Lesser Prairie-Chicken Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances
Lesser Prairie-Chicken Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA)
Lubbock, Texas, June 7, 2012 – The lesser prairie-chicken is now a candidate species under the endangered species act. According to wildlife experts, if populations of the species continue to decline, the next step would be a proposal for listing and then eventually a full listing as either threatened or endangered causing landowners and/or operators to face land use restrictions.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Wildlife Biologist Manuel DeLeon would like to inform agriculture producers in the Panhandle and South Plains of an opportunity that may benefit the lesser prairie-chicken and farming and ranching operations through a program called Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA).
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) developed the CCAA to work with private landowners and managers in the geographic range of the lesser prairie-chicken. This voluntary program was designed to help reverse the current declining trend in lesser prairie chicken numbers by promoting habitat conservation and restoration through various management practices such as prescribed grazing, upland wildlife habitat management, brush management, prescribed burning, range planting and restoration and management of rare or declining habitats.
The goal of CCAA is to improve habitat and populations which could preclude the listing of this species. Following the terms outlined in the CCAA will provide landowners protection from potential federal restrictions to land use. A completed CCAA includes a lesser prairie-chicken wildlife management plan with conservation practices agreed to be implemented (written or approved by a TPWD biologist) and a certificate of inclusion from TPWD and the FWS.
DeLeon also reminds producers that through the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative (LPCI) and Working Lands for Wildlife, NRCS offers landowners up to 75 percent financial assistance for the installation of conservation practices that promote healthy grazing lands and are also beneficial for the lesser prairie chicken. These practices include prescribed grazing, upland wildlife habitat management, brush management, prescribed burning and range planting, and obstruction removal.
Texas agriculture producers may sign up to manage and restore high-priority habitats for the lesser prairie chicken within the eligible Texas counties. The targeted Texas counties include: Ochiltree, Lipscomb, Roberts, Hemphill, Gray, Wheeler, Donley, Collingsworth, Deaf Smith, Parmer, Bailey, Lamb, Cochran, Hockley, Yoakum, Terry, Gaines and Oldham.
For more information regarding the lesser prairie-chicken CCAA or LPCI contact Manuel DeLeon at the USDA Zone office in Lubbock at (806) 791-0581 or contact TPWD Biologist Todd Montandon at 806-655-7203.
Manuel DeLeon, (806) 791-0581