In accordance with Foothills Park & Recreation District’s Prairie Dog Management Plan, in instances where management is required, there are currently several generally accepted methods of managing prairie dog colonies: Natural vegetative barriers, raptor poles, fumigation, carbon monoxide and relocation. Of these options, relocation is the most expensive and most difficult to accomplish because there are very few relocation site options available.
The District has recently secured an opportunity to relocate up to 120 prairie dogs to a relocation site located on Ken Caryl Master Association Property north of the Ken Caryl/C-470 intersection on the west side of C-470 and on the east side of the hogback. As a result, the District has evaluated all prairie dog colony locations on District owned or managed property in an effort to determine the best sites from where to relocate prairie dogs. Some of the criteria used to evaluate the sites included:
- Appropriateness of the site to sustain a colony
- Frequency of the need to manage the colony
- Public concern with other management options
- Public use of the area
- Patron and adjacent property owner feedback
- Previous damage to private property
After evaluating all sites, the District will relocate prairie dogs from the following two sites:
- Sgt. Timothy M. Mossbrucker Memorial Park
- Clement Park
Mossbrucker Park: It has been determined that this site is not an appropriate site to sustain a colony. The colony frequently needs management due to encroachment into adjacent private property and active use areas of the park. When management is necessary, it is met with much negative public feedback. As a result, the goal is to use this relocation opportunity to humanely remove this colony entirely. This would eliminate the need for future management requirements when encroachment into active use areas of the park and adjacent private properties occurs.
Clement Park: The large colony at Clement Park often encroaches into the active use areas near the amphitheater and often times need to be managed. The goal for this site is to remove the balance of the 120 prairie dogs, after removing all prairie dogs from Mossbrucker Park, to reduce the size of this colony and the impact on the active use areas near the amphitheater. Once this colony is reduced, the District will attempt to establish a more significant vegetation buffer to help reduce the encroachment into the active use areas of the park.
It is important to reiterate that relocation sites are very difficult to secure and this may be one of the only opportunities for many years. As a result, the District wants to use this opportunity to use relocation as a management tool to help reduce the need for other non-relocation management methods at these sites in the future.