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Bismarck to hold public hearing on urban rodent control ordinance
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Bismarck to hold public hearing on urban rodent control ordinance

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Two Richardson's ground squirrels sit outside their burrow in a lot across from the Gateway Fashion Mall. The rodents have been a source of annoyance for nearby condo owners.

Bismarck officials will hold a public hearing on a proposed ordinance defining which agencies can tackle urban rodent control issues, in response to a large number of nuisance flickertails in city limits.

The hearing will take place at the Bismarck City Commission meeting on Aug. 10.

The proposed ordinance would allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services agency to address urban rodent issues within Bismarck, including those involving Richardson's ground squirrels.

City Attorney Jannelle Combs said that the city has been trying to get residents more information about the rodents that also are known as flickertails, because residents have been contacting members of the commission and city staff.

The rodents have caused headaches for some Bismarck residents. For example, a large number of them in an empty lot adjacent to a condominium near Gateway Mall have been disturbing their neighbors. 

Wildlife Services works to resolve conflicts and allow people and wildlife to coexist, according to its website. But the agency's policy prevents it from assisting cities with over 50,000 people without an ordinance from the city allowing it to do so, which is what necessitated the change in Bismarck, home to an estimated 75,000 people.

Burleigh County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Tyler Kralicek previously told the Tribune that ground squirrels can move in anywhere there's a habitat for them. Many people try to control the rodents because they can damage lawns or have other impacts, he said.

Reach Sam Nelson at 701-250-8264 or sam.nelson@bismarcktribune.com.

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