When we proposed listing the lesser prairie-chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in December 2012, we estimated the population to be less than 45,000 birds range-wide. The states conducted a range-wide aerial survey this spring and estimated the population at approximately 18,000 birds, a decline no doubt related to the extended drought in the southern Great Plains.
Clearly, this is a species in trouble that needs help.
The state fish and wildlife agencies have stepped up to the task, working together through the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. They have now completed the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan, and we are pleased to endorse it.