The Utah Prairie Dog was first listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1973. It remains listed as ‘threatened’ today, meaning residents of its native territory have had to come up with creative ways of keeping the rodent out of prime burrowing habitat.
“Prairie dogs are all over Iron County and there are many on the public golf course and many in the Cedar City cemetery,” said Rick Holman, city manager for Cedar City.
Holman said the city just finished building a fence around a cemetery and is currently using around $150,000 in state, county and city funding to build a fence around the golf course. The fence is expected to save money in potential damage caused to mowing equipment by prairie dog mounds.
Holman said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been a partner in finding a middle ground to what he calls the prairie dog problem. They have agreed to move remaining animals once the fence is in place.
“If the cemetery and the golf course are able to put in a specific type of fence that goes six feet into the ground and three feet above ground,” said Holman, “then the remainder of the prairie dogs can be removed [by the Division of Wildlife Resources] and we can have a prairie dog-free cemetery and eventually a prairie dog-free golf course.”
Holman expects the first stage of the golf course fence to be completed in August and said work on the second half will begin as soon as they determine where additional funding will come from. The city council decided not to contract out the work and is instead using county resources, including inmates from the city and Iron county jails to complete the project.