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It’s nesting time for many of the bird species that we love to watch in the San Luis Valley and beyond. That means Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has announced the seasonal enactment of closures across various State Wildlife Areas (SWAs) to protect habitat that is critical for wildlife.

Sand Hill Cranes. Photo by John Duncan for Unsplash

To protect water birds during their nesting season, CPW implements such closures at several SWAs across the San Luis Valley. Higel, Playa Blanca, Rio Grande, Russell Lakes and Sego Springs SWAs are closed to all public access from February 15 through July 15.

Additionally, the wetlands portion of San Luis Lakes SWA is closed to the public for these same dates.

“These properties serve as important areas for many species, including the federally endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, different species of waterfowl, Sandhill Cranes, herons, etc.,” said CPW District Wildlife Manager Tyler Cerny.

During this time, CPW staff does conduct regular work in these areas to manage weeds,  oversee water movement and various other projects, so it is possible that the public will see staff on-site during these times of closure.

The new closures of nesting areas are in addition to two other closures of SWAs that were currently in place in the San Luis Valley:

  • Hot Creek SWA is closed to motor vehicles from Jan. 1 through April 30.
  • La Jara SWA, the property is closed to motor vehicles Jan. 1 until the last Thursday before Memorial Day. This year, that is May 26.

The purpose of those  two closures is to protect big-game animal winter range during the months that elk and deer are most vulnerable.

For more information on seasonal closures, call the Monte Vista office at 719-587-6900.