U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists Lesser Prairie-Chicken as Threatened Species and Finalizes Special Rule Endorsing Landmark State Conservation Plan
Special Rule Establishes Unprecedented Conservation Partnership with States to Provide Regulatory Certainty for Landowners and Businesses; Enables States to Maintain Lead Management for Conservation Efforts
March 2014 In response to the rapid and severe decline of the lesser prairie-chicken, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the final listing of the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as a final special rule under section 4(d) of the ESA that will limit regulatory impacts on landowners and businesses from this listing. Under the law, a “threatened” listing means the species is likely to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future; it is a step below “endangered” under the ESA and allows for more flexibility in how the Act’s protections are implemented.
The final rule to list the lesser prairie-chicken as threatened and the final special rule will publish in the Federal Register and will be effective 30 days after publication.
Service Finalizes Range-wide Conservation Agreement
to Aid Lesser Prairie-Chicken on Oil and Gas Lands
February 2014 Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) signed the Range-wide Oil and Gas Industry Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LEPC CCAA). The Service also released an accompanying environmental assessment (EA). The agreement is the result of longstanding cooperation between the Service and the five range states of the lesser prairie-chicken—Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico—to undertake conservation action for the species, which is proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Service to Host Three Public Scoping Meetings on the American Habitat Center Proposed Stakeholder Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken
February 2014 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in cooperation with the American Habitat Center (AHC) will host three public scoping meetings on the AHC Stakeholder Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. Scoping meetings will be held in Garden City, Kansas; Woodward, Oklahoma; and Morton, Texas.The scoping meetings will be organized in an open house format and are scheduled from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at each of the following locations:
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Garden City Community Center
801 Campus Drive
Garden City, KS 76846
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
High Plains Technology Center
3921 34th Street
Woodward, OK 73801
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Cochran County Activity Center
200 W Taylor
Morton, TX 79346
Service to Begin Evaluation of American Habitat Center’s Proposed Stakeholder Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken
February 2014 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its intent to prepare a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the impacts of, and alternatives to, the proposed Stakeholder Conservation Strategy for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken developed by the American Habitat Center (AHC). AHC’s application includes a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) that will address the take of the lesser prairie-chicken (LPC) in the event that the species is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This announcement begins a 30-day public comment period.
Public scoping meetings will be held at three locations within the six state proposed permit area. Exact meeting locations and times will be noticed in local newspapers and at the Service’s Southwest Office website, http://www.fws.gov/southwest at least 2 weeks prior to each event.
Fish and Wildlife Service Reopens Public Comment Period on Special Rule under Endangered Species Act for Lesser Prairie-Chicken
Reopening Ensures Public Access to Range-wide Conservation Plan
January 2014 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening for 14 days the public comment period on the proposed special rule that would provide regulatory certainty for landowners by exempting from regulation conservation actions and development undertaken in accordance with the state-developed, range-wide lesser prairie-chicken conservation plan, should the prairie-chicken be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The reopening is to ensure that the public has access to the range-wide conservation plan referenced in the special rule. The range-wide plan is now posted on the agency’s web site.
Comments must be received by February 12, 2014. You may submit comments in one of the following ways:
(1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal:
http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R2–ES–2012–0071, which is
the docket number for this rulemaking. You may submit a comment by clicking on
(2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments
Processing, Attn: FWS–R2–ES–2012–0071; Division of Policy and Directives
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM;
Arlington, VA 22203.