Update April 13, 2023:

On April 11, 2023, the State of Kansas, joined Texas and Oklahoma in filing a lawsuit challenging the listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken. You can read the lawsuit here.


Update March 28, 2023:

The Lesser Prairie Chicken was officially listed under the ESA on March 27, 2023. The species is listed as "Threatened" in Kansas. FWS faces several challenges to the listing from newly filed lawsuits, to additional anticipated suits. Progressive Farmer provided a good summary of the status of the listing, along with existing and potential lawsuits, here.


Update January 23, 2023: 

[FWS]  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 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 (ESA). The Service is extending the effective date by 60 days, from Jan. 24, 2023, to March 27, 2023.

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.


In Kansas, part of the Northern Distinct Population Segment, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken will be listed as threatened, with some 4(d) rule exceptions. The decision is expected to be published in the Federal Register on November 25, and become final on January 24, 2023.

The 4(d) rule for the Northern DPS provides that farmers can continue their routine agriculture activities on existing cultivated lands. In addition, it includes an exception for those producers who are following a prescribed grazing plan developed by a qualified party that has been approved by the FWS. Lastly, the 4(d) rule also provides an exception for implementation of prescribed burning for grassland management.

Landowners can help conserve the bird by adopting certain management practices, or participating in conservation programs - many of which can help provide protection from take liability for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken.

More information about the listing decision can be found on the FWS website here.

{New} This AFBF Market Intel describes some of these possible implications of the listing, which could undermine years of voluntary conservation efforts by farmers and ranchers.

{New} K-State Research and Extension wildlife specialist Drew Ricketts explains what the November 2022 designation of the lesser prairie chicken as an endangered species means to western Kansas agriculture producers and landowners. Watch the video here

If members have questions about the listing, they can reach out to the KFB Legal Foundation.