Site preparation covers all aspects of creating an artificial environment for the prairie dogs once they have been released to their new home in the wild.
Besides our volunteers, the most precious commodity in the relocation process is relocation habitat. Very few people or groups are willing to provide land for the reintroduction of prairie dogs. Additionally the site must meet rigorous criteria to ensure that it is suitable for the introduction of prairie dogs. The site is evaluated based on vegetation, soil type, terrain, and biological appropriateness in terms of existing species and the whether or not it is traditional habitat for the prairie dogs being relocated.
Very few sites are ideal. We have had some success with the city of Albuquerque open space, tribal land, and private landowners. We are partnering with educational institutes and wildlife refuges for future relocations. Our vision is to secure sufficient habitat to accommodate all prairie dogs threatened with habitat loss, state wide.
Notes: With the city we use a bobcat with the following attachments: 24” auger, a 12” backhoe/bucket and a blade. The holes get augured first, then the “ramps” are cut, then the nesting box is set, and then the hole is backfilled using the blade. Shovel work is required to dress up the area. Alternatively you can use a backhoe for the whole operation. We try to minimize the damage to the grass by minimizing passes and traffic.