Check out the latest Playa Post from the Playa Lakes Joint Venture.
Lesser Prairie-Chicken to Gain 30,000 Acres of Habitat in Kansas
The US Department of Agriculture recently approved a request for 30,000 acres of land to be allocated to a new Kansas State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) practice, a continuous practice in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The additional SAFE acres will be targeted in areas within the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LEPC) range located in the southwest portion of the state. The LEPC is a resident grouse species known for its showy breeding displays performed on leking grounds — and has more recently become known as a species of high conservation concern. Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV) worked with Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, US Fish & Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, Pheasants Forever, Kansas Wildlife Federation, Audubon of Kansas, and others to develop the SAFE proposal, which advocated for 30,000 acres of CRP to be enrolled in specified target areas. These target areas are places where new or re-enrolled CRP acres will provide the most benefit for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken by expanding large patches of native habitat. READ MORE > >
DC Trip Builds Awareness of Need for Spatial Targeting to Benefit Lesser Prairie-Chicken
On October 14 and 15, Playa Lakes Joint Venture’s GIS Director Megan McLachlan and Conservation Policy Director Barth Crouch visited Washington D.C. to talk about spatial targeting of USDA conservation programs to benefit the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LEPC) with representatives of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Senate and House staffers representing the five states in the LEPC range (CO, KS, OK, NM, and TX). Heather Whitlaw, Dave Walker, and Ken Collins of US Fish and Wildlife Service also assisted at the presentations.
“With the possible listing of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as a threatened or engendered species, a lot of people are interested in what can be done to conserve this species. USDA conservation programs are the biggest conservation opportunity, especially if we apply spatial targeting to program enrollment, making program acres as effective as possible,” say McLachlan. READ MORE > >
Farm Service Agency Enrolls 4.34 Million Acres Into Conservation Reserve Program
During the 39th Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signup, the Farm Service Agency received more than 50,000 offers to enroll more than 4.84 million acres. From those offers, about 4.34 million acres were accepted into the program, with the highest number of acres enrolled in Texas, Colorado and Kansas. At this time, we don’t know exactly where the CRP acres are located or whether they are within the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LEPC) range, but hope many acres of LEPC habitat have been added. Playa Lakes Joint Venture and its partners are continuing to work for the benefit of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken through targeting of State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) and other LEPC initiatives. READ MORE > >
Webinar Educates Stakeholders About Lesser Prairie-Chicken Decision Support Tools
In September, Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV) hosted a webinar to educate more than 40 partners and stakeholders about the various tools used for Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LEPC) conservation in our region. “There are many types of models and tools,” says PLJV Project Manager Bob McCready, “all with a different combination of components, formats and applications. The webinar was designed to educate the partnership about existing DSTs, since many of these tools may be updated and become part of a Decision Support System (DSS) that can be used region-wide to guide industry, public agencies, NGOs and others in making siting decisions that avoid sensitive areas for Lesser Prairie-Chicken and target conservation programs to priority LEPC areas.” READ MORE > >
Conservation Tour Shows How Producers Are Helping Both Cattle and the Environment
On September 20, Congressman Jerry Moran held his 10th annual conservation tour to learn more about conservation efforts in Kansas. This year’s “Partners in Conservation” tour focused on a variety of conservation practices important to the Kansas livestock industry, including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP), the Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP), as well as prescribed fire and smoke management. The tour made stops in Douglas, Wabaunsee, Geary and Riley counties. At each site, the landowner and the Natural Resources Conservation Service district conservationist talked about how these programs were successfully applied on the ground. READ MORE > >
Website Offers Landowners Information About Conserving Lesser Prairie-Chicken
A new Lesser Prairie-Chicken website (www.lesserprairiechicken.org), created by the Dorothy Marcille Wood Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), offers landowners information and resources to help them conserve this native bird whose fate is becoming increasingly linked to the future of land use, agriculture and industry in the Texas Panhandle and Southern Great Plains. The website includes information on the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA), and habitat conservation incentives, programs, and cost share assistance from various state, federal and private sources, as well as a search tool to help determine which programs best fit the landowner’s operation. READ MORE > >
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