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Woodpecker of the West – The Lewis’s Woodpecker and its natural history and riparian forest systems in Central Colorado

The Central Colorado Conservancy is hosting a public program on the life history of the Lewis’s Woodpecker, a species found only in western North America. In addition, the program will include recent research on the restoration of narrowleaf cottonwood galleries along Deadman Creek in Saguache County. The program is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21, at the Salida SteamPlant Annex, 220 W. Sackett Ave., from 7-8 p.m.

Central Colorado Conservancy wildlife biologist and naturalist Cindy Lawrence will discuss the natural history of the colorful Lewis’s Woodpecker. This will include reasons for its 80-percent decline in the West since 1966. She will also talk about local conservation efforts for the woodpecker, including a monitoring and habitat identification program started by the Conservancy in partnership with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Lawrence will outline several ways people can get involved with reporting observations and helping protect the Lewis’s Woodpecker.

The second part of the program will be conducted by Jesse McCarty, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service Saguache District. He will discuss recent planned restoration along Deadman Creek, site of a large intact narrowleaf cottonwood gallery with Rocky Mountain juniper. This is a very rare association limited to foothill streams in Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. McCarty’s work focuses on retaining these unique cottonwood galleries within the juniper-associated riparian ecosystem. Such forests provide habitat for over 200 species of vertebrates, including Greater Pewee, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Bald Eagle and, potentially, the Lewis’s Woodpecker.

The program is open to the public. The fee is $3 for Central Colorado Conservancy members and $5 for non-members. Individuals can join the Conservancy by going to For questions or additional information, contact Julie Richardson at 719-539-7700 or

The Central Colorado Conservancy is committed to conserving the region’s land, water and wildlife by partnering with landowners, agricultural producers and the community. For more information on the Conservancy and upcoming programs, visit