Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Prairie Dogs wreak havoc on pasture land


What caused more than $60,000 in losses since July 1, 2017 throughout Kimball County? USDA Wildlife Specialist, Matt Anderson reported at the June 5 meeting of the Kimball Board of Commissioners that vermin did.

Anderson presented a 2017/18 summary of animal damage control which included verified losses to ag land, personal property, livestock and though loss of pets were reported due to vermin, they were not verified.

Damage caused by racoons totaled $2,700.

The largest culprit was not coyotes, though the predator caused nearly $4,000 in losses to livestock, including one adult beef, four calves and five sheep.

The worst damage was caused by prairie dogs, according to Anderson’s report. Thes animals damaged a total of 40 acres of range and pasture, totaling $53,700 losses.

Anderson spent that more than 174 hours euthanizing these animals, as well as badgers, and removing or destroying their dens. The majority of the calls he received were for coyote control.

Anderson further presented the board with a new contract for the 2018/19 season with a one-year option and a five-year contract option.

The one-year option includes a five percent increase while the five-year plan includes a five percent increase in the first year and a four percent increase for the remaining four years.

The board approved the five-year contract Anderson presented.

Additionally, Ron Leal presented a new public notification system to the board. Though Kimball County switched to Code Red last year, he proposed changing the system to the new Panhandle Alert Emergency Notification System.

That system is currently being used by counties throughout Lela’s Region 21 Emergency Management district. The newer system is less costly than Code Red and, according to Leal, will be better for Kimball County.

The board voted unanimously to switch notification systems and to continue with the current system during the transition to Panhandle Alert.

Kimball County’s Code Red contract ends in February, according to Kimball County Communications Director, Linda Williams. However, the new five-year contract for Panhandle Alert will begin on July 1, this year, at an annual cost of $1,081.33 for the first year and $841.00 for each subsequent year.


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