SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the Utah Wildlife Board earlier this month approved the Utah Prairie Dog Management Plan for Non-federal Lands.
The plan makes it easier to remove prairie dogs from private property and place those prairie dogs on public land. Placing the prairie dogs on public land should speed their recovery and give them a better chance of being removed from the federal Endangered Species list.
A draft copy of the plan is available at wildlife.utah.gov.
Found only in southwestern Utah, Utah prairie dogs were placed on the federal Endangered Species list in 1973. Until late 2014, all Utah prairie dogs in the state were managed by the federal government. Last November, a ruling in federal court returned management authority for Utah prairie dogs that are not found on federal land back to the state.
Some Utah prairie dogs live in residential areas that aren't critical to the recovery of the species. Under the new plan, it will now be easier to move prairie dogs from those areas to public land that has the habitat and the room needed for the prairie dogs to thrive.
In the past, restrictions had been placed on private property that doesn't have prairie dogs on it but might in the future. Those restrictions have been lifted.
Also, according to the plan, landowners who have 50 or more prairie dogs on their property can now be compensated for crop losses and damage caused by Utah prairie dogs.