August 16, 2020
Black-tailed Prairie Dogs are a keystone species that affect ecosystems in ways that some consider novelty and others nuisance. Their burrowing activities enrich the habitat around them and a variety of prairie species benefit from this. Prairie dog burrows provide shelter or refuge from predators for most wildlife, and inadvertently offer feeding opportunities to predators. The black-footed ferret, a predator and one of the most critically endangered species in North America, is entirely dependent on prairie dog colonies for food, shelter, and raising young. In addition to being a keystone species, they also have a sophisticated language that can easily be heard from the trails. Their communication system is so advanced, not only do they have different warning calls for different predators, but can also describe what each predator looks like! Their towns and colonies are made up of a complex burrowing system that can typically have 30-50 burrowing entrances per acre. While digging habits help aerate the soil, their waste fertilizes and enriches it, which improves and diversifies vegetation. Their work improves the land around them. They are Standley Lake’s very own groundskeepers. Prairie Dogs are an integral part of a healthy prairie ecosystem. Thank you for taking time to participate and helping Standley Lake Regional Park and Wildlife Refuge monitor this prairie dog town!
Standley Lake is a multi-use recreation and water-storage facility, and is the drinking water supply for Westminster, Northglenn, and Thornton. With 1,063-acres of surface area, Standley Lake is Westminster’s largest body of water. It is also the Denver metropolitan area’s third largest reservoir. In addition to hiking, bicycling, camping, wildlife viewing and other park-based recreational activities, the lake offers visitors numerous opportunities for fishing and paddling. There is a wealth of history surrounding Standley Lake that dates back over one hundred years.