Information the 4(d) rule grazing exception for the Northern DPS of the lesser prairie-chicken

The Service has developed a provision within the final 4(d) rule for the Northern Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the lesser prairie-chicken (LPC) which provides incidental take caused by prescribed grazing when a land manager is following a grazing management plan developed by a Service-approved party will not be prohibited.  

For this provision to apply, the grazing management plan must be site-specific and must be developed by a qualified party that has been approved by the Service for this specific purposed of the 4(d) rule. The Service expects that party developing the grazing management plan to review and adjust the plan to account for the current ecological conditions at a minimum every 5 years. The plan must prescribe actions based upon site-specific conditions including but not limited to soils, precipitation, and past management, and must contain drought management measures.

The list of approved qualified parties will soon be included at the bottom of this page. This list will be updated as additional parties are approved. 

To become an approved party, a request must be made in writing to the Service and submitted via email. The request, at a minimum, should include the following:

  • Information demonstrating adequate training or experience, typically 5 years or more, in the fields of wildlife management, biology, or range ecology.
  • Information demonstrating the ability to develop a grazing management plan that incorporates drought management measures and all site-specific conditions including, but not limited to, soils, precipitation, and past management.
  • Information demonstrating the ability to work with landowners to develop site-specific plans which ensure grazing activities result in the vegetative characteristics compatible with the habitat needs for the lesser prairie-chicken or similar species.
  • A commitment to tracking the number of grazing management plans written, how many acres are included in each plan, and to reporting this information to the Service annually.
  • A commitment to meeting (in person or virtual) with the Service on an as needed basis to discuss the development of grazing plans for the lesser prairie-chicken.    

Upon receiving the request, the Service will review and respond to the request. If the party is approved, they will then be added to the list of approved qualified parties.

For any questions, please contact Clay Nichols.

Service-Approved Party for Grazing 4(d) Exception Grazing Management Plans

Northern Distinct Population Segment Ecoregion (Threatened)
Southern Distinct Population Segment Ecoregion (Endangered)
  • Sand Shinnery Oak Prairie
    • 4(d) exception is not available here