This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) endorsed the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan, a landmark, collaborative planning effort to conserve a species proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The range-wide plan represents a dedicated effort by the five range states of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado to conserve the lesser prairie-chicken. After an extensive review, the USFWS found the plan is consistent with criteria proposed last May for conserving the species, which is proposed for listing under the ESA. The plan calls for providing financial incentives to landowners who voluntarily manage their lands to benefit the species. It also includes a framework for mitigating the potentially harmful effects to lesser prairie-chicken habitat from development activity throughout its range.
The USFWS endorsement is not a decision that implementing the plan will preclude the need to protect the lesser prairie-chicken under the ESA. The agency will carefully consider the plan, its implementation and effectiveness when it makes a final determination on whether to list the lesser prairie-chicken under the ESA in March 2014.
The full story is available at www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ID=E6267BFC-E38A-E402-8295AE3A5FD77DF1.