Colorado Wolf Management Working Group
Wolf management in the western United States is rife with contention. With Meridian’s support, however, leaders in Colorado adopted a plan to prepare for an influx of these controversial animals.
Wolves are likely to migrate to—and flourish in—the mountainous Colorado backcountry in the near future. That probability is polarizing: some Coloradans champion the protection of wolves, while others dread impending livestock losses from wolf predation. When the Colorado Division of Wildlife decided to proactively develop a statewide wolf management plan, it called on Meridian’s experience navigating conflict to produce tangible solutions. We guided the Wolf Management Working Group toward the development of a consensus plan that balanced the interests of both ranchers and wolf advocates. The plan was adopted by the state, ready to be implemented when the wolves arrive.
Wolf populations are rapidly increasing in states surrounding Colorado and dispersing across the region. Because their impact is so different across the state’s inhabitants, the Working Group members began with deep distrust and disagreement. Meridian dove into the midst of this controversy, carefully designing and facilitating a science-based process that enabled members to identify common interests and objectives. We then guided the group to iterate upon practical solutions that addressed a wide range of concerns. In less than a year, we led the Working Group to agreement.
As a part of this process, Meridian organized and facilitated public meetings around the state to solicit feedback on the recommendations, documenting thousands of public comments. The unlikely partnerships and dialogue we forged not only resulted in a wolf management plan, but also established the foundation for subsequent collaboration over other divisive land and wildlife challenges in Colorado.