|The Natural Resources crew is small but has a large job. The crew consists of the Natural Resources Specialist and four summer seasonal employees. They manage the following in Lakewood's Regional Parks:
- Management of wildlife, including prairie dogs, beaver and coyote monitoring
- Wildlife habitat protection and restoration
- Control of noxious weeds and introduction of native plants
- Riparian and wetland restoration
- Controlled burns
- Construction and maintenance of soft surface trails
- Natural resources mapping of weeds, wildlife and trails
Current Management Plan Activities
The City of Lakewood is currently implementing the Natural Areas Management Plan throughout the natural areas in the City, including prairie dog and invasive weed management in the Bear Creek Greenbelt. Lakewood recognizes prairie dogs as an important wildlife species. Lakewood staff has mapped and tracked the prairie dog populations since 1999 and has seen a 106% increase in colony acreage and an 80% increase in population. Management efforts include:
- Native seeding
- Raptor poles and predator hides
- Live relocation
- Population reduction
The goal of Lakewood’s prairie dog management is to restore some ecosystem balance to the park by providing habitat for prairie dogs while also protecting the Greenbelt’s other habitat values, recreational uses, neighboring properties and visual appeal. For more information, please call 303-987-7752.
Russian olive tree removal is underway along Bear Creek with work in Lakewood’s portion occurring during the month of July. The Russian olive is a List B species in the Colorado Noxious Weed Act. Restoration planting with native species will occur in the fall.
The City will soon begin a project to enhance the SW corner of the intersection at Kipling and Dartmouth by relocating a roadway and sidewalk pinch point to the south by a few feet. In order to accomplish this, we will temporarily relocate a prairie dog colony 10’ to the south of the existing sidewalk starting the week of February 24. This established practice uses low-level, earth-disturbing techniques to encourage the prairie dogs to move on their own volition. Heavy construction techniques will not commence until the area is clear of prairie dogs.
The natural resources staff oversees several volunteer programs including:
- Bear Creek Lake Park Trail Crew
- William Frederick Hayden Park Adopt-A-Trail
- Eagle Scout projects
- Volunteer trail, restoration and weed removal days