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Comment Period Open for ESA Listing of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken


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Lesser-Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) (Credit: Doug Holt / USFWS)

Lesser-Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) (Credit: Doug Holt/FWS)

On May 6, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reopened the comment period on its 2012 threatened species listing proposal of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) for 45 days, ending on June 20, 2013. Comments are being accepted on the original listing proposal, and the proposed special 4(d) rule for the take of Lesser Prairie-Chickens. The 4(d) special rules would allow for (1) incidental take from activities conducted under state-coordinated or state-developed conservation programs, as long as they provide a net conservation benefit; and (2) incidental take from agricultural activities within Natural Resources Conservation Service lands with their Lesser Prairie–Chicken Initiative (these would still require a permit).

The FWS is also announcing and inviting comments on the Draft Range-wide Conservation Plan for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken, prepared by the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Interstate Working Group. They have listed 14 specific areas for which they are seeking comments.

A 90-day comment period and four public meetings were held following the proposed rule publication of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken on December 11, 2012. A final listing determination is to be made by September 30, 2013, pursuant to a settlement agreement regarding “Endangered Species Act Section 4 Deadline Litigation” between the FWS and WildEarth Guardians. However, if the Secretary of the Interior finds that “substantial disagreement exists regarding the sufficiency or accuracy of the available data relevant to the listing determination,” then the final listing is to be made by March 31, 2014.

Comments may be submitted until June 20, 2013, electronically (docket number FWS-R2-ES-2012-0071, click on “Comment Now!” to submit your comment), or by mail (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).

Sources: Conservation Plan of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken by the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Working Group, Federal Registry Notice (May 6, 2013), USFWS News Release (May 6, 2013), USFWS FAQ on Reopened Comment Period of Lesser Prairie-Chicken Listing Proposal.

Previous TWS articles: Comment Period: Proposed Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing.



View the full article from The Wildlife Society's Wildlife Policy News
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