Public Hearings Being Held on the Listing Proposal for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will conduct four public hearings to obtain comments on the Service’s proposal to list the lesser prairie-chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (Act). Public hearings will be held in Woodward, Oklahoma; Garden City, Kansas; Lubbock, Texas; and Roswell, New Mexico.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Initiates Process to Consider Lesser Prairie-Chicken
As "Threatened" Species Under the Endangered Species Act
November 2012 Agency seeks information from public, scientific community to inform final decision; continues work with states on voluntary conservation agreements
Based on scientific evidence that the lesser prairie-chicken and its habitat are in decline, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it is initiating a process to consider whether the species should be recognized as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
The Service will make a final determination on whether to add the lesser prairie-chicken to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife based on the best available science. Members of the public and scientific community are encouraged to review and comment on the proposal during the 90-day public comment period.
State conservation agencies, in partnership with federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Land Management and partners such as the Sutton Center, are working on a range-wide, voluntary conservation planning effort that will play a significant role in conserving lesser-prairie chicken habitat.
Service Announces a Draft Environmental Assessment on an Application for an Enhancement of Survival Permit for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will announce on Monday, June 25, 2012, a Notice of Availability (NOA) of a draft Environmental Assessment (dEA) on an application for an enhancement of survival permit under Section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act (Act) of 1973, as amended for the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus). The application was submitted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC). A 60-day public comment period will begin upon publication of the NOA in the Federal Register.
The permit application includes a draft Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) between ODWC and the Service for the lesser prairie-chicken in Oklahoma. The draft CCAA would be in effect for 25 years in Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Cimarron, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Major, Roger Mills, Texas, Washita, Woods and Woodward counties, Oklahoma.
Kansas State University Research and Extension Interview Series
K State Research and Extension is doing a series of interviews regarding the lesser prairie-chicken. Michelle Shaughnessy, Region 2, Assistant Regional Director for Ecological Services, was featured on the July 17, 2012 show.
To listen to Michelle's interview and others, click HERE.
WHAT IS A LESSER PRAIRIE-CHICKEN AND WHY IS U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE INTERESTED IN THE CHICKEN?
The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) is a species of prairie grouse that occupies a five-state range including portions of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. The species is state listed as threatened in Colorado, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) identified the species as a candidate for Federal listing in 1998.
The lesser prairie-chicken is commonly recognized for its feathered feet and stout build. Plumage of the lesser prairie-chicken is characterized by a cryptic pattern of alternating brown and buff-colored barring. Males display brilliant yellow-orange eyecombs and reddish-purple air sacs during courtship displays.
Lesser prairie-chicken populations need large tracts of relatively intact native grasslands and prairies to thrive. Threats to the lesser prairie-chicken include habitat loss, modification, degradation, and fragmentation within its range.
WHAT ACTIONS IS THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE UNDERTAKING RELATED TO THE LESSER PRAIRIE-CHICKEN?
Over the next year, the Service will look at the status of the lesser prairie-chicken, threats to the species and conservation efforts and develop a listing proposal which will be published in the Federal Register no later than September 2012. The Service will use the best available science to develop the proposal. A determination of whether to list the species as threatened or endangered will depend on the full assessment of the status of the lesser prairie-chicken.
Initiation of the listing proposal process for the lesser prairie-chicken is a part of the terms of a multi-year listing work plan approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on September 9, 2011. This work plan, developed through a settlement agreement with WildEarth Guardians and a separate, smaller settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, will enable the agency to systematically, over a period of six years, review and address the needs of more than 250 species now on the candidate list, to determine if they require ESA protection. A list of these species is available at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/improving_ESA/listing_workplan.html.