Draft Conservation Plan and comment period: Lesser Prairie-Chicken

Range-wide Conservation Plan for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LPC)
Opportunities to Learn About and Review Initial Draft Conservation Plan

The Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LPC) Interstate Working Group of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) is developing a range-wide conservation plan to increase the population of the LPC, in partnership within federal agencies and others. The states include Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The conservation plan emphasizes tools and incentives to encourage landowners and others to voluntarily partner with agencies in LPC habitat conservation efforts, while also achieving their land use needs. WAFWA has engaged the Ecosystem Management Research Institute to assist with the development of the plan.

There are a number of ways you can participate in development of the range-wide LPC conservation plan:
(1) Review the draft conservation plan – An initial draft of the range-wide LPC conservation strategy will be posted soon for public review on the WAFWA website: http://www.wafwa.org/html/prairie_chicken.shtml. The draft plan will provide a range-wide population goal for the LPC, identify areas in each state where LPC conservation efforts will be focused, and list actions that will be taken to help increase its population.
(2) Attend public/stakeholder meetings – To present and discuss the LPC conservation plan, the range-wide planning team is holding meetings for the general public and stakeholders on January 23-24, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. each day at the Arcadia Center in Edmond, Oklahoma (just north of Oklahoma City). You can attend the meetings in person or via teleconference – and are welcome to attend just the sessions of interest to you. Meeting topics are:
January 23 – Present draft LPC conservation plan; address questions; hear comments; identify additional conservation opportunities to include in the plan.
January 24 – Detailed discussion of how LPC habitat mitigation will be addressed in the conservation plan, including discussion of mitigation metrics, Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA), mitigation credits, conservation banking, and other habitat mitigation tools.
Meeting agendas (including directions to the Arcadia Center in Edmond, OK) are attached for your information.
PLEASE RSVP to janc@gci.net by Wednesday, January 16 – and let me know whether you will attend the meetings in person or via teleconference. (I will provide information about how to join via teleconference to those who RSVP.)
(3) Comment on the draft conservation plan – Written comments on the first draft of the LPC conservation plan will be accepted through Friday, February 1. A second draft of the plan will be released in February with the final plan completed in March 2013. Please send comments to janc@gci.net via email or through the mail to Jan Caulfield Consulting, 114 S. Franklin St., Ste. 203, Juneau, AK 99801.
Background – The Lesser Prairie-Chicken is a North American grouse species that historically occupied sand sagebrush, shinnery oak, and mixed grass vegetation types of the southern Great Plains. LPC and the habitat upon which they depend have diminished across their historical range by about 90%. In 1998 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that the LPC was warranted for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In December 2012, the USFWS released a proposed rule that indicates the agency is considering listing the LPC as “threatened” under the ESA, with a final determination to be made by September 2013. The range-wide, voluntary conservation plan is being developed to provide conservation for LPC, and hopefully to avoid the need for such a listing.
Next Steps – A second draft of the range-wide LPC conservation plan will be provided for public review in February and a second public comment period will be provided. The final plan will be submitted to the USFWS in March 2013 to be taken into consideration as they make their final listing decision.
Please contact me at janc@gci.net or at 907-523-4610 with any questions.
Jan Caulfield, Facilitation/Public Involvement

Jan Caulfield Consulting
114 S. Franklin St., Ste. 203
Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: 907-523-4610

Documents relevant to the discussion planning meetings in Edmond:

LEPC Final_OK_LEPC_Mgmt_Plan_23Oct2012

LEPC Listing Proposal Dec 2012

Agenda Jan 23 2013 stakeholder mtg

Agenda Jan 24 2013 CCAA mtg

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