Seeking federal protection for the prairie dog ecosystem
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Seeking Federal Protection for the Prairie Dog Ecosystem. Nicole J. Rosmarino WildEarth Guardians Denver, CO. P-dog History Pop Quiz.

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Seeking Federal Protection for the Prairie Dog Ecosystem

Nicole J. Rosmarino

WildEarth Guardians

Denver, CO


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P-dog History Pop Quiz

  • #1: Who said "Under the circumstances, and given the obvious impacts to its citizens, it appears Colorado would have little choice than to move forward with litigation to protect its interests should the pending petition ultimately result in a final rule listing the black-tailed prairie dog as 'threatened.'”

  • #2: Candidate X “called for removing the prairie dog from the threatened species candidate list, saying that prairie dogs are pests.” Candidate Y said “Common sense tells us that the prairie dog should be removed from this list…” Who are the candidates?

    • #3: who said, in reference to a bottle of prairie dog blush wine: “Are you supposed to drink it, or shoot it?”


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ESA & Prairie Dogs

  • Black-tailed prairie dog – negative finding in 2009

  • Gunnison’s prairie dog – partly candidate, in court

  • White-tailed prairie dog – petition fdg due June 1, 2010

  • Utah & Mexican prairie dogs


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The Good Ole Days:Black-tailed Prairie Dog, ESA Candidate

  • 1998 Petitions

  • 2000-2004 Candidacy

  • Annual Reviews

  • August 2004: Gale Norton


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Latest Attempt to Protect the BTPD

  • 2007 Petition

  • 2009 Finding

  • “we have no reason to suspect that plague poses a significant threat to the species.”



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Slow Pace of New ESA Listings

  • Obama’s 1st year in office > 2 new U.S. species listed

  • Candidate waiting room

  • Gunnison’s prairie dog/montane populations: the new impossibly high bar in federal protection


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Federal Opportunities

  • Black-footed ferret – listed as E

  • Mountain plover – will be proposed on July 31, 2010 (final in May 2011)

  • Burrowing owl – Migratory Bird Treaty Act

  • What next on black-tailed prairie dog?

    • The Salazar Factor


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Buying Land for Prairie Dogs: Southern Plains Land Trust

Nicole J. Rosmarino

President, Southern Plains Land Trust

Centennial, CO


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Our Mission

To preserve and restore an adequate and suitable area of land so that the land can reflect the natural character of the Southern Plains Ecosystem.

Put differently: to reclaim the prairie for its native wildlife and plants and to undo over a century of damage caused by human inhabitants.


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SPLT’s History

  • Started in 1998 by Boulder/Denver refugees

  • First property, Fresh Tracks, purchased same year

  • March 1999: SB111 passed

  • Since then, Marianne Rees & Two Marys Nature Preserves purchased

  • 2010: priority for land acquisition; looking near Pawnee and Comanche NGs


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The Preserve Network

& Last Gulch Ranch: 640 acres,

bringing total to approx. 3,300


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Protecting Prairie Dogs on Private Land

  • Adjacent landowner poisoning

  • Plague

  • Close monitoring


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Key Targets for Acquisition

  • Close proximity to existing preserves (SE Colorado)

  • Close proximity to federal National Grassland (either Comanche or Pawnee)

  • Active prairie dog towns

  • Water sources

  • Fully fenced

  • At least 100 acres large, preferable 2,000 or more acres large

  • Roads adjacent, not bisecting property

  • Riparian areas

  • Other features attractive to wildlife

  • www.southernplains.org


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