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Agricultural News

NACD Submits Comments on Threatened Species Rule Proposed by FWS

Thu, 20 Jun 2013 11:59:48 CDT

NACD Submits Comments on Threatened Species Rule Proposed by FWS
The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) submitted comments today regarding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed rule on listing the lesser prairie-chicken as a threatened species (Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2012-0071).

"Ongoing conservation work is effectively contributing to the recovery of the lesser prairie-chicken," said NACD President Earl Garber. "Through proactive, voluntary, locally led conservation practices, stakeholders have collaborated to enhance both the health of the land and the health of the species. Based on these efforts, we believe that if this work is sustained, a threatened or endangered listing is not necessary."

As the FWS continues work to identify the range of the species, critical habitat, threats, conservation practices, impacts, and other factors surrounding lesser prairie-chicken recovery, it is important that any decisions or determinations be based solely on sound scientific data.

In the event the FWS determines, using scientific data and analysis, a threatened or endangered listing is necessary for the lesser prairie-chicken, we request the use of provisions-granted under the proposed rule-to allow for agriculture activities to continue in accordance with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative (LPCI). The LPCI provides financial and technical assistance to participating landowners to implement practices beneficial to the lesser prairie-chicken that also contribute to the sustainability of landowners' agricultural operations.

NACD also supports the rules stipulating that conservation management decisions should be in the hands of the landowner.

"Conservation districts work with private landowners to provide options of best management practices and to empower the landowner to choose the option that works best for the unique needs of their land," said Garber. "We are encouraged that the Fish and Wildlife Service is following a similar approach."



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