U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists the lesser prairie-chicken under the Endangered Species Act

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Photo via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Two Distinct Population Segments of the lesser prairie-chicken are now listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Southern DPS of the lesser prairie-chicken is being listed as endangered, and the Northern DPS of the lesser prairie-chicken is being listed as threatened.

The Service’s Southwest Regional Director Amy Leuders tells the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “The lesser prairie-chicken’s decline is a sign our native grasslands and prairies are in peril. These habitats support a diversity of wildlife and are valued for water quality, climate resilience, grazing, hunting and recreation.”

Historical estimates say the species numbered in the thousands at one time across 100 million acres, but populations have drastically declined due to habitat loss, around 90 percent.

Senator Roger Marshall expressed his concern with the decision.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement is disappointing and a reminder that this Administration favors government micromanagement of agriculture and heavy-handed regulation in their war against energy producers instead of working with landowners to promote continued voluntary conservation efforts. Listing the lesser prairie chicken will hurt our state’s economy, hinder our oil and gas independence, increase utility costs, and prevent the development of renewable energy in prime Western Kansas locations.”

Story via Aislinn Maestas with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service