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Prairie Dogs Force Delay of Self-Storage Facility and Microbrewery Project in Fort Collins, CO

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Update 7/19/16 – The Lemay Avenue Brewery & Self-Storage Facility project should be able to commence construction with the relocation of prairie dogs from the building site. The removal of the colony began in May and was expected to be complete in late June. The rodents were moved to the Fort Collins-owned Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area, which was prepped with 52 underground nesting boxes, according to the source.

Care was taken to keep the family units together, which increases the likelihood the prairie dogs will adapt to their new home, according to Noelle Guernsey, a wildlife biologist who is program manager for the Prairie Dog Coalition. The coalition, along with the local Prairie Dog Relocation group, mapped the location of burrow openings at the building site and approximated the layout at the relocation area. “Luckily, with the relocation site at Cathy Fromme Prairie, we were able to replicate the way they are oriented here pretty darn closely,” she told the source. “We think they’ll like their new digs.”

The first two days of the trapping project yielded 93 prairie dogs. Prior to being released into tubes leading to their new nesting boxes, the animals were documented by age, gender and health, and dusted with insecticide for flea prevention, the source reported.

The relocation site offers the prairie dogs plenty of food sources and is far from neighborhoods, Guernsey said.

The project required a permit from the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife.


1/18/16 – Fort Collins Self-Storage LLC, which won approval in November for its Lemay Avenue Brewery & Self-Storage Facility project in Fort Collins, Colo., may be faced with construction delays due to the presence of prairie dogs on the 6.5-acre property. The Prairie Dog Coalition, a local activist group, has lobbied for the relocation of the colony. City officials have suggested at least two city-owned properties they believe will be suitable for the rodents, but the project’s March groundbreaking could be in jeopardy if the coalition is unable to move the colony by then, according to the source.

The possible relocation sites are south of the city. Officials are expected to meet with members of the coalition in the next few weeks to discuss the sites and moving process, the source reported. Coalition member Helen Taylor said she appreciated the city’s willingness to work with the group, which has offered to pay for the relocation and provide manpower.

The city has expressed concerns about the plan’s feasibility and impact on the area. “Moving prairie dogs is pretty involved. It’s very time-intensive and expensive,” Wendy Williams, deputy city manager, told “The Coloradoan.”

A construction delay could come directly from property developer Stan Scott if he’s willing to postpone the groundbreaking. The coalition would prefer to wait until the summer to relocate the colony to give females the opportunity to give birth to their pups this spring, according to the source.

The project will be built at the corner of Buckingham Street and Lemay Avenue. The seven-building storage facility will comprise 103,000 square feet in about 700 units. One 45-foot structure will include three stories and climate-controlled units. The microbrewery will comprise 7,219 square feet.

Sources:

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