|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.
Russian olive tree removal will begin again in June 2014 along Bear Creek. Work will span Lakewood's portion of the Bear Creek Greenbelt from Wadsworth Blvd moving west. The Russian olive is a List B species in the Colorado Noxious Weed Act.
The City has begun 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, the prairie dog colony was temporarily relocated 10’ to the south of the existing sidewalk. This established practice uses low-level, earth-disturbing techniques to encourage the prairie dogs to move on their own volition.
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
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