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New fence around Cedar City golf course meant to keep out prairie dogs

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Posted at 10:18 PM, Jul 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-09 09:27:05-04

CEDAR CITY, Utah -- In the ongoing battle with prairie dogs in Iron County, Cedar City officials are drawing a line.

This week city officials are installing a new fence around the golf course, hoping to reclaim recreation.

The city has been planning to put a prairie dog fence around the golf course for several months, but it’s an expensive process. With just enough to cover costs, the council turned down a bid last week from a private contractor for the work.

“We still had a desire to do it. So we’ve been able to rally some different alternatives as far as using other labor, and donated equipment,” said Cedar City Manager Rick Holman.

That labor came in the form of Iron County Jail inmates. The city also received help from the county.

Commissioner Dave Miller said they’re willing to do whatever they can, because the battle is ongoing.

“When you see the impact into individual lives, and then overflowing to the entire community, that’s when it really takes a heightened pitch,” Miller said.

“The fence extends six feet underneath the ground and Holman said an improved design with smaller chain links will make sure no prairie dogs get into the golf course.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforces regulations related to prairie dogs. Officials say they’ve been pleased with the efforts by Iron County leaders to work with them on this sensitive issue.

“Allowing communities to address some of the issues they’re having, we feel like we gain better support from those communities,” said U.S. FWS field supervisor Laura Romin.

Inmates have already installed several hundred feet of fence. The city hasn’t figured out how they’ll pay for it all, but Holman said they’re committed to making it work, saying the cost is worth the additional revenue it will bring through a better place to recreate.