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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes listing Lesser Prairie Chicken

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has published a proposal to list the Lesser Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) under the Endangered Species Act. Under the proposal, Lesser Prairie Chicken would be separated into two distinct population segments. One population (in northeast Texas Panhandle, southeast Colorado, south-central Kansas and western Oklahoma) would be listed as threatened and another as endangered (in eastern New Mexico and the southwest Texas Panhandle). 

The proposal would also provide an exemption from the ESA provisions preventing ‘take’ of the threatened population for agricultural activities and controlled burns, in exchange for commitments by the landowners to perform conservation activities. 

A designation of critical habitat for the Lesser Prairie Chicken is forthcoming. 

The USFWS will hold two virtual public hearings on the listing in July and will accept comments on the proposal until August 2. 

UPDATE: USFWS announced on 7/31 that the comment period will be extended until September 1.

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