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Director's Corner

Dan Ashe served as FWS Director from June 2011 until January 2017. The following is an archive of blogs authored by Director Ashe during that time. This content is intended for historical reference only and not as a representation of current Service policy or opinion.

Lesser Prairie-Chicken Gets Lots of Helping Hands

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.

Lesser prairie chicken

The lesser prairie-chicken needs lots of space. Credit: NRCS

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.


Some Amazing Conservation is Happening out West Despite Challenging Issues

I ventured down to Tucson, Arizona, for a few days recently for the winter meeting of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA).

Lee Metcalf NWR The landscape at Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge in western Montana is just one type we manage with WAFWA. Credit: Bob Danley/USFWS

WAFWA represents U.S. states from Alaska and Hawaii to Texas and the Dakotas. Several Canadian provinces are also members. That’s almost 4 million square miles, home to more than 1,500 wildlife species.

WAFWA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked, side-by-side, on a number of conservation successes last year.