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Archive for Friday, November 30, 2012

Lesser prairie chicken may get threatened listing

November 30, 2012, 11:04 a.m. Updated November 30, 2012, 2:49 p.m.

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— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday it is considering formally listing the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species.

The announcement begins a yearlong review that will include public meetings in four of the five states where the member of the prairie grouse family lives.

Fish and Wildlife said it made the decision based on evidence that the bird and its habitat are in decline.

"The lesser prairie chicken is a species that is in peril and has been for some time," said Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe.

The chicken's range includes parts of New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas. Nearly 85 percent of its grass and brush-land habitat has been affected by ranching and farming. Most of its habitat is on private land.

Ranchers, farmers and wind farm operators worry about a listing because it could increase regulations. Wind turbines, oil wells and fences are among the culprits scientists say have caused the chicken's decline.

Washington Rep. Doc Hastings, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, said the listing "could significantly disrupt traditional and renewable American energy production and delivery, as well as agriculture.

"Energy projects, including renewable wind energy, would be placed in jeopardy, facing inevitable delay and uncertainty due to new layers of regulatory red tape," Hastings said in a statement Friday.

Federal authorities sought to ease those concerns.

"We know that we cannot restore, protect and reconnect the habitat ... without the help of private landowners," said Benjamin Tuggle, Fish and Wildlife's southwest region director.

Conservationists will work to "keep farming and ranching families on the land," he said.

The review meetings will be in February in Woodward, Okla.; Garden City, Kan.; Lubbock, Texas; and Roswell, N.M.

The lesser prairie chicken has feathered feet and a stout build. Males display brilliant yellow-orange eye combs and reddish-purple air sacs during courtship displays.

A final decision on the chicken listing is expected by November 2013.

Comments

clovis_sangrail 2 years ago

Prairie chicken make good gumbo?

Probably not as good as owl.

tolawdjk 2 years ago

No, no they don't.

I'm the fourth generation of my family to hunt chickens and sharptails up in the Sandhills of Nebraska. Every year we go. Every year as we are eating the things we wonder why the hell we do this cause they taste awful.

However, if one were to put them in a sausage and then put that into a gumbo....that might taste good!

Centerville 2 years ago

Looks like the administration doesn't think hay costs enough. Wants to really put it to Big Farm.

somedude20 2 years ago

I done found me sum of dem prairie chicks a few weeks ago...dem critters sure is hard to catch but even feistier when ya do get one

Frederic Gutknecht IV 2 years ago

I've read that they've been expanding their range in Kansas, increasing numbers north of I-70. It could be that their range is shifting north due to climate changes. This may be confusing number crunchers in the southern portion of their distribution.

BTW... Prairie chickens do not taste particularly good to most people, unless served rare and appreciated for their wild and weedy flavor. .

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