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Prairie dogs source of concern

By COREY BLUEMEL
Staff writer

The prairie dog has need of management to prevent listing.

Both Gunnison and white-tailed prairie dogs live in Utah, especially the eastern portions of the state. They have been petitioned for listing on the endangered species list. Sarah Lupis from the Utah State University Extension Service has been working with the areas of Utah where these two types of prairie dogs live.

"We need to be proactive with this project and prove that these two species are not endangered," said Lupis. Threats to these species are plague, land development, oil and gas development, shooting and poisoning. Lupis said there is statewide and rangewide planning taking place now.

"We have partnered with the Division of Wildlife Resources in the planning process to address these threats. We need to provide strategies for management to preclude the need for listing of these species. This plan includes a focus on land owners rights and human health issues," added Lupis.

She said beginning in 2008, rangewide monitoring will be done. The DWR will complete an occupancy model on private and public lands. If those numbers are high enough, there will be proof that listing is not necessary.

A draft of this management plan has be developed and can be read on the Internet at www.utahcbcp.org and then click other projects. Comments are encouraged and input is welcome until Nov. 9.

Following the comment period, necessary revisions will be made to the plan and a final plan will be developed. Gunnison prairie dogs are found in San Juan County and the white-tailed prairie dogs are the ones found in Emery County.





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