Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023
Poll Tells OSMP How to Be A Good Neighbor
According to their December 2022 census, Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) lands contain 5196 acres of prairie dogs, spread between its Prairie Dog Conservation Areas (where they are wanted) and OSMP’s agricultural lands (where they are not).
These thousands of acres of prairie dogs impact neighboring landowners, who report things like: “Our adjoining Open Space has gone from lovely, irrigated hay pasture to dirt, weeds, and prairie dog holes,” and “Please help us. We are being invaded by prairie dogs. They are in our yard and our septic field.”
Recently, the Open Space Board asked staff how to improve relations with OSMP’s neighbors. Our group asked OSMP’s neighbors how to do just that. Here are the percentages of our poll’s 68 respondents and the actions they recommend OSMP take to improve relations with them.
– 94% of respondents: “Remove prairie dogs from the OSMP field next to my property.”
– 91%: “Communicate collaboratively with fellow shareholders of irrigation ditches to work out water delivery.”
– 91%: “Assign a ‘Fixer’ to each OSMP property to fix problems on that property. Give the Fixer’s – number to neighbors to report problems.”
– 91%: “Meet face-to-face with small groups of neighbors bordering each OSMP property with prairie dogs. Solicit neighbor issues and advice. Address the problems they raise.”
– 88%: “Increase lethal control to 200 acres per year, as already approved by City Council.”
– 88%: “Routinely clear all noxious weeds on OSMP properties before weeds set seed.”
– 83%: “Notify adjacent neighbors before working on a property (lethal control, relocations, Delta Dust, weed control, irrigation upgrades, barriers, fencing).”
– 82%: “Provide neighbors with a number to report problems on neighboring OSMP properties.”
As one respondent said, “To become a ‘good neighbor’ and a good steward of the land, lethal control of prairie dogs is one key action, and the others are irrigation and weed control.”
Other significant findings of our poll are
1.) Relocations of prairie dogs are not popular, probably because of their cost ($273-$341 per prairie dog) and ineffectiveness;
2.) Barriers rate lower than other solutions, perhaps because of 30+ years-experience with ineffective un-maintained City and County barriers; and
3.) A barrier cost sharing program has the least support of all other options to control prairie dogs, perhaps because of general skepticism about barrier effectiveness, and beliefs that OSMP should pay the full cost, since OSMP’s animals are damaging neighbors’ private property.
We hope that the Open Space Board and staff will take our poll findings to heart and implement what their neighbors are asking for. As one of our respondents says, “When neighbors bring to our attention that what we are doing on our property is negatively impacting the lives and property of our neighbors, we should take steps to alleviate that conduct and the conditions our conduct has created. We have a responsibility as landowners and neighbors to continually make our lands and neighborhoods better places.”
Elizabeth Black and Paula Shuler have organized HEAL, Healthy Ecosystems and Agricultural Lands, to promote good stewardship of Boulder’s Open Space agricultural lands.
Community Conversation about 2023 election changes
Maybe you’ve already attended a City of Boulder candidate forum or heard about this fall’s election, including the first-ever direct election of the mayor. But did you know that because we have more than 2 mayoral candidates running we’ll be using ranked choice voting (instant runoff) for the mayoral contest?
I’ve been having conversations with friends, family and acquaintances and they have questions such as:
– What if I want to rank only one candidate for mayor?
– How does the instant runoff work?
– What do you mean five new council members might be elected? I thought there were four seats to fill?
– What if I make a mistake while filling out my ballot? How do I correct it?
– When will I know who won?
If you have these or other questions, come to the Community Conversation with presentations by the Boulder City Clerk, Boulder County Clerk and the League of Women Voters of Boulder County, Tuesday, Sept 19th at 6:30 p.m. at the Boulder JCC. Spanish translation will be available. Details are on the Events calendar page of LWVBC.org.
Holly Monkman is the director of action + advocacy for League of Women Voters of Boulder County
Community invited to arts-focused candidate forum
Election season is here, and it’s time to get up to speed on candidates and issues!
Create Boulder and the Boulder County Arts Alliance will be co-presenting a Mayoral and Council candidates forum focused on arts and culture on Tuesday, September 26th at 5:30pm at the Dairy Arts Center.
We have two significant opportunities to vote in support of the arts in November 2023:
- Extend an existing 0.15% sales tax that would dedicate 50% of the funding to arts, culture and heritage, without raising taxes.
- Elect a majority on the Council that support the arts. Five of nine council member slots will be on the ballot, including our first elected Mayor.
Meet the Candidates for Mayor and City Council, and learn their views on the future of Arts & Culture in Boulder.
All are welcome. Free admission. RSVP here.
Abra Allan is director of operations for Create Boulder.
Opinion arts Boulder Boulder County Arts Alliance candidates city council city of Boulder Create Boulder election League of Women Voters mayor open space Open Space Board of Trustees opinion OSBT OSMP prairie dogs ranked choice voting