Western Association of Fish
& Wildlife Agencies
Summer 2015 Meeting | Winter 2015 Meeting
Annual Conference
July 16 - 22, 2015
Reno, Nevada
Winter Meeting
January 8 - 11, 2015
Las Vegas, Nevada
Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-Wide Plan Reports Successful First Year
On March 31, WAFWA submitted to the USFWS their first annual report associated with The Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan (RWP). In the report, WAFWA outlined the significant progress achieved across all nine elements of the LPC conservation strategy during the reporting period March 1, 2014- February 28, 2015. “The results from the first year of RWP implementation clearly demonstrate that both industry and landowners are willing to conserve the species,” said Bill Van Pelt, WAFWA’s grassland coordinator. “Private industry’s willingness to avoid and minimize impacts to lesser prairie-chickens is evident, and where those impacts were unavoidable, they paid mitigation fees to offset those impacts on cooperating landowners’ properties. As a result, all industry impacts were offset with conservation agreements during this first year.” The Report highlights the following:
  • In 2014, the estimated range-wide LPC population of 22,414 increased 20% over the previous year;
  • Six landowner contracts were finalized during this reporting period encompassing 37,767 acres. We have paid landowners $117,357 in sign-up incentives and anticipate paying them another $357,042 during year 1 for implementation of conservation practices.
  • A decision support tool known as the Southern Great Plains Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) was used to identify focal areas and connectivity zones where LPC conservation actions will be targeted to expand and sustain the species.
  • A project estimator tool was incorporated into the CHAT to encourage pre-planning for development to reduce impacts to LPC. On average it has been receiving 87,570 hits per week since February 1, 2015.
  • In 2014, CHAT elements for LPCs were incorporated into the Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS) ranking criteria for projects being considered under the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative (LPCI). Using the CHAT targeting tool, 77 LPCI applications were evaluated and 23 projects were awarded in FY2014, including 181,543 acres of grazing and 28,340 acres of brush management. Through the LPCI program, landowners will be paid approximately $2,935,894 for implementing conservation activities benefiting LPCs.
  • We authorized 733 project agreements designed to avoid and minimize impacts to LPC from various development activities. The effects of that mitigation framework on industry siting in terms of avoidance and minimization are evidenced by:
    • A 23% increase in oil and gas project co-location and clustering (65 % overlap), and a corresponding decrease in the amount of habitat impacted by those developments, clearly demonstrating that participants were actively selecting areas with prior development for new project siting;
    • A 54% overlap rate for new developments with pre-existing impacts across all industries;
    • An average HEG score for new developments across all ecoregions of 0.23, which demonstrates that participants are actively selecting areas with low habitat quality;
  • We established enrollment and development agreements with 174 oil and gas, pipeline, electric, wind energy, and telecommunication companies and collected $45,877,823 in enrollment and impact fees for unavoidable impacts for off-site mitigation actions.
  • We identified research needs within the LPC states and implemented elements of the RWP monitoring plan. Research activities included examining disproportionate declines in lesser prairie chicken populations, habitat use, survivability, nest success, recruitment and evaluating the benefits of prescribed grazing on LPC demography.
  • We developed an adaptive management framework incorporating monitoring and new information to make adjustments to maximize conservation benefits to LPC. The Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative Council adjusted the timing of surveys, personnel options, burial of power lines, and impact buffers.
  • Through the Lesser Prairie Chicken Advisory Committee, representatives from industry, non-governmental agencies, as well as state and federal agencies addressed input and suggestions from agencies, organizations, landowners, industries, other stakeholders, and the general public on the conservation plan for LPC.
In summary, the RWP allowed for economic development to continue in a seamless manner by providing an efficient mechanism to voluntarily conserve the LPC and comply with the ESA. Without the RWP, there could have been significant regulatory delays in obtaining take permits, disruption to economic activity in an area vital to state and national interests, and little incentive to conserve LPC habitat on private lands. The RWP encourages participants to immediately enact proactive and voluntary conservation activities promoting LPC conservation.
LPC Landowner Conservation Information
The RWP provides protective assurances to participating landowners. Landowners may participate in the offset unit generating option (provides assurances and per acre payments) or the non-offset unit generating option (provides assurances but no payments). Farmers, ranchers, and landowners may contact their local state fish and wildlife agency biologist to answer questions about enrollment in the plan. (You can arrange the names in any manner to make them fit).
Brad Odle, KDWPT
PO Box 338
Hays, KS 67601
Brian Dreher, CPW
4255 Sinton Rd.
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Allan Janus, ODWC
1801 North Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
New Mexico
Grant Beauprez, NMDGF
Calvin Richardson, TPWD, District 2 Leader
P.O. Box 659
Canyon, TX 79015
Enrollment information for the Lesser prairie chicken range-wide conservation plan
The lesser prairie chicken range-wide conservation plan (RWP) provides industry and landowners, through their enrollment and implementation of conservation measures, the ability to receive compliance with the Endangered Species Act and not be subject to further regulation.

Industry representatives please click here to review the FAQ sheet for enrolling strategies. For those wanting to enroll in the RWP please click here for the WAFWA Certificate of Participation (WCP). If you have any questions please contact Sean Kyle, chairman of the Lesser Prairie Chicken Interstate Working Group, at sean.kyle@wafwa.org or Bill Van Pelt, Grassland Coordinator at bill.vanpelt@WAFWA.org.

The RWP also provides protective assurances to participating landowners. Landowners may participate in the offset unit generating option (provides assurances and per acre payments) or the non-offset unit generating option (provides assurances but no payments). Farmers, ranchers, and landowners may contact their local state fish and wildlife agency biologist to answer questions about enrollment in the plan.
Other important information for the Lesser Prairie Chicken Conservation effort
Click here to learn more about the Lesser Prairie Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan.

The RWP includes habitat management goals and conservation practices to be applied throughout the lesser prairie-chicken’s range, guided by the Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) online database and mapping system, a project supported by the Western Governors Association.

WAFWA Certified Technical Service Providers (click here).

LPC Range-wide Plan Industry Operations Information Sheet (click here).

WAFWA would also like to remind you of:
Representing Member Fish and Wildlife Agencies Since 1922

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) represents 23 states and Canadian provinces, spanning from Alaska to Texas and Saskatchewan to Hawaii - an area covering nearly 3.7 million square miles of some of North America's most wild and scenic country, inhabited by over 1500 premier wildlife species.

WAFWA is a strong advocate of the rights of states and provinces to manage fish and wildlife within their borders. The Association has been a key organization in promoting the principles of sound resource management and the building of partnerships at the regional, national and international levels in order to enhance wildlife conservation efforts and the protection of associated habitats in the public interest.

We hope this site allows you to become better acquainted with the people of WAFWA, our mission, and our passion for wildlife. We encourage you to look around the site and be sure to check out the photos from our award-winning photographers.
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