Western Slope Prairie Dogs Cleared for Management


Recently, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) worked with the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) to block-clear all black-tailed prairie dog habitat in Eastern Colorado. The decision was made after concluding the affected areas are no longer occupied by any wild free-ranging black-footed ferrets.

The Black Footed Ferret is an endangered species and prairie dog mitigation is restricted within known ferret habitat.

“This is good news for range conservation and management in eastern Colorado”, stated R.J. Jolly, CCA member. “There have been no reported sightings of a black-footed ferret in this area for many decades; and contrary to some beliefs, prairie dog populations are exploding out here. This will eliminate one very difficult and unnecessary hurdle in managing the population of prairie dogs in this area.”

Beef producers in the block-cleared area of Eastern Colorado can now properly manage black-tailed prairie dogs and/or their habitat without being required to meet the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s survey guidelines for black-footed ferrets. This also means they will not have to undergo consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The block-cleared area does not include the white-tailed or the Gunnison prairie dog habitats that might occur within the area.

For a map of the block-cleared area, or more information on the black-footed ferret, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wild Service.

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