Montana State Parks is moving ahead with a plan to reduce the population of prairie dogs at First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park, where burrowing by an expanding population is threatening to sink cultural resources. Read more at: Montana
The U.S. National Park Service has been celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016.
Woodrow Wilson, America’s 28th president, established the National Park Service in 1916 to “protect the wild and wonderful landscapes” in the United States.
But it is an earlier leader who is considered the father of the America’s national parks. In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th president, signed the American Antiquities Act. The law permitted him – and future presidents – to take immediate action to protect important cultural or natural resources.
This is an extremely timely article as B. Obama just designated two areas in Utah as parks and there are those in the government that would seek to reverse this decision. In fact some would like to PRIVATIZE our public lands! In the words of Mark Twain: Buy land, they’re not making it anymore. And perhaps he wouldn’t mind if I changed that to PROTECT our lands, they’re not making anymore.
Anyway it is a very nice article with great pictures including, of course, prairie dogs. So check out the article at: PARKS
Read more at: HSUS
A new article by Rebecca Hopson, Paul Meiman, and Graeme Shannon was just published that looks at the role that prairie dogs play in the composition of urban and exurban rangelands. From the article’s abstract:
Rapid human population growth and habitat modification in the western United States has led to the formation of urban and exurban rangelands. Many of these rangelands are also home to populations of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Our study aimed to compare the vegetation composition of an urban and exurban rangeland, and explore the role that prairie dogs play in these systems. The percent absolute canopy cover of graminoids (grasses and grass-likes), forbs, shrubs, litter, and bare ground were estimated at sampling areas located on and off prairie dog colonies at an urban and an exurban site. Herbaceous forage quality and quantity were determined on plant material collected from exclosure cages located on the colony during the entire growing season, while a relative estimate of prairie dog density was calculated using maximum counts. The exurban site had more litter and plant cover and less bare ground than the urban site. Graminoids were the dominant vegetation at the exurban plots. In contrast, mostly introduced forbs were found on the urban prairie dog colony. However, the forage quality and quantity tests demonstrated no difference between the two colonies. The relative prairie dog density was greater at the urban colony, which has the potential to drive greater vegetation utilization and reduced cover. Exurban rangeland showed lower levels of impact and retained all of the plant functional groups both on- and off-colony. These results suggest that activities of prairie dogs might further exacerbate the impacts of humans in fragmented urban rangeland habitats. Greater understanding of the drivers of these impacts and the spatial scales at which they occur are likely to prove valuable in the management and conservation of rangelands in and around urban areas.
Hopson et al. (2015), Rangeland dynamics: investigating vegetation composition and structure of urban and exurban prairie dog habitat. PeerJ 3:e736; DOI 10.7717/peerj.736
By Vanessa Kahin
Loathed, protested and even poisoned — Clovis’ prairie dogs appear to be dwindling, but it may have more to do with Mother Nature than anything humankind has perpetrated.
Local environmentalist Susan Hubby — who protested the Clovis City Commission’s decision to poison the prairie dogs at Ned Houk Park last year — said that drought may be the reason behind what she perceives to be fewer prairie dogs in the area.
“Many did not make it this season from the drought,” she said, adding that recent rains may help prairie dogs’ plant food source to grow.
Read More: Drought