Table Mountain Newsletter

Update on the County'ís Prairie Dog Management Plan

After a three hour hearing on Thursday May 27, the Boulder County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the Prairie Dog Element of the Boulder County Grassland Management Plan. All three commissioners stated that although the plan did not satisfy the extreme views of many parties who spoke on the issue, the plan seemed to be well thought out and took a balanced approach to the concerns of both sides. The use of lethal means of controlling prairie dogs on county owned lands was retained in the plan, though it is to be used as a last resort.

A brief summary of the plan, pertinent to the Table Mountain region follows: For purposes of management, the county staff has divided county open space into three categories:

HCA - Habitat Conservation Area. Areas where prairie dogs will be concentrated and protected. These areas involve large land tracts and in most cases, are not closely adjacent to private or agricultural land.

MOA - Multiple Objective Area. Prairie dogs and other uses (agricultural and recreational) coexist.

NPD - No prairie dogs allowed. Existing population will be moved to HCA properties.

Two MOA properties are located in the Table Mountain area. The Colp open space property is located at the S.E. corner of US 36 and Nelson Rd. The Platt-Centennial open space is located north of Nelson Road surrounding the gun range just to the north of Table Mountain. It is bounded on the east by 51st St., and on the north by Rogers Rd. Both properties are under agricultural (grazing) leases, and are closed to the public.

According to Mark Brennan, Wildlife Specialist with the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department, "It is our intent to introduce prairie dogs displaced from Boulder County Open Space agricultural land only into HCA areas, if necessary. In MOA properties, we intend to allow existing prairie dog populations to remain but will actively manage them if they begin to encroach on or conflict with adjacent private property. There are no plans now or in the foreseeable future to relocate displaced prairie dogs to MOAs".

Through the efforts of Penne Adams and several of her neighbors, the Parks and Open Space staff agreed to take another look at changing the classification of the Colp Open Space from a MOA to NPD designation.

The commissioners also instructed the staff to be sensitive and proactive in solving the conflicts that may arise from open space prairie dog towns impacting adjoining private properties.

The Prairie Dog Element of the Boulder County Grassland Management Plan will be reviewed in a public hearing by the commissioners in about a year.


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