February 9, 2017
Out West, one particular little chicken has been ruffling a lot of feathers. After much controversy, the lesser prairie-chicken was added to the endangered species list in March 2014. Concerned with the severe economic impact this listing would have on agriculture and industry operations, state wildlife representatives and private enterprises in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas joined together ahead of the listing to increase the species' population and reduce the impact to the prairie-chicken's range land. Ultimately, it was this conservation endeavor that encouraged the courts to delist the chicken in September 2015. The promise to continue these voluntary, cooperative efforts can prevent federal regulation of the chicken as it continues to be evaluated for listing in 2017.
The five-state initiative is called The Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan (RWP). Created and administered by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), the plan improves coordination between state and federal conservation agencies, increases land that's available to the range bird and ensures that conservation benefits for the species continue.
This webinar provided an update on the listing status of the lesser prairie-chicken under the Endangered Species Act and discussed ways electric cooperatives can participate in the range-wide conservation plan.
Other topics included:
The status of the RWP
How to enroll in the RWP
Benefits and cost of enrolling in the RWP
Available conservation measures
How to use the WAFWA project siting and mitigation toolkit
A question & answer session followed the discusstion.