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Comment Period Reopened for Lesser Prairie-Chicken

Chris Merkord

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The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) final listing decision is now due by March 31, 2014. (Credit: Steven Walling / Wikimedia Commons)

The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) final listing decision is now due by March 31. (Credit: Steven Walling/Wikimedia Commons)

On December 11, 2013 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reopened the comment period in the Federal Register, for the proposed rule to list the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) as threatened under a special rule. In September, 2012, FWS proposed to list the species, but postponed their final determination until March, 2014 because of scientific uncertainty regarding the status of the species. In conjunction with this decision the final Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan (Plan), prepared by the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Interstate Working Group (LPCIWG) and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), has been released.

The revised proposed 4(d) special rule allows the Secretary of Interior to prohibit activities to regulate exceptions to prohibited activities. The decline of the lesser-prairie chicken is associated with the impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation due to agricultural activities, infrastructure and energy development, and red cedar expansion. The Plan was created by the LPCIWG and WAFWA to develop a conservation strategy for the lesser-prairie chicken. FWS endorsed the Plan in October and is reopening the lesser-prairie chicken comment period in order to include the Plan’s conservation measures in the final listing determination. In addition to seeking information and opinions on lesser-prairie chicken habitat, range, distribution and other population and life history parameters, the FWS is seeking comments on the final Plan as well.

Comments may be submitted until January 10, 2014, either electronically (Docket#: FWS-R2-ES-2012-0071) or hard copy mailed to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2012-0071; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.FWS is requesting that you send comments only by one of the methods, and notes that any personal information provided with comments on http://www.regulations.gov. will also be posted.

Sources: Federal Register (December 11, 2013)

Previous TWS articles:

FWS Endorses Conservation Plan for Lesser Prairie Chicken (October 29, 2013)

Prairie Chicken Comment Period Extended (July 12, 2013)

Comment Period for ESA listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken (May 9, 2013)

This article was automatically imported from The Wildlife Society's policy news feed.

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