In the event that some of the animals are not able to be relocated, or possibly are accidentally killed as a result of development activities, the Service issued Smead Manufacturing Company an incidental take permit, often referred to as a Section 10 permit, allowing for the incidental take or killing of no more than 50 prairie dogs for a period not to exceed 5 years.
Not only did the Habitat Conservation Plan and permit developed for this individual project assist in allowing for the future of the Utah prairie dogs in this area of Utah, said Ralph Morgenweck, Regional Director for the Fish and Wildlife Service s Mountain-Prairie Region, but it showed that with coordinated planning efforts development can proceed in the presence of a threatened or endangered species. With the cooperation and concerted effort shown by all parties in this instance, not only does wildlife benefit, but the community as a whole can enjoy the future benefits, including economical, environmental, and aesthetic offered by including wildlife in the future plans of a growing tourism area and additional jobs for the people living in these areas.
With assistance from the Service, officials with Smead developed a site-specific habitat conservation plan that allows for the relocation of the threatened Utah prairie dog to an approved public lands transplant site agreed upon by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Once the prairie dogs have been moved, Smead contractors will initiate development of the facility site within 48 hours in order to avoid recolonization by the animals in nearby areas. Smead will designate an individual who will be responsible for overseeing compliance with the permit and will continue to coordinate with biologists from the Fish and Wildlife Service s Salt Lake City office.
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