The Public Lands Council (PLC), an association of public-lands ranchers representing the American Sheep Industry Association, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the Association of National Grasslands and its affiliate member associations, commented this week on the petition to suspend the registration (effectively the use) of the chlorophacinone product Rozol® Prairie Dog Bait.
In its comments representing the rancher's perspective, PLC pointed out that the black-tailed prairie dog habitat stretches across many states, including Colorado, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. With such a vast area, input from the people on the ground is vital for reviewing any management decisions being made with regard to the prairie dog.
Prairie dog populations have risen in the recent past and continue to be a challenge for range managers in balancing for a healthy and diverse ecosystem. Just recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported a 12 month status review (Federal Register: FWS-R6-ES-2008-0111) of the black-tailed prairie dog and concluded that the species does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. The findings show that black-tailed prairie dog habitat has increased from 364,000 acres in 1961 to nearly 2.4 million acres in the most recent data (2002 to 2008). As population and habitat of the black-tailed prairie dog has increased over the past four decades, the need for effective management tools has become increasingly important.
In conclusion, the signators of the comments declared that Rozol is one of the most effective tools among the limited options for range managers to use in controlling prairie dog populations. The benefits of Rozol far outweigh the risks to non-target species and the groups oppose the suspension of registering Rozol, effectively banning its use for controlling prairie dog populations.