Are you planning construction on your project site? Do you have prairie dog burrows or other mammal burrows such as those created by badgers or ground squirrels on the site? If so you will need to conduct surveys for the Western Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea), a Colorado State threatened species. Federal and state laws prohibit the harming or killing of burrowing owls or the destruction of active nests. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) recently updated their burrowing owl survey protocols for the first time in almost two decades. The updated protocol includes new survey buffers up to ¼ mile for large industrial disturbances.
Burrowing owls live in dry, open areas and prefer short grasses without trees. They nest and live underground in burrows created by prairie dogs or other mammals, such as ground squirrels and badgers. In Colorado, burrowing owl surveys should occur when construction, ground disturbing activity, or poisoning of burrows could occur within areas where burrowing owls may be present, especially in prairie dog towns. Surveys should be conducted between March 15th and October 31st prior to the site disturbance. Spirit’s Natural & Cultural Resources Team is available to evaluate your site and determine if burrowing owl surveys are necessary. If so, we are well equipped to complete the surveys for you in a timely and professional manner. If you are interested in conducting burrowing owl surveys, please reach out to Corinna Photos, Trevor Hartwig, or Jacqueline Prescott at least four (4) weeks prior to any disturbance activity.