Industry Has Its Work Cut Out for Itself as Wildlife Service Weighs Listing the Lesser Prairie ChickenMon, 10 Jun 2019 11:37:28 CDT
Until recently, most of those concerned were under the impression the threat of adding the Lesser Prairie Chicken to the Endangered Species List, was laid to rest with conservation efforts in place that seem to be yielding positive results. However, the issue has reared its head once again with the US Fish & Wildlife Service engaging in a new status review of the species. Ethan Lane from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s DC office, works on issues concerning endangered species. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with him recently to get his take on why the Lesser Prairie Chicken has been placed under review once again despite the obvious progress conservation efforts have made.
“In particular, on the Lesser Prairie Chicken, we’re staring down the barrel of another listing decision in very short order. The species is rebounding. Back in 2014, I think there were about 17,000 birds on the ground. They’re up to about 38,000 and some change now and growing,” he said. “But, as always, with these species - it’s neve that easy. They’re always looking at that habitat quantification as well as the actual species count.”
To avoid another potential listing of this species, Lane says as Director of the Public Lands Council, he is engaged with the USFWS, attempting to help them understand the conservation efforts that are in place and the extent of the species’ recovery thus far. In addition, he says he is connecting producers with the Service to ensure their feedback is heard regarding the impact that a listing of this species might have. In the recovery efforts and progress made to date, Lane says producers have put their money where their mouth is and have delivered on their end of the conservation plan that currently exists. Lane hopes to successfully sway the Service’s appreciation for the action that has been taken before it makes its decision expected to happen sometime in the coming months. However, he admits that despite the evidence, the industry is faced with some stiff competition on the other side comprised of litigious environmental groups that habitually seek to tie things up in the courts as a means of getting their way.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best but it really comes down to what folks do at the ground level and being able to show our work and show that conservation product,” Lane said. “We’re hopeful the service will make the right call on this but they’re always going to be balancing not just what’s best for the species unfortunately, but whether or not the decision they make will hold up in court.”
Listen to the full conversation between Hays and Lane about the cattle industry’s bird problems, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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