USFWS Logo U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Banner
The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

June 4, 1999
Sharon Rose 303-236-7917, x415
Pete Gober 605-224-8693, x24


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service extended the period of time for additional information to be submitted on the black-tailed prairie dog until Monday, July 19, 1999. The Service is in the process of a 9-month study to review the status of the black-tailed prairie dog throughout its 11-state range. To ensure that the review of the species is as complete and comprehensive as possible, the Service extended the public comment period 45 days. Once all comments are received, read and reviewed the Service will work on completing the status review.

"We want to give scientists, public agencies, ranchers, agricultural groups, and others additional time to get all studies they may have done on black-tailed prairie dogs to us so that we have as much good, scientific information as possible to use in completing this comprehensive review," said Ralph Morgenweck, director for the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region.

The National Wildlife Federation petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to emergency list the black-tailed prairie dog in August 1998. Shortly thereafter, the Service announced that it did not meet the requirements for emergency listing, but continued to evaluate the petition to list the species and additional information from other states, federal agencies and tribes in the range of the black-tailed prairie dog. In March 1999 the Service determined that there was enough substantial information to warrant a more comprehensive look at the species.

Information should be postmarked by July 19, 1999 and mailed to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (BTPD), 420 South Garfield Ave., Suite 400, Pierre, SD 56501-5408.

The black-tailed prairie dog is a small, stout ground squirrel that measures 14 to 17 inches long and weighs 1 to 3 pounds. It is found in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, southern Saskatchewan, Canada and northern Mexico. Historically, the species also inhabited Arizona but no longer occurs there. The occupied range of the prairie dog has declined by approximately 95 percent in the United States during last century, with less than 1 million acres remaining of what may have been more than 100 million acres of original black-tailed prairie dog habitat.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management offices, and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

For more information on this species, please see the Service’s web site at

Email Us:

FWS Mountain-Prairie Region Press Releases

FWS Mountain-Prairie Region Home Page FWS National Website
Privacy Department of the Interior FirstGov
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Who We Are Questions/Contact Us