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Lightning Storm in Springfield Knocks out Power

SPRINGFIELD: A lightning storm began late on July 30th with a loud clap of thunder.  The second strike knocked out the power and left me sitting at my computer in total darkness. It also  brought heavy rain  and lots of  thunder for the next hour and a half, lasting  until about 1:30 a.m.  The town was in total darkness except for flashes of light, lighting up the sky like a strobe light, while the rain poured down.  At about 2:00 a.m. it was silent and the power was restored.   Pictures here are frames of a two minute video taken from my front porch.

4th Annual FAL Early Settlers Day Art Show

The Fine Arts League will sponsor the 4th Annual FAL Early Settlers Day Art Show at the Kiva Indian Museum located at 115 W 18th in La Junta.  Registration will be on Thursday, September 11 noon to 6 pm; judging will be on Friday, September 12, from 9 am to noon; art show open for the public on Saturday, September 13, 9 am to 7 pm; reception, open to public, on Sunday, noon to 4 pm  with awards at 3 pm; checkout after reception at 4 pm–no early pickups.

Items should be completed within the last 3 years.  All paintings must be framed or on gallery wrapped canvas and ready to hang with wire.  Size limitation for wall is 48″ x 48″ including frame.  Artist must be 18 years of age.  Cost is $10 per entry with a maximum of 5 entries per artist.

All work must be for sale with a minimum price of $50 per piece.  Please do not enter pieces you are not willing to sell.  There will be a 20% commission on all sales for nonmembers and a 15% commission on all sales for Fine Arts League members.  Membership is $24 per year.

Cash prizes are :  Best of Show, $150; Judges Choice, $100; First Place Each Category, Ribbon.  Well known artist, Theresa Vito of Pueblo, will be the judge.  She has conducted workshops in Colorado, New Mexico, France, Mexico, Italy, Thailand, Laos, Spain and Morocco.  A judges luncheon for all participants who want to attend will be held after the judging on Friday.  You may sign up for this at registration.

Registration forms will be available when you register.  If you know of others that may be interested, please forward this message–especially if you have a list of artists you send to.
Thank you,
Donna Abert, Advertising
Sherry Manyik, President

BIG GAME HUNTING STORIES

NOW POSTED ON CPW WEBSITE

MEDIA ADVISORY: 2014
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is again providing its annual story package for the 2014 Big Game Hunting season. All media outlets are invited to use these for specials sections, on Web sites or in regular publications. Organizations and individuals are also invited to share these with friends, family and others who might benefit.
These are general stories that provide basic information and tips to big game hunters. Topics include: care of big game meat; what hunters should do if they make a mistake in the field; proper use of off-road vehicles; common violations, and more.
To access the stories, go to: cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/BigGameHuntingStories.aspx.
Photos from the agency’s image database are also available at this link: http://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/PhotoGallery.aspx. The database is searchable. To download photos, simply copy and paste. If photos are used, please credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Following is the list of the stories available this year:

  • Long-term efforts saved Colorado wildlife
  • Common hunting violations can be costly
  • Moose or elk? Be sure of your target
  • High altitude survival
  • How not to get lost in the woods
  • How to hunt elk
  • How to hunt mule deer
  • How to hunt safely
  • Internet resources for hunters
  • Hunting and wildlife management in Colorado
  • Hunting ethically
  • Hunting gear checklist
  • Pronghorn provide unique hunting challenge
  • Follow these rules when hunting with horses
  • What to do if you make a mistake while hunting
  • Know the rules and know your limits
  • Be sure to know where you’re hunting
  • Other big game hunting in Colorado
  • Poaching a constant problem
  • Preference points – understanding the system
  • Some private ranches open to hunters
  • Taking care of big game meat
  • Use OHVs properly; know the rules
  • Colorado Hunting Atlas provides on-line scouting tools
  • Caring for your campsite

If you have questions about these stories or for hunting in general in Colorado, you can contact one of the agency’s public information officers:

Northeast region: Jennifer Churchill – 303-291-7234, Jennifer.Churchill@state.co.us

Southwest region: Joe Lewandowski – 970-375-6708, joe.lewandowski@state.co.us

Northwest region: Mike Porras – 970-255-6162, mike.porras@state.co.us

Southeast region: Abbie Walls – 719-227-5211, abbie.walls@state.co.us

Statewide: Matt Robbins – 303-291-7482, matt.robbins@state.co.us

For more news about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us

For more information about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us.

CPW HOLDS WEST SLOPE MULE DEER SUMMIT

DENVER – Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), in coordination with The Keystone Center, will hold a West Slope Mule Deer Summit in Glenwood Springs, Colo., Aug. 9th.

The summit agenda includes presentation of a draft of the West Slope Mule Deer Strategy slated to be released early next month.

The event is free and open to the public. CPW and The Keystone Center invite public review and comments on the West Slope Mule Deer Strategy draft as it serves as a guide to future CPW efforts to increase mule deer populations in Western Colorado.

The summit is in response to recent mule deer population declines across the Western U.S. and specifically, several areas on the West Slope, including the White River National Forest

“The declining mule deer population concerns our agency and many stakeholders across the state,” said CPW Wildlife and Natural Resources Assistant Director, Chad Bishop. The West Slope Mule Deer Summit is intended to bring people together to identify shared strategies that ensure one of Colorado’s most cherished species remains abundant for future generations.”

CPW and The Keystone center have facilitated seven public meetings, including two on Colorado’s Front Range and five on the West Slope, so far this year. Discussions between  sportsmen, landowners, outfitters, biologists, wildlife managers, other state and federal agencies, local elected officials and interested members of the public have focused on issues facing mule deer and possible solutions.

Ron Velarde, CPW Northwest regional manager recognizes the value of this diverse problem-solving group.

“The experience and ideas we have heard really help us move forward in trying to increase mule deer to a healthy population number,” said Velarde. “The summit will finalize our strategy for restoring and preserving mule deer on Colorado’s West Slope.

Colorado West Slope Mule Deer Strategy Summit
August 9, 201410:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (lunch will be provided)
Ramada Inn, 124 W. 6th St., Glenwood Springs Colorado 81601

Register online at http://keystone.org/muledeerstatesummit to attend or be notified of  when the draft Colorado West Slope Mule Deer Strategy is available. Learn about Colorado’s Mule Deer Story at http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/CO-MuleDeerStory.aspx.

For more news about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us

For more information about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us.

SUMMER DANCE PARTY @ Lamar Public Library!

You’re invited to a SUMMER DANCE PARTY @ Lamar Public Library!

When: FRIDAY, AUGUST 1st @ 7:00 pm

Where: Lamar Public Library’s Cultural Events Center

102 E. Parmenter St., Lamar, CO 81052

It’s FREE and It’s FUN…..for the entire FAMILY!!!

A variety of music will be played…..come one, come all!!

Event is free but donations are appreciated!  All donations go toward the library’s program budget!

COLORADO RECEIVES 750K LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND GRANT

COLORADO RECEIVES 750K LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND GRANT

DENVER – The State of Colorado received a $750,000 award this month through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant for establishing and enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities.

“This award ensures we can continue to broaden and strengthen Colorado’s outdoor recreation community,” said Bob Broscheid, Colorado Parks and Wildlife director.

The award is disbursed to local governments through an annual grant cycle administered by Colorado State Trails Program, within CPW. Applications are analyzed and scored based upon priorities outlined in Colorado’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

The Town of Lyons, hit hard by last years flood, was recently selected by CPW to receive LWCF funds. Lyons Park & Recreation Director, David Cosgrove, is anxious to get the project started.

“Everything up to this point has been emergency and temporary measures,” said Cosgrove. “These funds are critical in our flood recovery efforts, now we can move forward on permanent structures that will bring folks back.”

Since the programs inception, CPW has awarded almost 1,000 projects on LWCF’s behalf, totaling approximately $58 million throughout Colorado.  Each projects improves the quality of life for the 90 percent of Coloradans who participate in outdoor recreation to bike and hike endless trails, and fish local lakes.

The LWCF was established by Congress in 1964 to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generation, and to provide money to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands for the benefit of all Americans.

For more news about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us

For more information about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us.

Springfield’s Beau Grogan to perform at the Texaco Country Showdown August 23rd


Springfield Colorado’s own modern day version of Chris LeDoux,  Beau Grogan will perform at the Texaco Country Showdown event on Saturday, August 23rd at the Gem Theater in Walsh. Beau was the runner up in last years competition, and caught the eyes and ears of the judges. “When I heard Beau, I knew immediately that a great new talent had been discovered. I felt like I had found the next Chris LeDoux, or Merle Haggard.” said Chris Lash, owner of 91.9 HANK FM, who put on the competition.
Beau will perform before the competition begins,and also during intermission.


FREE LEGAL CLINIC – BACA COUNTY

WEDNESDAY JULY 16, 2014 FREE LEGAL CLINIC – BACA COUNTY:

FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED; ALL FREE

FREE LEGAL CLINIC – BACA COUNTY - First-come, First-served;  ALL FREE

WEDNESDAY JULY 16, 2014 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM in Springfield

A free legal clinic for parties who have no attorney and will be representing themselves in court, will be featured from 2:00 pm – 5:00 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Springfield Public Library at 1260 South Main Street, Suite #1 in the Resource Center in Springfield.    By computer link, volunteer attorneys will answer questions one-on-one, help fill out forms, and explain the process and procedure for civil litigation, family law, property law, probate law, collections, appeals, landlord-tenant law, veterans issues and civil protection orders.   Walk-ins are welcome, and everyone will be helped on a first-come, first-served basis.

Upcoming dates in 2014 are:  July 16,  August 20,  September 17,  October 15,  November 19,  and December 17.

ARTISTS WANTED

We are hosting a Hotter than Hell Music and Art Festival on July 19. This includes vendors, live music and an art show. I’m searching for “live” artists to come to Lamar for the day……what I have envisioned is theatrical mimes, human statues, stilt walkers, non-musical street artists. We can pay a minimal fee and perhaps lodging and gas. Would you happen to know any artists your way that may be interested? I thought I may have some coming for Denver but they have had to cancel so I apologize for the last minute notice — I’m just reaching out to any and everyone that I know at this point!
Any help would be appreciated.

I have attached our poster with more information.

Thanks!
Shawna
Shawna Hodge

Executive Director
719-688-8073

BIG GAME AND TURKEY LICENSES FOR SALE AUG 5

Contact Phone: 303-291-7475

DENVER – Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) offers big game licenses for elk, pronghorn, bear, deer and turkey, to residents and nonresidents, beginning at 9 a.m. (Mountain Daylight Time) Aug. 5. This is the first time all big game licenses (leftover, over-the-counter with caps, unlimited over-the-counter) are for sale at the same time.

Leftover licenses are what remain after the draw process for big game and turkey. The number of licenses available depends upon how many licenses remain after the draws for a particular hunt code. A list of available hunt codes is slated to be published on July 29 at cpw.state.co.us.

Over-the-counter with caps licenses are licenses that initially go on sale Aug. 5 but are limited in quantity, or “capped”. Unlimited over-the-counter licenses are not limited in number. Look for unlimited over-the-counter licenses and hunt codes for over-the-counter with caps licenses in the 2014 Big Game Brochure.

License sales begin 9 a.m.(Mountain Daylight Time), Aug. 5. Individuals may choose to purchase in person at more than 700 licensing agents, including CPW offices, online at http://cpw.state.co.us/BuyApply/pages/hunting.aspx or by phone (800-244-5613). A list of license agents can be found at http://cpw.state.co.us/buyapply/Pages/LicenseAgentsList.aspx.

CPW Draw Coordinator Devon Adams recommends checking with your preferred license purchase agent ahead of time to ensure business hours coincide with the start of the sale and that they are familiar with changes to big game license sales this year.

In addition to a current and valid photo ID, proof of residency and social security number, anyone buying a license must have a Hunter Education card, unless the hunter was born before Jan. 1, 1949. Online verification requires input of the hunter education information located on the card and the state in which it was issued. Bring this card with you for in-person sales.

To sign up for a Hunter Education course go to http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/HE-Courses.aspx. To request a replacement Colorado hunter education card, go to http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/HE-CardReplacement.aspx.

For more information about hunting big game in Colorado or the Aug.5 sale go to http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/RulesRegs/Brochure/BigGame/biggame.pdf, contact your local CPW office or call 303-297-1192.

For more news about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us

For more information about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us.

National Country Talent Contest Comes to Baca County for Local Competition

The 32nd Annual Texaco Country Showdown is America’s largest Country music talent show. It’s designed to find the most promising country music talent in the nation and to give these performers a chance to launch their professional music careers. The Country Showdown begins each spring with over 450 local talent contests sponsored by country music radio stations throughout the US. Winners advance to their respective State competitions held at leading fairs and venues. Acts then compete for a $1,000 prize, the State Title and the opportunity to advance to one of five Regional Finals. It’s the last step before the prestigious, televised National Final. The audience cheers on the Regional Winners, as they compete for the Grand Prize of $100,000 and the title of “Best New Act in Country Music.”

The Country Showdown will hold the Baca County competition on August 23rd at 7 pm at the Gem in Walsh presented by 91.9 HANK FM. To register participants can register at www.countryshowdown.com or by calling 91.9 HANK FM’s Chris Lash at 724-516-8885 or via email at fishfm1@hotmail.com. “Last year we had a tremendous turnout at The Gem for this free night of country music. Its fun, and features great talent. We look forward to our winner going onto the Colorado state finals again. Everyone is welcome to attend. We’re finalizing a special performing guess as well.” said Lash.

March Against Monsanto

“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” – Kissinger

While the film makers of Santo Movie were researching for the film, they came across a little known fact that should be sweeping the internet and informing farmers across America and other countries facing territorial Monsanto.

Even though the Monsanto protection act is in place and even though Monsanto is known for its brutal attack of patent infringement, typically leading to expensive court battles for the farmer, there is light at the end of the tunnel that will affect Monsanto in ways unknown.

All the farmer has to do is identify cross contaminated GM crops on their natural and organic farms and make a formal written demand to Monsanto to come and remove those plants before Monsanto makes a claim of patent infringement.

“If Monsanto refuses, and demands the farmer to not touch those plants, under jurisdiction of patent rights, the farmer can exorcise it’s right to tell Monsanto their plants are on the farmers property and therefore trespasses”

If Monsanto refuses to collect its property, the farmer can have it removed and send Monsanto the bill for removal. If Monsanto refuses the bill, the farmer can take Monsanto to small claims court and will be granted the amount and avoid any gag clause Monsanto is famous for during negotiations with suits against people they fight.

While this may seem simple enough and it is, it is an example of how little farmers are in the know how to forearm themselves and beat Monsanto before they get dragged into a situation that typically causes great harm to the heritage the farmer has built.

This is a situation where knowledge truly is the power.

We applaud Santo team for its continued efforts in exposing the truth through its research and ask you to help support the film we know will bring great awareness to this devilish GMO landscape.

VIC MEYERS INVITES KEN BUCK TO DISCUSS THE ISSUES

Vic Meyers, Democratic Candidate for Congress, congratulates Ken Buck on his victory in the Republican primary race for Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District and said that he looks forward to a vigorous discussion of the issues.

“The voters now have a clear choice about how they will be represented in Washington”, said Myers. “We believe that they will choose the candidate that can bring Democrats, Republicans, and Independents together. People want a Congressman who will listen to their problems and then work for a solution, even if finding that solution means reaching across the aisle.

“People are tired of extremist politicians”, Meyers said. “They’re tired of politicians who put their party affiliation and personal political ambitions ahead of the needs of the people back home.”

“I look forward to debating the issues with Mr. Buck, ranging from our differing plans for the continued economic recovery, to women’s issues, to immigration. More than that, I’m looking forward to continuing to have those discussions with Colorado voters so that I can remain true to the will of the people—because that’s what being a representative is all about.”

VIC MEYERS INVITES KEN BUCK TO DISCUSS THE ISSUES

Vic Meyers, Democratic Candidate for Congress, congratulates Ken Buck on his victory in the Republican primary race for Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District and said that he looks forward to a vigorous discussion of the issues.

“The voters now have a clear choice about how they will be represented in Washington”, said Myers. “We believe that they will choose the candidate that can bring Democrats, Republicans, and Independents together. People want a Congressman who will listen to their problems and then work for a solution, even if finding that solution means reaching across the aisle.

“People are tired of extremist politicians”, Meyers said. “They’re tired of politicians who put their party affiliation and personal political ambitions ahead of the needs of the people back home.”

“I look forward to debating the issues with Mr. Buck, ranging from our differing plans for the continued economic recovery, to women’s issues, to immigration. More than that, I’m looking forward to continuing to have those discussions with Colorado voters so that I can remain true to the will of the people—because that’s what being a representative is all about.”

Salzbrenner Wins Primary in race for Sheriff.

Steve Salzbrenner won the republican race for Sheriff against Dennis Bradburn pulling 445 votes to Bradburn’s 209. David Campbell, democrat, had 299 votes.

Summer Reading Program, Lamar Public Library

A light dusting of flour and the smell of yeast took over the Cultural Events Center at the Summer Reading Programs “The Art and Science of Bread, for adults and teens in the programs at the Lamar Public Library. After a lecture by Valerie Reifschneider, Lamar Community College chemistry teacher and self-professed baker, participants created their own sourdough bread starter using a recipe from King Arthur’s Flour website.

The event was inspired after library director Debbie Reynolds read Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish, and became fascinated by the idea of artisan bread-making. The topic coincided with this year’s summer reading program theme of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The adults and teens in the summer reading program were invited to attend the program.

Reifschneider presented a Powerpoint explaining the three main components of bread and the different chemical reactions. Her presentation helped to make the complex science of that perfect loaf of bread understandable to the audience. She also presented information about the differences between artisan breads, which use yeast, and cakes and quick breads which use different leavening agents.

The chemical reactions between the three different leavening agents, yeast, baking soda, and baking powder, were all shown visually by adding water to cause the reaction to occur. The visual demonstration made it easy to see how the chemical reaction with yeast takes time.

Reifschneider concluded her talk with a video showing Giorgio Locatelli, a European baker, recreating a 2,000 year old loaf of bread. The loaf of bread was found in 1930 in the ruins of Herculaneum, a Roman town destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Locatelli created a visual replica of the loaf including the string that was wrapped around the loaf before baking so that people could carry the loaf once completed.

After the presentation, the participants were able to create their own bread starter using flour and water mixed in a Mason jar. The jar is left open to the air so that the yeast found naturally in the air can be added to the starter. Everyone left with a set of instructions on how to feed their starter and a bag of flour to do the feeding with. In seven days, the starters should be ready to be added to a bread recipe to create an artisan loaf of bread.

-Article by Leigh Forney

OFFICERS FOCUS ON BUI DURING OPERATION DRY WATER

OFFICERS FOCUS ON BUI DURING OPERATION DRY WATER

LITTLETON, Colo. — – Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will be participating in Operation Dry Water June 27-29, as part of a nationally coordinated effort to reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to boating under the influence (BUI).

During this three-day weekend, officers will be on the water reminding boaters about the dangers of boating under the influence and detecting boaters who are impaired.

Boating under the influence continues to be major problem nationwide. In fact, the leading factor in boater deaths is alcohol use while boating. By participating in Operation Dry Water, CPW is doing our part to keep recreational boaters safe and reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to alcohol or drug use.

“Our agency encourages boaters to enjoy the boating season with friends and family, and we also encourage you do it in a safe and responsible way,” says Kris Wahlers, Boating Safety Program Manager. “Drinking alcohol while on a boat can have serious, even deadly, consequences, and our goal is to make sure everyone is enjoying their time on the water and staying safe.”

CPW would also like to remind boaters that it’s just as dangerous to operate a boat under the influence of marijuana as it is alcohol and the penalties for doing so are identical. Many lakes, reservoirs and rivers in Colorado are considered public property, so open display or use of marijuana is also illegal.

In Colorado boaters whose blood alcohol content (BAC) level exceeds the state limit of .08 can expect to be arrested for BUI and face other serious penalties including having your vessel impounded, payment of fines, jail time and loss of boating privileges. Operation Dry Water patrols will include increased patrols, breathalyzer tests, and checkpoints as well as boater education and outreach, but even with those, the best detection and apprehension of buzzed/stoned boaters begins with fellow boaters.

“If you see someone drinking and boating or boating dangerously, please tell us” says Wahlers. “Everyone knows to call 911 and report a drunk driver on the road. The same applies to the water. Drinking is not part of the boating experience; it’s a serious public safety issue and the people at risk are you and your group.”

Operation Dry Water is a joint program of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information on Operation Dry Water, please visit operationdrywater.org.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, more than 300 state wildlife areas, all of Colorado’s wildlife, and a variety of outdoor recreation. For more information go to cpw.state.co.us

Congressman Gardner Listening Sesson, June 20th

Doris Morgan, District Representative for Congressman Gardner, will be holding a listening session on Friday, June 20th, 2014, from 11:00 AM to Noon at the Springfield Town Hall Council Room, located at 748 Main Street, Springfield, CO. These sessions allow constituents to express their opinion on issues in front of Congress, or seek assistance with a federal agency. We look forward to seeing you there!

CPW RECOVERS BODY IN ARKANSAS RIVER

PUEBLO, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers recovered a body from the Arkansas River Monday afternoon, June 16. The body was found on State Wildlife Area property near South Swallows Road.

The body was reported by two men who were boating in the area on Sunday evening. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, Lake Pueblo State Park rangers and the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene to search for the body. The search was called off near midnight, and resumed the next morning. The body was recovered from the water around noon on Monday.

The victim is a white male, but no other information about his identity is available at this time. It is suspected that the victim has been deceased for several days. The body had been in the water for a period of time, making physical identification difficult.

No foul play is suspected.

An autopsy will be performed by the Pueblo County coroner who will determine cause of death and identify the victim.

For more news about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us

For more information about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us.

RESEARCHERS FINDING SUCCESS FIGHTING PLAGUE IN PRAIRIE DOG COLONIES

GUNNISON, Colo. – Work to protect the Gunnison’s prairie dog by Colorado Parks and Wildlife has proven successful during the last four years and biologists are continuing with more research to improve methods to sustain populations.

“In some situations prairie dogs can be seen as pests, but they are critical in the environment and help to promote survival of numerous other species such as burrowing owls, badgers and raptors,” said Dan Tripp, a wildlife disease researcher with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

In Colorado there are three species of prairie dogs. The Gunnison’s prairie dog resides primarily in the southwest portion of the state. The others are the white-tailed prairie dog which lives mainly in northwestern Colorado, and the black-tailed prairie dog which inhabits areas along the Front Range and eastern plains.

Plague, caused by a non-native bacteria carried by fleas, has been identified as a threat to the stability of Gunnison’s prairie dog populations in Colorado. Outbreaks of plague frequently kill every prairie dog in a colony. To combat the disease, agency biologists are dusting prairie dog burrows with an insecticide powder that kills fleas. Researchers are also evaluating the efficacy of oral vaccine baits which may prevent plague in the animals.

The bacteria that causes plague was transported to North America around 1900 and was subsequently found in Colorado around 1940. Because prairie dogs did not evolve with the bacteria, they carry little immunity to fight off the disease.

“The plague bacteria is a non-native invasive species that devastates prairie dogs and other wildlife species. We’re not attempting to upset nature’s balance with these treatments. We are working to restore balance in the environment and reduce the risk of major plague outbreaks in prairie dog colonies,” Tripp said. “We lose a lot of resilience in the environment when we lose prairie dogs.”

Controlling plague in prairie dogs may also help limit potential exposure to people and their pets.

In 2010, CPW biologists started dusting some burrows in the Gunnison Basin with an insecticide that kills fleas. The experiment has worked. In some cases, nearby colonies that were not dusted were wiped out by plague while colonies that were dusted remain healthy. Biologists also said that they’re seeing many more prairie dogs in more areas in the basin this year compared to five years ago.

Although the insecticide is not harmful to other species, applying it is labor intensive and expensive. For dusting to be effective every burrow in a colony must receive an application annually.

A potentially promising treatment is the oral sylvatic plague vaccine, Tripp said. Developed by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center, the vaccine—still in the experimental stage—works well in the laboratory. It is administered in a cube flavored with peanut butter. The baits also contain a red dye that adheres to animals’ coats which helps researchers track the prairie dogs that eat the bait. This is only the second year that the vaccine has been tested in the field in Colorado. Longer term monitoring will be needed to determine its efficacy.

“So far, we’re encouraged by the results and we are optimistic that the vaccine will be effective in limiting future plague outbreaks,” Tripp said.

In the Gunnison area, four prairie dog colonies are being used for vaccine testing. Two colonies are receiving the vaccine bait, two are receiving no treatment. In Teller County the test is being conducted with two colonies.

The vaccine is also being tested in Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. The experiment will continue for another two years and is a collaborative effort among more than 30 federal, state and tribal agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

In Colorado, the vaccine research in Gunnison’s prairie dogs is occurring on public land—state wildlife areas, BLM and National Park Service property.

Contrary to public perception, prairie dogs don’t reproduce prolifically. Females have only one litter of 3-5 pups each year and the natural mortality rate of the young is about 50 percent. Consequently, the colonies generally do not spread rapidly over wide areas. Tripp explained that few connections between colonies across a landscape exist; so when a colony is wiped out it may have little chance of being re-colonized.

“By preventing plague we can have healthy, stable prairie dog colonies that we can manage on public lands,” Tripp said.

The conservation work is aimed at preserving the ecological niche of prairie dogs and preventing a listing of the Gunnison’s prairie dog under the federal Endangered Species Act. If the animal is listed it could lead to various land-use restrictions.

J Wenum, area wildlife manager in Gunnison, explained that when landscapes are restored to a more natural condition, more uses can be accommodated.

“If you have healthy, functioning landscapes you don’t have to be focused on limiting uses,” Wenum said. “A healthy landscape will accommodate agriculture, recreation and wildlife.”

The testing of the oral vaccine will continue for a few more years, and biologists are cautiously optimistic that the vaccine will prove to be effective at limiting plague.

“We won’t be able to prevent plague in every colony. But this work will help to stabilize the overall population at its current distribution and benefit this important species,” Tripp said.

For more information about prairie dogs and other wildlife species, see cpw.state.co.us.

PLEASE, DON’T HANDLE YOUNG WILDLIFE

PLEASE, DON’T HANDLE YOUNG WILDLIFE

DURANGO, Colo. — This is the time of year when wild animals give birth to their young and Colorado Parks and Wildlife asks that you not approach, touch or handle young animals.

“We know that people are trying to be helpful, but the young animals are best cared for by their own parents,” said Renzo DelPiccolo, area wildlife manager in Montrose for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “The best thing people can do is to leave young wildlife alone.”

During spring and early summer, people often see young animals that appear to be alone in the forest, in backyards, on or near trails or along the sides of roads.

“The animals have not been abandoned. Young animals are often left alone to allow the mother to feed, to help them avoid predators and to learn how to live in the wild,” DelPiccolo explained.

Deer provide a good example of how wildlife adapt behaviors to help them survive. Young fawns have no scent and are born with speckled coats that provide a natural camouflage. These two factors help them avoid being found by predators. When the mother doe senses a predator might be close by it moves away. Many other animals use similar survival techniques.

Elk and moose calves are also left alone by their mothers. If you see one, move away quickly. Do not move closer or attempt to get the animal to move.

A disturbing situation occurred in Vail earlier this week when a moose calf was apparently chased by children into a hotel lobby where it collapsed. The animal was picked up by a wildlife officer and is now at a CPW facility in Fort Collins.

Young birds often fall out of their nests or are pushed out of nests by parents to encourage them to fly.

“If a young bird is on the ground it will quickly learn to fly. So let nature take its course,” DelPiccolo said.

If you see a bird on a hiking trail and you think it might be stepped on accidentally or easily found by a dog, you can pick it up and move it a short distance to cover.

People also need to keep their pets under control. In the woods, dogs acting on their natural instincts can find animals and attack them. The stress of being attacked often is fatal for young animals.

In neighborhoods and backyards cats are adept at finding eggs and young birds. Cats are pets – but they’re also predators.

“Many studies show that cats are damaging the songbird population. Please, don’t let your cat roam free,” DelPiccolo said.

Cat owners who are concerned about songbirds will place a small bell on the cat’s collar and the sound will alert small animals.

Food should never be given to wildlife. There is plenty of natural food available for wild animals. Providing food causes animals to bunch up in small areas and that makes them vulnerable to diseases and predators. If they’re provided food they also become habituated to humans and will stay in residential areas instead of natural lands.

People also need to understand that not all newborn animals will survive.

“In the case of all wildlife, we have to understand that mortality is part of the natural cycle,” DelPiccolo said.

If you see a young animal, admire its beauty from a distance, and then move on quietly. CPW encourages parents to explain to their children not to disturb wildlife.

If you have any questions, call the nearest Colorado Parks and Wildlife office.

For more information about Colorado Parks and Wildlife, see:cpw.state.co.us.