An Open Letter to the Castle Rock Town Council

16 Feb

Editor’s Note: The following is an adaptation of a letter written by a member of Deep Green Resistance and of Wildlands Defense. As a member of Deep Green Resistance and a Colorado resident myself, I reprint the letter here in the hope it can spark interest on the part of other residents and lovers of the wild. Fred Gibson

Castle Rock Town Council, 100 North Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, CO 80104


To:    Members of the Town Council

Re:    Prairie Dog Colony Affected by the Promenade at Castle Rock

Dear Town Council,

I am a resident of Colorado who is concerned about the destruction of the prairie dog colonies currently located on the site of the forthcoming Promenade at Castle Rock. I understand these prairie dogs will be killed by development if not relocated.  I also understand several concerned people are working diligently to find a suitable alternate location for these prairie dog families, and that if the mall development is delayed until June 2015, relocation may be possible, with a good chance for the survival of a substantial portion of the prairie dogs not already killed by construction crews. 

I care about the wildlife and natural heritage of Douglas County, and all of Colorado. This heritage is one reason I and many others choose to live here. I do not want to see these large, functioning, ecologically-important prairie dog colonies needlessly destroyed.

Prairie dogs are not pests.  They are a keystone species that play a vital role in our Colorado and plains ecosystem. As a Coloradan, I value the wildlife and wild places that help make our community unique. Prairie dogs are sentient beings, whose colonies provide habitat for a whole host of other species including burrowing owls and black-footed ferrets. Additionally, prairie dogs act as a critical food source for many other animals, including coyotes, eagles, and badgers.

I will attend the Town Council Meeting on February 17, 2015 to voice my concern regarding this issue. In the meantime, please consider these concerns, and those articulated below.

I know development cannot begin on the Promenade at Castle Rock unless and until the Town Council approves a major amendment to the PD Plan. Under Section 17.30.030(F) of the Castle Rock Municipal Code, no major plan amendment may be approved by this Council unless the developer and/or the Council itself has given consideration to impacts to wildlife. Destruction of these prairie dog colonies is a wildlife impact that must be considered. So far, I have seen no evidence the developer has considered the impact of its actions on prairie dogs and the larger ecosystem, and nothing has been written about impacts to prairie dogs in the developer’s most recently published reports.

I ask this Council to follow the directive in Section 17.30.030(F) of the Municipal Code that “consideration shall be given to wildlife impacts” before approving the major plan amendment to the applicable PD Plan. Specifically, I ask the developer and Council consider delaying construction on the Promenade at Castle Rock project until the option of relocating these prairie dogs to another site has been fully explored.

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