After a court’s dismissal of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken’s 2014 threatened listing in 2015, and the filing of another petition for review, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken underwent a status review by USFWS. On June 1, 2021, FWS published a proposed rule, separating the species into 2 distinct populations, with the northern population (including the population in Kansas) being listed as threatened and the southern population being listed as endangered.
The proposed rule contains a favorable 4(d) rule for the northern population covering routine agricultural practices on existing cultivated lands, as well as the implementation of prescribed fire for the purposes of grassland management. The 4(d) rule does not provide similar take coverage for other grassland practices
We will monitor the Section 7 consultation process whereby incidental take coverage can be granted to landowners through their participation in approved practices supported by FSA (CRP) and NRCS (the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative).
Kansas Farm Bureau is working with the other impacted state Farm Bureaus (CO, NM, OK, TX), along with AFBF, to file a comment by the extended comment deadline of September 1, 2021.
More information about the Endangered Species Act can be viewed on the KFB Legal Foundation's resources page, including documents related to the Lesser Prairie Chicken, specifically. There is also an Ag Law Briefs webinar available, where staff from FWS explained aspects of the proposed listing, and answered questions for attendees about how the listing could impact the operations of Kansas farmers and ranchers.