Aaron Welch named Director of DORA’s Division of Conservation
DENVER — Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) Executive Director Patty Salazar announced that she has appointed Aaron Welch as the Director of the Division of Conservation. Welch has been serving as Acting Director since the retirement of Mark Weston in September 2019.
In this role, Director Welch will oversee the Division of Conservation, which was created as DORA’s tenth division in May of 2018. The Division is charged with administering Colorado’s $45 million tax credit for conservation easements, assuring that conservation easements protect conservation purposes in perpetuity, and determining the credibility of appraisals that value conservation easements.
In addition to administering the tax credit, the Division certifies non-profit organizations and local governments to hold conservation easements, and houses the Conservation Easement Oversight Commission.
“Aaron is the state expert on conservation easements, having been with the conservation program at DORA for many years, and an integral part of its transition from the Division of Real Estate to its own distinct division,” noted Executive Director Salazar. “Aaron has a true passion for conserving Colorado’s public lands, and is credited with ensuring that the process of conservation easement oversight in our state is one of probity and transparency.”
Welch joined DORA in 2013 as an examiner for the conservation easement program. He has reviewed hundreds of conservation easement transactions, shaped the certification program for nonprofit organizations and local governments that hold conservation easements, and worked tirelessly to ensure the integrity of Colorado’s tax credit for conservation easements.
“Colorado is fortunate to have an effective, voluntary incentive that conserves our landscapes and way of life for future generations,” said Welch. “I am proud to lead the Division and committed to ensuring that Colorado’s regulation of conservation easements is a model for the country.”
Before his turn as a regulator, Director Welch worked to conserve private lands in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. He has shared his protected lands experience abroad as a Fulbright Scholar and at UNESCO. Welch is a graduate of the University of Colorado and the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Welch’s position as Director of the Division of Conservation is effective as of February 5, 2020.