The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department is in the process of updating its 10-Year Wildlife Management Plan, with an emphasis on its urban prairie dog management guidelines. CDR facilitated a workshop among local and state wildlife management agencies and consultant organizations to provide feedback on Fort Collins’ urban prairie dog management approaches and to share best practices and lessons learned.
Urban prairie dog management has become more challenging as increased land development leads to smaller, isolated parcels of land that do not provide the best habitat. When new development is proposed, it can be difficult to relocate prairie dogs due to limited receiving sites, the need to maintain suitable capacity within current colonies, and associated costs. While some residents are proponents of conserving urban prairie dog habitat, others voice frustrating experiences. Prairie dogs can overgraze leading to dust issues and migrate into adjacent properties. Some people have concerns about reducing property values and perceived health concerns.
The workshop was a meaningful information exchange for all participants. The group discussed a wide range of topics such as the costs and benefits of urban prairie dog management and best practices for coordination with private property owners, trapping and relocation, passive relocation, and fumigation. Fort Collins will use the insights from the workshop to refine its management guidelines, which will ultimately be reviewed more broadly through a public process.