New Partnership Opportunity for Lesser Prairie-Chicken Habitat Restoration:                          The WAFWA Grassland Restoration and Retention Program

Background
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is currently undertaking a status review of the lesser prairie-chicken (LPC) which could result in the bird being placed on the endangered species list as soon as 2018. Recent USFWS analysis suggests that current conservation efforts like the mitigation program under the WAFWA Range-wide Plan (RWP) and USDA Farm Bill programs may not be keeping pace with habitat losses. If the LPC becomes listed, it could result in additional federal regulation that will increase costs and scheduling delays for energy, communications, and agricultural industries across the region. Substantial habitat restoration in addition to the existing conservation efforts is needed to minimize the risk of a federal listing.


Solution
The WAFWA Grassland Restoration and Retention Program will bolster existing conservation efforts and speed progress towards the habitat goals defined in the RWP. The initial goal of the program is to restore 70,000 acres of LPC habitat and retain 5,000 acres of grassland at risk of being converted to agriculture.

  • WAFWA is seeking a total financial commitment of $10 million over the next three years from industry partners and other interested parties. 
  • Conservation funds will be targeted to leverage additional federal, state or private funding resources.
  • Conservation practices will be implemented within focal areas and connectivity zones as defined in the RWP. LPC are expected to respond quickly to habitat improvements in these key locations. 
  • The conservation practices funded through this program will not create mitigation credit but rather provide additional evidence that the species does not warrant listing.
  • WAFWA is already utilizing non-mitigation funding from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to restore nearly 1,000 acres of habitat adjacent to a site that is permanently conserved for LPC.
  • Donations to this program are tax-deductible and will be accepted by the Foundation for Western Fish and Wildlife which is the fund-raising arm of WAFWA.
  • We are asking companies and interested parties for donations to support this effort, and where possible, multi-year funding commitments. Those commitments could provide USFWS with additional evidence that a listing is not warranted.
  • For information about other WAFWA conservation efforts under the RWP see the video linked HERE or by clicking the photo below.

                                                                                                             


How can you or your company help?
Please consider donating to support the WAFWA Grassland Restoration and Retention Program to help conserve this iconic species on the southern Great Plains, to support farmers and ranchers in the region, and to reduce the potential for additional federal regulation of industries and agriculture throughout the region.

To learn more about how the WAFWA Grassland Restoration and Retention Program is implemented on private lands including targeting areas, ranking criteria and details on restoration practices, see the link below. For other questions about the program or to discuss donations, contact Sean Kyle, our Industry Services Director.

Program Details
Sean.Kyle@wafwa.org
806-252-2766