USFWS extends comment period on proposal to list lesser prairie-chicken under the ESA

State & Regional

(Photo provided by Texas Tech University)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (PRESS RELEASE) — The following is a press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extending the deadline for public comment on the proposal to list two distinct population segments (DPS) of the lesser prairie-chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The extension notice is expected to publish in the Federal Register on July 30, 2021 and will extend the public comment period by 30 days. The new deadline for public comment on this proposal is September 1, 2021.

The Service is committed to transparent, inclusive decision making in all of our science-based determinations under the ESA. The extended comment period will allow additional opportunities for public and stakeholder review and engagement in this proposed action.

The lesser prairie-chicken is a species of prairie grouse commonly recognized for its colorful spring mating display and stout build. Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, its population has declined, largely due to habitat loss and fragmentation across the southern Great Plains. The lesser prairie-chicken currently occupies a five-state range that includes portions of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

The Service’s scientific review of past, present and future threats to the lesser prairie-chicken and ongoing conservation efforts found the Southern DPS is in danger of extinction, and the Northern DPS is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.

The Service’s proposal to list the Southern DPS as endangered under the ESA and the Northern DPS as threatened with a 4(d) rule was published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2021, with the 60-day comment period scheduled to end on August 2, 2021.

In addition to soliciting public comments, the Service held public hearings with information sessions on July 8, 2021, and July 14, 2021. Recordings of those hearings, along with frequently asked questions and additional information on the proposed rule can be found at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/LPC.html.

Public comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

(1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R2-ES-2021-0015-0001, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, click on the Search button. On the resulting page, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, check the Proposed Rule box to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment.”

(2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2021-0015, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: PRB/3W, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

We request that you send comments only by the methods described above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see Information Requested, below, for more information).

America’s fish, wildlife, and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. We’re working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. In the last 10 years, nearly 45 species were precluded from being listed, were downlisted, or were delisted completely in part due to the proactive conservation efforts of partners in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.

(Press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

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