Dinosaur National Monument Seeks Scoping Comments on Prairie Dog Management Plan / Environmental Assessment

white tailed prairie dog
White-tailed prairie dog

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News Release Date: July 3, 2012

Contact: Joel Brumm, Resource Management Specialist, (970) 374-3355

Dinosaur, CO - National Park Service (NPS) staff will be developing a management plan for white-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys leucurus) inhabitating developed areas at Dinosaur National Monument. White-tailed prairie dogs are a native species in the monument, but have negatively impacted some monument facilities, including weakening the berm surrounding the sewage lagoon near the Quarry Visitor Center. NPS Management Policies state that when a species interferes with the management objectives of a site, they can be considered pests and may require management action. Only prairie dogs in close proximity to structures and other park facilities in developed areas would be subject to potential management action. Prairie dogs in other areas of the monument would not be affected.

We are currently in the scoping phase of this project and invite you to submit your written comments online at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website. You may also submit written comments to Superintendent Mary Risser, Dinosaur National Monument, 4545 HWY 40, Dinosaur, CO 81610. Please provide all comments by July 20, 2012. We will consider these comments during preparation of the management plan / Environmental Assessment (EA).

The NPS proposes to treat white-tailed prairie dogs in developed areas using an adaptive management approach that employs a variety of techniques. These techniques may include applying repellent products, constructing physical barriers, instituting mechanical options such as trapping and relocation, and applying chemical options (pesticides). Adaptive management requires:

  1. management actions to be based on clearly identified goals and outcomes,
  2. the use of monitoring to ensure management actions are meeting the identified goals/outcomes,
  3.  the use of new information to re-evaluate management activities and goals and/or to facilitate management changes, if needed.

Monument resource managers will attempt to use the lowest level of management necessary in a particular situation. These management actions are presented in escalating order, and actions typically begin with the lowest level action, such as monitoring. Then, through the adaptive management process, park managers determine if it is necessary to progress to the next level of management action.

Monument staff will prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) for managing white-tailed prairie dogs in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide the decision-making framework that:

  1. analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives,
  2. evaluates potential issues and impacts to park resources and values, and
  3. identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.

This project will also be conducted in accordance with §106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and other applicable laws, regulations, and policies.

The NPS encourages public participation throughout the NEPA process which has two opportunities for the public to formally comment on the project; once during initial project scoping and again following public release of the EA. Thank you in advance for your comments and we look forward to hearing from you!

If you have any questions regarding prairie dogs or need any other information on Dinosaur National Monument, call us at (435) 781-7700. You can also find us on facebook or follow DinosaurNPS on twitter.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Mailing Address:

4545 Hwy 40
Dinosaur, CO 81610


(435) 781-7700

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