Westerners Want Leaders to Prioritize Conservation of Water, Public Lands, Wildlife

DENVER —  Westerners want their leaders to prioritize conservation of public lands and waters, safe passage for wildlife and people, and more meaningful consultation with Tribal Nations about land management decisions, according to the latest Conservation in the West poll released by Colorado College. The poll also showed that Westerners want elected leaders to make additional reforms to oil and gas operations to better protect wildlife and people alike.

“Westerners are very concerned about the lands, waters, and wildlife that are integral to their way of life. Elected leaders should take heed of these poll results: Voters want more investment in and protect wildlife migration routes, creation of new areas for wildlife and outdoor recreation, and better collaboration with Indigenous communities on stewarding public lands,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “In addition, Westerners want to make sure that more is being done to curtail pollution from energy development and ensure that companies that degrade public lands are required to restore them, so taxpayers aren’t stuck with the costs.”

“This poll confirms that residents of the Southwest are extremely concerned about the water crisis affecting the Colorado River and all downstream communities. They also want forests restored, wildlife habitat conserved, and opportunities for historically-marginalized communities to have better access to nature,” said Camilla Simon, executive director of Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO). “Westerners want their leaders to champion efforts to protect threatened wildlife and restore lands and watersheds so that communities are more resilient to impacts from climate change.”

The poll surveyed voters in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Here are some key findings:

  • 84% support creating new parks or wildlife refuges to protect historic sites or offer recreation
  • 81% (in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada) think that the Colorado River needs urgent action
  • 85% want Tribes to have greater input on land management decisions on public lands
  • 85% support constructing wildlife crossings across highways that intersect with migration routes
  • 91% support requiring oil and gas companies to curtail leaks of methane and other pollution
  • 91% support requiring oil and gas companies to pay for clean-up and restoration after drilling is finished


Get Involved

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More
Regional Centers and Affiliates