Low-Flying Aircraft to Count Prairie Dogs in Eastern Colorado

Outdoors - Colorado Parks Wildlife Mountains Baca National Wildlife Refuge - USFWS
Published Saturday, September 10, 2016

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is advising residents and hunters in the northeast and southeast regions of the state that biologists will be using a low-flying airplane to conduct aerial prairie dog surveys in the coming weeks. 

Flight dates are weather-dependent but, generally, the flights will start around Sept. 14 and conclude by Oct. 1.

"These surveys will primarily be north and east of the Denver metro area and south of Lamar," said Species Conservation Coordinator Tina Jackson.

During the flights, biologists will verify that features identified through aerial imagery, similar to Google maps, are indeed prairie dog towns.

Aerial prairie dog surveys are part of an ongoing effort to monitor populations in the state. CPW last surveyed black-tailed prairie dogs in 2006-2007.  The current work will follow an updated methodology being used throughout the 11-state range of the species to provide more comparable estimates.  The range-wide survey effort helps determine the appropriate management needs for the species, as well as the other wildlife that depend on prairie dogs such as burrowing owls and black-footed ferrets. The current work is being funded through grants.