Western Association of Fish
& Wildlife Agencies
Summer 2014 Meeting | Winter 2015 Meeting
Lesser Prairie Chicken Interstate Working Group
In 1995, the USFWS was petitioned to list the lesser prairie chicken (LPC) as threatened under provisions of the ESA. The USFWS finding was that the listing was “warranted but precluded” indicating that evidence supported listing the species, but the agency had higher-priority species to work with, given its limited resources. The LPC was assigned a listing priority number (LPN) of 8. Over the past decade, LPC recovered from another more recent sharp decline primarily due to weather but in part by proactive measures of some WAFWA member states (i.e. Kansas and CRP planting) and the partnerships forged on the ground. Subsequent to that recovery, populations have continued to increase in some areas, but overall have been considered stable to slowly declining. This overall assessment, however, belies the serious and immediate threats to the species that are occurring over significant portions of the range, and in early 2009, the LPN for the species rose from an 8 to a 2.

A focused conservation effort for LPC was described and approved by WAFWA through the Lesser prairie chicken conservation initiative (LPCCI) drafted by the Lesser Prairie Chicken Interstate Working Group (LPCIWG) in May 2008. The LPCIWG is one of the technical groups associated with the WAFWA Grassland Initiative and the 5 cooperating states have and continue to commit staff to this endeavor since it was formally established in 1996. The purpose of the LPCIWG is to determine and monitor the current status of the species and their habitats, identifying and implementing management practices to conserve habitats and the species, provide technical assistance that target LPC (i.e seed mixtures for CRP lands), and identification and prioritization of research needs. Conservation measures from this effort will be delivered through the LPCIWG and the partnerships they have established with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Playa Lake Joint Venture (PLJV), Nature Conservancy, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (RMBO), and private landowners at the county and local level.

Range-wide Lesser-Prairie Chicken Conservation Plan -- The LPC Interstate Working Group is currently developing a range-wide conservation plan to increase the population of the LPC, in partnership within federal agencies and others. The states include Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. For more information about the range-wide plan, click here.
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