The Utah prairie dog is a federally threatened species that occurs only in southwestern Utah. A large proportion (65%) of the total population of Utah prairie dogs occurs in Iron County, and a high percentage (86%) of those (2,456/2,843 in 1997) occur on privately owned lands. Population growth in Iron County has averaged more than 6% over the last five years, and is expected to continue at least at the same pace, and possibly as high as 10% (Colgan 1997). The increase in both residential and commercial development in Iron County has been the greatest in Cedar City, but has also increased in and around other municipalities along the Interstate 15 corridor, including Kanarraville, Enoch, Summit, and Parowan. It is along this corridor where the majority of Utah prairie dogs in Iron County occur. Thus, conflicts between development of private lands and the federally protected Utah prairie dog have become increasingly common. To address these conflicts and provide a comprehensive solution to the problems, Iron County and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) have developed this Habitat Conservation Plan (RCP) to obtain a Section 1 O(a)(l )(B) Incidental Take Permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The HCP process allows take of a species, and/or its habitat, as long as the species is protected, its habitat is conserved, and the permitted take is incidental to otherwise lawful activities and will not jeopardize the ultimate survival of the species (USFWS 1996). The goal of this plan is to allow continued development and economic growth in Iron County, while conserving and recovering the Utah prairie dog on public lands. The biological approach to this HCP is premised on coordinating with recovery program goals, which in tum are rooted in the best biological knowledge regarding Utah prairie dogs. Thus, it is the biology of the Utah prairie dog which largely dictates the necessary direction of this HCP. This coordination between the HCP, the Interim Conservation Strategy (Utah Prairie Dog Recovery Implementation Team (UPDRIT) 1997), and the Utah Prairie Dog Recovery Plan (USFWS 1991a) involves ensuring the permanent establishment of Utah prairie dogs on public lands through translocation and intense management. All activities outlined in this HCP are designed to follow and complement overall recovery efforts as are outlined in the Interim Conservation Strategy (UPDRIT 1997) and Utah Prairie Dog Recovery Plan (USFWS 1991a). This HCP follows guidelines prepared by the USFWS (1996), and attempts to address requirements of the HCP application and approval process.
Iron County Commission and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, "Habitat Conservation Plan for Utah Prairie Dogs in Iron County, Utah" (1998). All U.S. Government Documents (Utah Regional Depository). Paper 536.