Effective wildlife habitat conservation is the balance of applying sound wildlife management principles, while remaining cognizant of the socio-political challenges that arise from working in a landscape dominated by private lands. This largely private landscape, however, creates an opportunity to manage both agricultural and energy production sustainably with the needs of wildlife. Ranchers are after all, the first conservationists.
The lesser prairie-chicken lives in parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. While each state is working hard to save this bird – the fact is that a collaborative effort across the entire multi-state region is necessary if we hope to see the lesser prairie-chicken either not listed as a federally threatened or endangered species, or de-listed if that does occur.
Fortunately there are many groups hard at work and local, state and federal programs available regardless of where you live. Below are tools that exist across the entire region, and check your state’s page on this site for more local programs available as well.
Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) – The CHAT is an interactive, important map that provides information so energy professionals, landowners and policy makers can make pro-active and informed decisions. For an in-depth look at this planning tool, click here.
Conservation Easements - Conservation easements can be a very useful tool for those landowners seeking permanent protection of their land and the legacy it represents. Under an easement program, landowners fully retain ownership of their land, while a land trust holds in perpetuity the development rights. Any restrictions to future development are customized to each landowner’s unique situation. For information on finding a land trust to discuss this opportunity in your state or county, contact or visit the Land Trust Alliance.
Land Trust Alliance – Western Office
115 North Fifth Street, Suite 500
Grand Junction, CO 81501
Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA)
CCAA’s exist for landowners in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, and for oil and gas professionals in New Mexico. A CCAA is essentially a state-approved wildlife management plan that grants the enrollee certain assurances against federal regulations if and when the lesser prairie-chicken is listed as an endangered species. The terms and conditions vary from state to state, please contact your local biologist.
For updates directly from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, click here.
NRCS Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative (LPCI) –the LPCI is a special initiative for the lesser prairie-chicken to provide technical and financial assistance to landowners within the range of the bird. In just three years, the LPCI has delivered nearly one million acres of habitat conservation for lesser prairie-chickens. Click here for more information including who to contact. Click here for LPCI Conservation Initiatives.
Lesser Prairie-Chicken Interstate Working Group (IWS) – The IWS is made up of representatives from each state conservation agency ensuring communication and collaboration. The purpose is to determine and monitor the current status of the species and its habitat, identify and implement best management practices, provide technical assistance, and identify and prioritize research needs. For more information click here, or contact:
Sean Kyle, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Box 42125, TTU
Lubbock, TX 79409-2125
Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV) – the PLJV is a regional partnership of federal and state wildlife agencies, conservation groups and private industry dedicated to conserving bird habitat throughout the western Great Plains. For more information click here.