a network of lands set aside and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service specifically for wildlife. The National Wildlife Refuge System is a living heritage, conserving wildlife and habitat for people today and generations to come. 

       

       

      What We Do

       Sheep Grazing Opportunity on the San Luis Valley NWR Complex 2023

       

      San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex

      Cooperative Agriculture Program

      Sheep Grazing Permit (2023-2027)

      Application Package

      Attention Agricultural Operators:

      Starting February 1st, 2023, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) will be seeking to permit selected agricultural operator(s) for a Cooperative Agricultural Program at the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex (Refuge Complex). The refuge complex consists of the Alamosa, Monte Vista, and Baca National Wildlife Refuges in southcentral Colorado.  Under this permit agreement, selected operator(s) will fulfill prescriptions for specific intensities of sheep grazing for a period of up to 5 years (2023-2027).  The acres available for grazing will vary annually based on habitat and environmental conditions, however about 5500 acres on Alamosa Refuge, about 9000 acres on Monte Vista Refuge, and about 15,000 aces on Baca Refuge are considered for these offerings, each year for a period of up to 5 years (2023-2027).

       Background

      The Service’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the Refuge Complex provides resource management objectives for each refuge.  It outlines that the refuges provide resting, feeding, and breeding habitats for native fish, wildlife, and migratory bird species.  Additionally, it identifies the permitting of prescribed grazing as a management tool as an appropriate, compatible, and necessary use to meet the CCP objectives.  So, through the Cooperative Agricultural Program, both the selected applicants and the Service complete and sign both a Special Use Permit and a Cooperative Agricultural Agreement to permit grazing on refuge lands accordingly.

      Proposed Cooperative Agriculture Agreement

      Interested applicants should read all requirements and flexibilities outlined in this package and complete the application as thoroughly as possible. Selected sheep operators will work under a Cooperative Agriculture Agreement (CAA) as a “Cooperator” with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service). Under this agreement, selected Cooperators will fulfill prescriptions for specific intensities of sheep grazing on the Refuge Complex for a period of up to 5 years (2023-2027).

      Bids will be accepted based on cattle equivalent of Animal Unit Month (AUM) of which, a Mature Sheep/Goat is 0.2 AUM and an Ewe-lamb/nanny-kid pair is 0.3 AUM.  The minimum bid accepted is $19.50/AUM.  This grazing fee is based on average grazing fee rates published by USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) for Colorado for 2022.  Grazing fees in years 2023-2027 will be adjusted accordingly based on NASS published average rates.

      There will be three (3) Bid Packages available for bidding. Operators can submit applications for one, two, or for all three bid packages.  If applying for more than one bid package, operators must be able to fulfill all required stocking rates for each refuge separately.  See links below for application and bid forms.

      *** Potential bidders must attend a pre-bid onsite briefing and formal inspection tour to have their bids considered. (Dates and time are listed in bid packets).

                  Bid Package # 1 - Alamosa Refuge, Alamosa County, Colorado 

                  Bid Package # 2 - Monte Vista Refuge, Rio Grande County, Colorado

                  Bid Package # 3 - Baca Refuge, Saguache County, Colorado

      Cooperator(s) will be selected through an open, transparent, and competitive process where applicants will be scored and ranked based on a combination of a competitive bids, reference checks, flexibilities, ability to provide in-kind services, and relevant experience. 

      Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, February 24, 2023. (Postmarked by Friday, February 24, 2023, if mailed)

      Hand delivers or Mail to:

      SLVNWRC – Dean Lee

      Attn:  2023-2027 Sheep Grazing

      9383 El Rancho Lane

      Alamosa, CO 81101

              OR

      Email to:

      Dean_Lee@fws.gov with subject line “2023-2027 Sheep Grazing”

      Sealed applications will be opened starting on February 27, 2023, and selected operators will be notified starting on Monday, March 6, 2023.

      For more information, please reach out to Dean Lee at 1-719-589-4021 ext. 1008 or by email at Dean_Lee@fws.gov.

      San Luis Valley NWR Complex Sheep Bid Packet 

      Form 3-1383-C - Special Use Application

      Form 3-1384 - Sheep Bid Form & Questionare 

       

       

      Services

      Our Species

      Southwestern Willow Flycatcher

      The southwestern willow flycatcher is a small, neo-tropical, migrating bird found in areas of the southwest United States and as far down as South America.  Their primary habitat is dense thickets of trees and shrubs along riparian riparian
      Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

      Learn more about riparian
      corridors of rivers and streams, especially willow thickets.  They typically breed and nest in the southwestern states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and portions of southwestern Colorado.   However, due to habitat loss and fragmentation from drought, stream channelization, and water diversions for agriculture and urban development, the population declined drastically.   In 1995, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed the southwestern willow flycatcher as a federally endangered species and began recovery plan efforts.  In 2002, the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Recovery Plan was finalized, which paved the way for habitat restoration and critical habitat designation. 

      On Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, the southwestern willow flycatcher historically inhabited the vast amount of willow and other riparian habitats found along the Rio Grande.  However, in the early 2000's the Rio Grande Basin experienced the worst drought on record.  This resulted in severely degraded willow habitat throughout the Refuge.  The southwestern willow flycatcher population was immediately impacted and survey numbers indicated a drop from 29 territories in 1997 to only 3 territories in 2010 (Owen and Sogge 1997).  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took action and designated critical habitat for the entire riparian habitat along the Rio Grande on the Refuge.  This action prohibits any disturbance to this designated habitat to insure southwestern willow flycatcher population recovery.  Other actions taken were the seasonal closure of the Rio Grande Nature Trail and certain portions of the Refuge's public fishing access area from April 15th through August 31st.  

       

      Small; usually a little less than 6 inches in length, including tail. Conspicuous light-colored wingbars. Lacks the conspicuous pale eye-ring of many similar Empidonax species. Overall, body brownish-olive to gray-green above. Throat whitish, breast pale olive, and belly yellowish. Bill relatively...
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