Management Review of Irrigated Fields with High Prairie Dog Occupancy

The City of Boulder is conducting expedited review of how it manages irrigated agricultural fields and prairie dogs later this month and will seek input on ways it can foster healthy soils and promote sustainable agricultural land uses. The preservation of agricultural uses and lands suitable for agricultural production is a specific open space purpose in the city charter.

The City of Boulder has begun an expedited review of how it manages irrigated agricultural fields and prairie dogs north of Jay Road. This effort also will seek input on ways it can foster healthy soils and promote sustainable agricultural land uses. The preservation of agricultural uses and lands suitable for agricultural production is a specific open space purpose in the city charter.

OSMP recently held an open house to inform community members about this topic. View the meeting summary, presentations and posters or listen to an audio recording of the meeting.

Thank you for your input

Input Open Space and Mountain Parks has received this fall will be used to develop draft management recommendations that the department anticipates presenting to the public in January.

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Why is OSMP undertaking this effort?

Prairie dogs are essential to maintaining healthy, functioning ecosystems on natural lands owned and managed by the City of Boulder. Current open space plans, including the recently approved OSMP Master Plan, seek to maintain the viability of agricultural operations by reducing impacts from prairie dogs on irrigated lands while supporting ecologically sustainable prairie dog populations across the larger landscape. However, recent and abundant expansion of prairie dogs into city open space irrigated fields have:

  • Highlighted a conflict between city prairie dog management practices and viable open space agricultural operations.
  • Caused soil degradation and loss, affecting Open Space and Mountain Parks’ ability to fulfill agricultural open space purposes outlined in the Boulder City Charter.
  • Limited OSMP’s ability to fully implement soil carbon farming and climate mitigation practices. Irrigated lands represent the best opportunity for soil-based carbon capture on city open space lands.

Recently, the Boulder City Council and the Open Space Board of Trustees indicated that it may be infeasible to address large prairie dog populations on agricultural lands in a timely or economical fashion by current non-lethal practices alone.

City Council also provided direction to help the city achieve its agricultural open space purposes in the city charter by identifying potential management actions, such as conducting key-line plowing and adding soil amendments. The city also will consider when, where and how lethal control of prairie dogs might be used to address this challenge.

The City of Boulder has begun an expedited review of how it manages irrigated agricultural fields and prairie dogs north of Jay Road. This effort also will seek input on ways it can foster healthy soils and promote sustainable agricultural land uses. The preservation of agricultural uses and lands suitable for agricultural production is a specific open space purpose in the city charter.

OSMP recently held an open house to inform community members about this topic. View the meeting summary, presentations and posters or listen to an audio recording of the meeting.

Thank you for your input

Input Open Space and Mountain Parks has received this fall will be used to develop draft management recommendations that the department anticipates presenting to the public in January.

Receive updates

Sign up for Field Notes email updates or follow OSMP on Facebook and Twitter.

Why is OSMP undertaking this effort?

Prairie dogs are essential to maintaining healthy, functioning ecosystems on natural lands owned and managed by the City of Boulder. Current open space plans, including the recently approved OSMP Master Plan, seek to maintain the viability of agricultural operations by reducing impacts from prairie dogs on irrigated lands while supporting ecologically sustainable prairie dog populations across the larger landscape. However, recent and abundant expansion of prairie dogs into city open space irrigated fields have:

  • Highlighted a conflict between city prairie dog management practices and viable open space agricultural operations.
  • Caused soil degradation and loss, affecting Open Space and Mountain Parks’ ability to fulfill agricultural open space purposes outlined in the Boulder City Charter.
  • Limited OSMP’s ability to fully implement soil carbon farming and climate mitigation practices. Irrigated lands represent the best opportunity for soil-based carbon capture on city open space lands.

Recently, the Boulder City Council and the Open Space Board of Trustees indicated that it may be infeasible to address large prairie dog populations on agricultural lands in a timely or economical fashion by current non-lethal practices alone.

City Council also provided direction to help the city achieve its agricultural open space purposes in the city charter by identifying potential management actions, such as conducting key-line plowing and adding soil amendments. The city also will consider when, where and how lethal control of prairie dogs might be used to address this challenge.