Lesser Prairie Chicken Conservation Efforts Approved
May 9, 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of the Interior announced that landowners implementing specific conservation practices intended to protect and increase lesser prairie chicken (LPC) populations under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will not be subject to additional regulations due to the agencies' listing of the bird as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

USDA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in late March their intent to list the LPC. The proposal was accompanied by a special final rule intended to allow the affected states to continue to manage conservation efforts and avoid additional regulatory requirements. Both the listing and the final rule will be effective May 12. The listing will affect the LPC's range, which includes land in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

According to USDA, producers participating in CRP in range states are planting grasses and other vegetation that will enhance habitat. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said voluntary partnerships with landowners, like those established through CRP participation, are critical and yielding "real results." The agency said the announcement should give producers some certainty that they are in compliance with the requirements of the listing.

More information about the listing is available at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/LPC.html.