Just when you thought the prairie dog controversy was put to rest, another state agency is voicing its disapproval. In April, Lubbock was cited for conditions that could possibly lead to ground water contamination, due to the large number of prairie dogs on the city farm. Now, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says they do not believe the prairie dogs can take full responsibility for the high nitrate levels threatening the ground water.
The Llano Estacado Audubon society agrees, and says there are other solutions to the problem. "The prairie dogs can live in harmony with the application site," said Jill Haukos, of the Llano Estacado Audubon Society. "They're not mutually exclusive goals. You can have them both. And you're having agencies that are willing to give them money and expertise to do this. And this city is just turning away from it, and I don't understand why."
Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal says the city was told to do something about the prairie dog problem by the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, now called, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. They submitted a detailed plan to get back in compliance, and their plan was approved.
"We will continue to move forward with that plan until such time the regulatory agency which is T.C.E.Q. tells us different," said Mayor McDougal. "That is the regulatory agency in this matter and those are the folks we have to listen to."
The city plans to control the prairie dogs by relocating as many as possible and then poisoning the rest.