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Media contacts:
Steve Armstead, Colorado Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; 720-491-0845; [email protected]
Sarina Jepsen, Endangered Species Program Director, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; 971-244-3727; [email protected] 


DENVER, Colo.; May 17, 2024 --- Governor Jared Polis signed into law a bill Friday that gives Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), a division of the Department of Natural Resources, the authority to study and conserve pollinating insects, other invertebrates and rare plants.

With Governor Polis’ signature, House Bill 24-1117 provides CPW the ability to study and take steps to conserve insects and other invertebrates, as well as rare plants. The bill also commits funding for staff positions to support invertebrate conservation efforts.

“We’re grateful that Governor Polis and the Colorado Assembly recognized the vital role that Colorado Parks and Wildlife has for conserving the state’s most vulnerable animals and plants,” said Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “The new law not only provides Colorado Parks and Wildlife the mandate and resources to conserve these amazing creatures, but serves as an example for other states that haven’t addressed this issue.”    

Giving CPW the authority to care for insects and rare plants was one of the key recommendations made by the Colorado Native Pollinating Insects Health Study. This landmark study was released by Governor Polis in January. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation was a significant contributor to that study.

Conservation actions by CPW can effectively protect and recover vulnerable wildlife populations, circumventing the need to list species under the US Endangered Species Act. With the passage of HB 24-1117 into law, CPW now has non-regulatory management authority over insects, like monarchs and bees, and other types of invertebrates.

“There’s a lot of excitement about the signing of this bill in Colorado,” said Steve Armstead, a Colorado-based pollinator conservation specialist with the Xerces Society. “It makes CPW an important partner in the conservation of the state’s invertebrates and rare plants.”

“To really push the needle and stem declines in insect and native plant diversity—and safeguard the services they provide—will take collaboration between government agencies, conservation organizations, academic experts and community science initiatives.”

Colorado was one of nine states where insects, such as the monarch butterfly, western bumble bee, and other pollinators, are either not defined as wildlife or management authority hasn’t otherwise been clearly granted to the state’s wildlife agency, resulting in these animals not getting the protection they need.

Colorado is home to over 1,000 species of bees, nearly 300 species of butterflies, and many lesser known pollinators and invertebrates. These animals play a vital role in sustaining the state’s alpine wildflower meadows that support recreation and tourism and they underpin Colorado’s thriving agriculture.  


About the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is a donor-supported nonprofit organization that protects our world through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats. Xerces works throughout North America to conserve pollinators and other invertebrates, protect endangered species, and reduce pesticide use and impacts. Our staff use applied research, policy advocacy, public education and on-the-ground habitat improvement to advance meaningful, long-term conservation. Xerces is the largest invertebrate conservation organization in the world. For over 50 years, we have been champions of Earth’s most biodiverse and overlooked animals, protecting the life that sustains us. Learn more at

Colorado Native Pollinating Insects Health Study
In response to Senate Bill 22-199, the Colorado Department of Natural Resources commissioned a study on native pollinating insects. This collaborative study was conducted by Colorado State University Extension, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, in consultation with state and federal agencies, researchers, scientists, and land managers across the state. Download a copy at