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  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).


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


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 - pdf

Form 3-1383-C - Special Use Application - doc

Form 3-1384 - Sheep Bid Form & Questionare