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On March 27, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially listed the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under the law, threatened is a step below endangered and means the species is likely to become in danger of extinction within the forseeable future.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also issued a special rule that allows landowners and developers to receive protections from harming the species by enrolling in the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (WAFWA) range-wide conservation plan. The range-wide conservation plan was developed by state wildlife agency experts from five states including Oklahoma with input from a wide variety of stakeholders.
The special rule also establishes that conservation practices carried out through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative and through ongoing normal agricultural practices on existing cultivated land are all in compliance with the ESA and not subject to further regulation. Learn more about the Lesser Prairie-Chicken in Oklahoma at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife website here.
- NPR: Federal Plan To Save Prairie Chickens Ruffles State Feathers
- Governor Mary Fallin Comments on Lesser Prairie Chicken Being Listed as a Threatened Species