Lesser prairie chicken protection effective date delayed
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that it is delaying the effective date of the final rule to list two Distinct Population Segments (DPS) of the lesser prairie-chicken under the Endangered Species Act by 60 days, from today to March 27.
“The extension will allow the service to finalize conservation tools and guidance documents to avoid confusion and disruption for landowners, federal partners, and industry within the lesser prairie-chicken’s five-state range,” Fish and Wildlife, a division of the Interior Department, said in a news release.
Fish and Wildlife also noted, ”The service published a final rule listing two Distinct Population Segments of the lesser prairie-chicken under the ESA on Nov. 25, 2022. The final rule listed the Southern DPS of the lesser prairie-chicken as endangered and the Northern DPS as threatened.”
“The service also published a final 4(d) rule designed to conserve the Northern DPS of lesser prairie-chicken while allowing greater flexibility for landowners and land managers.
“During the extension period, the service will continue working with interested parties to establish service-approved grazing management plans. These plans are necessary under the 4(d) rule to allow compatible grazing operations to continue to work with lesser prairie-chicken conservation efforts.
“In addition, the extension will allow industry stakeholders more time to participate in or expand voluntary conservation efforts before the primary nesting season of the species.
“Finally, the extension of the effective date will allow for additional pre-listing enrollment in the suite of service-approved conservation tools and plans, including candidate conservation agreements with assurances and habitat conservation plans aimed at protecting the species while providing certainty for industry and landowners.”
NO PUBLIC COMMENT
The service said it is not accepting public comment on the extension. A Federal Register notice extending the effective date of the final listing for the lesser prairie-chicken will publish today under docket FWS-R2-ES-2021-0015. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/docket/FWS-R2-ES-2021-0015/document.
Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., said in a news release Monday that he and other lawmakers had sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland urging a delay in implementation of the rule.
The lawmakers urged today that Fish and Wildlife drop the listing.
Marshall and the other lawmakers said, ”While a delay gives industry stakeholders valuable time to prepare for more bureaucratic red tape, our preference continues to be that this listing of the lesser prairie-chicken be dropped.”
“Each party that is targeted by this listing must take advantage of this opportunity to continue to engage in their longstanding voluntary conservation efforts, a fact that went completely ignored by the federal government when it came to this decision. We commend Secretary Haaland for the additional time, but we will continue to do what we can at the federal level to stop the rule from going into effect.”