Prairie Dog Working Group
In 2017, the City of Boulder formed an advisory working group to review the city’s current prairie dog management practices. Through collaborative efforts, the advisory group has made recommendations to the city manager regarding management of prairie dogs and their habitats on city-managed public land.
The formation of the group came in response to a request in 2016 from Boulder City Council members. Council members asked City Manager Jane Brautigam to appoint a diverse working group of community members to solicit broad community input and develop recommendations on the city’s prairie dog management efforts.
Ongoing staff analysis of Phase II of PDWG recommendations
- Open Space Board of Trustees April 10, 2019 meeting
- Parks and Recreation Advisory Board – April 22, 2019
- Environmental Advisory Board – May 1, 2019
- City Council - May 7, 2019 (*THIS DATE MAY CHANGE)
City Council Study Session - Dec. 11, 2018, 6 pm in Council Chambers - City Council Information Packets
Phase 2 Recommendations & Analysis Board Presentations
Prairie Dog Working Group Meetings
Meetings are open to the public with a portion of the meeting reserved for public comment.
- Dec. 18, 2017 5-9 pm at OSMP Annex (7315 Red Deer Dr.)
- Jan. 25, 2018 5-9 pm at OSMP Annex (7315 Red Deer Dr.)
- April 2, 2018 5-9 pm at OSMP Annex (7315 Red Deer Dr.)
- April 9, 2018 5-9 pm at OSMP Annex (7315 Red Deer Dr.)
- April 30, 2018 5-9 pm at OSMP Annex (7315 Red Deer Dr.)
- June 5, 2018 5-9 pm at OSMP Annex (7315 Red Deer Dr.)
- Feb. 13, 2017
- March 6, 2017
- Agenda - March 6 Meeting
- Attachment D: 2016 City of Boulder Prairie Dog Removal Area Summary
- Attachment E: 2016 Relocation Sites and Priorities
- City Council discussion on prairie dogs and formation of working group, Aug. 16, 2016
- Group Learning Presentation
- Prairie Dog Regulation Information (Boulder):
- Prairie Dog Regulation Information (Colorado Parks & Wildlife):
- Summary - March 6 Meeting
- March 20, 2017
- April 10, 2017
- April 24, 2017
- May 8, 2017
- August 29, 2017 Subgroup Task Meeting
- Sept. 11, 2017
- Oct. 30, 2017 - 5:30-8:30 pm at the OSMP Annex, 7315 Red Deer Dr.
- Dec. 15, 2017 Subgroup Meeting - 9 am - 12 pm at OSMP Administrative Office, 66 S. Cherryvale Road
Prairie Dog Working Group Members
The working group includes 12 City of Boulder resident and non-resident members, representing broad interests and community perspectives. The City Manager has appointed the following participants - Aaron Cook, Amber Largent, Amy Masching, Carse Pustmueller, Dan Brandemuehl, Deborah Jones, Elle Cushman, Eric Sims, Jr., Jeff Edson, John Vickery, Lindsay Sterling-Krank, and Patrick Comer.
- City Council suggested that City Manager Jane Brautigam appoint an advisory working group of resident and non-resident members who demonstrate city values and who can recommend, based on a broad understanding of the full range of community perspectives, adaptable management practices that can be implemented under existing policy as well as possible longer-term policy changes.
- The objectives of this working group are both to serve as a model for the city regarding collaboration, innovation, and respect, and to build trust in the city’s implementation of existing policies, and to work toward meeting the working group priorities as described below.
- In Phase 2 the objective is to agree to guiding principles, identify associated changes to plans and policies to achieve the management goal(s), and recommend goal(s) and associated changes to plans and policies to the City Manager. We anticipate sharing these recommendations with City Council in June or July 2018.
- The first priority is to determine relocation methodologies under existing plans and policies that can be used in 2017.
- The second priority is to determine relocation methodologies under existing plans and policies that can be used in 2018 and beyond.
- The third priority is to determine longer-term ideas that might need further exploration or require changes to city plans and policies.
The city manager selected working group members based upon participants’ ability to meet established criteria and represent broad interests and community perspectives. Criteria for selection included:
- A clear commitment to attend six, three-hour meetings.
- The ability to think broadly about the subject matter and represent the community as a whole, rather than singularly representing a particular issue of concern.
- An assessment of how applicants demonstrate collaboration, innovation and respect as part of the working group. The selection committee also considered previous collaborative experience with community and city groups.
How has the City of Boulder helped local prairie dogs and their associated species?
Currently, City of Boulder prairie dog management plans, policies, practices and ordinances developed over the last two decades prioritize conservation of prairie dogs and minimization of lethal control. In fact, the City of Boulder is a pioneer in limiting lethal control of prairie dogs and effecting large-scale relocation projects – with more than 1,150 prairie dogs relocated in 2013 and 2014. Today, the City of Boulder’s intense focus on minimizing lethal control is unique among land management agencies in northern Colorado.
City of Boulder prairie dog management history
1967: Boulder residents voted to approve a specific tax to acquire and maintain open space – the first time residents in the United States voted to tax themselves for open space. That tax measure allowed the City of Boulder to acquire thousands of acres of grassland open space where prairie dogs now thrive.
1996: The City of Boulder developed a plan – with the help of farmers and community members – that had a set of goals for prairie dog management, including the creation of conservation areas for this important wildlife species.
2005: The Boulder City Council adopted a Wildlife Protection Ordinance after a long and intense public process, which limits the use of lethal control on prairie dogs and wild birds by requiring landowners to obtain a permit from the city. In order for a permit to be issued, the landowner must satisfactorily demonstrate that all non-lethal options for managing prairie dogs or wild birds on a site were considered, and are not feasible.
2006: The City Council accepted the Urban Wildlife Management Plan, which included measures to identify prairie dog protection opportunities in the urban service area and strategies for resolving conflicts.
2010: The City Council accepted the Grassland Ecosystem Management Plan, which reflected the ecological importance of prairie dogs in creating and sustaining distinctive ecological conditions on City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) grasslands. That plan provides a framework to conserve prairie dogs and their associates with the other conservation targets by:
- Establishing viability standards and conservation objectives for all eight targets, including prairie dogs and associated species.
- Defining land management designations and applying them to every prairie dog colony mapped on OSMP lands.
- Developing criteria to guide relocation of prairie dogs to, from, and within the OSMP land system.
2016: In August, Boulder City Council members suggested City Manager Jane Brautigam appoint a working group of resident and non-resident members to solicit community input and obtain recommendations on the city’s prairie dog management efforts. In October, the city helped supervise the successful relocation of a 153-member prairie colony in north Boulder to city open space east of Cherryvale Road and north of Marshall Drive, where the colony is now thriving.
2017: In January, the City of Boulder began seeking applicants for an advisory working group to review the city’s current prairie dog management practices, and make recommendations to the city manager regarding management of prairie dogs and their habitats in Boulder and on city-managed public land.