NCBA/PLC Disappointed with Prairie Chicken Ruling

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council expressed their disappointment in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency decided to move forward with the Endangered Species Act Designation for the Lesser Prairie Chicken. The decision designates two Distinct Population Segments of the species. The Northern DPS is southeastern Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and the northeast Texas Panhandle, where the birds will be listed as “threatened.” The Southern DPS that covers New Mexico and the southwest Texas Panhandle will now list the species as “endangered.” NCBA and the PLC say the decision to implement restrictive ESA protections for the species after decades-long conservation partnerships directly cuts the incentive to continue effective public-private partnerships. “The scientific data supports our belief that voluntary conservation work led by producers is the most effective way to provide stability for the birds and their habitat,” says Kaitlynn Glover, NCBA Executive Director of Natural Resources and Executive Director of the Public Lands Council. “After years of successful voluntary conservation efforts and the development of meaningful partnerships, the ESA designation of the Lesser Prairie Chicken is severely disappointing.”