U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
EMS TRANSMISSION 12/12/2005
Instruction Memorandum No. 2006-053
To: All State Directors; AZ, CO, MT, NM, UT, and WY
From: Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject: Annual BLM Prairie Dog Conservation Efforts Update DD: 01/20/2006; 10/14/2005
Program Area: Wildlife, Threatened and Endangered Species programs within the historic ranges of the black-tailed, white-tailed, and Gunnison prairie dogs.
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum requests Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 management information for the black-tailed, white-tailed and Gunnison prairie dogs for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Washington Office. This information will be shared with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), state wildlife agencies, the National Prairie Dog Conservation Team, and other interested parties.
Policy/Action: Use the attached tables for compiling and submitting your input for each of the prairie dog species. Note that we are providing you with a copy of the 2004 table for reference. Copies of 2004 tables and Excel spreadsheets for 2005 can also be found at http://web.blm.gov/internal/wo-200/wo-230/wildlife/prairiedogs.htm. Please update the appropriate sections in each table that apply to your State. In addition to the tables, please provide a brief summary describing accomplishments (e.g., surveys, monitoring, research, conservation planning, outreach/education, the status of mapping efforts, and new management and/or regulatory policies) implemented for each species in FY 2005.
Time Frame: We are requesting this information no later than January 20, 2006, in order to provide the results to the National Prairie Dog Conservation Team for their November meeting.
Budget Impact: None.
Background: On February 4, 2000, the FWS determined that the black-tailed prairie dog was warranted but precluded for listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On August 18, 2004, the FWS concluded that the black-tailed prairie dog is not likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future and, therefore, found that proposing a rule to list the species is not warranted. The FWS no longer considers it to be a candidate species for listing.
The FWS will continue to monitor the status of the black-tailed prairie dog along with additional information and comments from all concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested party concerning this finding. It is critical that the BLM continue to proactively conserve the black-tailed prairie dog in order to reduce the likelihood of a new black-tailed prairie dog ESA petition and listing.
In July 2002, a coalition of conservation groups petitioned the FWS to list the white-tailed prairie dog as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA. The white-tailed prairie dog occurs in Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. In November 2004, the FWS determined that the petition did not contain sufficient evidence to warrant a full status review for the white-tailed prairie dog. A range-wide conservation assessment is currently nearing completion and should be available in early 2006.
In February 2004, a coalition of 70 organizations and individuals filed a petition with the FWS to list the Gunnison prairie dog under the ESA. The distribution of the Gunnison prairie dog is four western States (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah). In December 2004, citing the FWS’s refusal to consider federal protection for the Gunnison's prairie dog, a coalition of conservation groups sought help from a federal court and filed a lawsuit, which requested that the courts to intervene and force the FWS to prepare a 90-day finding. The results of the finding are expected to be released by the end of 2005.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None.
Coordination: Please provide a single formal written response from each State that consolidates information from your respective Field Offices. Please forward this information to the attention of the Group Manager, Fish, Wildlife and Botany (WO-230) by the deadline above.
Contact: If you have any questions, please contact Cal McCluskey, Senior Wildlife Specialist at (208) 373-4042 or Eric Lawton, Wildlife Biologist at (202) 452-7760.