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Colorado Wild Horse Project

Concerning managing wild horses, and, in connection therewith, authorizing the creation of an entity to support management of wild horse herds in Colorado, seeking long-term solutions for horses removed from the wild range, and making an appropriation.
2023 Regular Session
Natural Resources & Environment
Bill Summary

The bill creates the Colorado wild horse management project (wild horse project), which is a nonprofit, state-owned corporate entity that manages and operates programs benefitting wild horses and supports wild horse management. The director of the wild horse project will be selected by a committee of the governor, the commissioner of agriculture, the executive director of the department of natural resources, and the majority leader of the house of representatives , and the minority leader of the senate . The wild horse project has the powers normally afforded to a nonprofit corporate entity. The wild horse project will annually report to the governor, the joint budget committee, and the appropriate joint legislative committee at "SMART Act" hearings.

The wild horse project may seek federal payment for wild horse management support activities and gifts, grants, or donations. On the effective date of the bill, the state treasurer is required to transfer $1.5 million from the general fund to the wild horse project fund, which is created for use by the wild horse project.

A working group is established by the wild horse project to study and pursue long-term solutions for wild horses that are removed from federal horse management areas or held in federal facilities and make recommendations to the governor and the general assembly. The working group will have representation from the executive branch, the legislative branch, nonprofit organizations, businesses, the western slope, and the ranching community. The Colorado state director of the federal bureau of land management (bureau), the Southern Ute Tribe, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe may appoint representatives to the working group.

A wild horse stewardship program is created to help manage range health and infrastructure. The wild horse fertility control program is created to manage the wild horse herd population by collaborating, coordinating, and training people and entities to manage wild horse populations. Both programs are overseen by the wild horse project.

The commissioner of agriculture is required to provide support in the form of grants and contracts to assist with managing wild horse populations using fertility control methods, subject to approval by the bureau, until July 31, 2024, or until the wild horse project commences its own program to manage wild horse populations if commenced earlier than July 31, 2024.

To implement the bill, $1,654 is appropriated to the legislative department for use by the general assembly, and $21,148 is appropriated from the legal services cash fund to the department of law.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)


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Bill Text

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