May 30, 2012
A service of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
The public is invited to provide comments on a draft conservation plan for the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LEPC) in Oklahoma. The first draft of the Oklahoma Lesser Prairie Chicken Conservation Action Plan (OLEPCCP) is now available for public review and is posted on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s website at (www.wildlifedepartment.com/wildlifemgmt/lepc/action_plan.htm). Comments on the draft plan will be accepted until June 13, and the public is encouraged to attend an evening public meeting June 4 in Woodward or June 5 in Beaver.
The draft OLEPCCP identifies management strategies to increase the lesser prairie chicken (LEPC) population in Oklahoma through habitat improvements. The plan emphasizes tools and incentives to encourage landowners and others to partner with agencies in conservation efforts while also achieving their land use needs. The Oklahoma House of Representatives adopted a concurrent resolution in April 2011 directing ODWC to coordinate development of the LEPC conservation plan to “protect, enhance, and restore [LEPC] habitat while also addressing other factors leading to their decline.” The plan is intended to benefit the people, economy, and wildlife resources of northwest Oklahoma by providing a framework for effective LEPC management and habitat improvement that will facilitate population increases.
The LEPC is a North American grouse species that historically occupied sand sagebrush, shinnery oak, and mixed grass vegetation types of the southern Great Plains. LEPC and the habitat upon which they depend have diminished across their historical range by about 90%. In 1995 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that the LEPC was warranted for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Unless populations sufficiently increase, the species may be listed in the future, resulting in potential federal regulation of some activities and developments within its range.
Public meetings to present the draft OLEPCCP and to hear public comments will be held Monday, June 4, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the City of Woodward Pioneer Room, 1219 8th St. in Woodward and Tuesday, June 5, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Beaver County Fairgrounds Pavilion Building, Douglas Ave. in Beaver. Written public comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or 114 S. Franklin St., Ste. 203, Juneau, AK 99801 by Wednesday June 13.
News Contacts: Michael Bergin or Micah Holmes (405) 521-3856
This program operates free from discrimination on the basis of political or religious opinion or affiliation, race, creed, color, gender, age, ancestry, marital status or disability. A person who feels he or she may have been discriminated against or would like further information should write: Director, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152, or Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240.