A group of prairie dog activists has found support from two members of the Parker Town Council following the April 15 council meeting, in which several members spoke during public comment advocating …
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A group of prairie dog activists has found support from two members of the Parker Town Council following the April 15 council meeting, in which several members spoke during public comment advocating for the relocation of a colony in Stroh Ranch.
Councilmembers Cheryl Poage and Jeff Toborg reached out to the group, Prairie Protection Colorado, shortly after the meeting through email. Most of the council feels the issue should be resolved between the developers and the activists. Poage and Toborg said they are willing to listen and possibly draft legislation similar to other cities with ordinances to preserve the species.
Poage said the next step is to come up with a solution for what to do for certain prairie dog colonies.
“Prairie dogs are a tough deal because they're not protected by the state … however, we have a larger problem,” Poage said, referring to what she referred to as an imbalanced ecosystem that has come with rapid local development. “If other towns have tried to work through this issue, where the state's not really taking action and we have local ordinances to look at, I think we need to look at them.”
The group, Prairie Protection Colorado, led by Douglas County resident Deanna Meyer, has made multiple efforts throughout the county to bring attention to prairie dog colonies slated for extermination in preparation for development. The group has previously reported no support from the Parker Town Council.
Mark Snyder, an activist with Prairie Protection Colorado and a Parker resident, said he received no response from any councilmembers other than Toborg and Poage. Snyder said he received a response from Mayor Mike Waid.
“Anything's better than nothing,” Snyder said. “I'll be completely open-minded as far as listening to them and not being hard-lined or anything like that because I think they're willing to meet us in the middle.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has found the species does not warrant protection as a threatened or endangered species as part of the Endangered Species Act.
“Since the Town of Parker does not regulate prairie dogs, we refer to the state agencies that do,” Waid said. “However, I am very happy to see the resident activist is working with the developer, as I suggested to him, to find an amicable solution.”
Prairie Protection Colorado was present at the April 15 meeting to advocate for the relocation or humane extermination of the colony currently inhabiting land near the intersection of Nate Drive and J Morgan Boulevard. Poage and Snyder agreed that the best solution would be to find local open space that would be suitable for the prairie dog colony. Snyder and Prairie Protection Colorado also suggested, if extermination was inevitable, to do so using carbon monoxide, rather than fumitoxin, a very toxic gas commonly used to exterminate pests.
“Parker's grown so fast without some of these issues being addressed. It's time to address them. Probably past time,” Poage said. “We pushed them all out with development, but we haven't taken any steps to preserve the ecosystem.”
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