Lesser Prairie Chicken potentially endangered

Friday the Panhandle Produces & Royalty Owners Association briefed its members and the public on the potential listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as an endangered species.

In November the US Fish and Wildlife Department announced that the Lesser Prairie Chicken is a candidate for being listed as an endangered species.

If that happens, it could end up costing the oil and gas industry a great deal of time and money.

The Panhandle Producers and Royalty Owners Association, along with Texas Parks and Wildlife have begun to implement an alternative solution.

"It's talking about taking money from the industry and the industry is interested in ensuring that they are protected from the take under the Endangered Species Act," said Sean Kyle Wildlife Diversity Biologist. "So if they impact the habitat the money flows through the system, out to the land owners to manage for an improved habitat for the Lesser Prairie Chicken."

Because the Lesser Prairie Chicken resides primarily on private land across 5 states, this is an issue that the PPROA believes should be advised by the land owners.

"That area is about 96 percent private lands, and the habitat for prairie chickens exist on private land and that means land owners are the primary managers for that property," said Kyle. "They're the people who know best how to manage their property."

The plan designates that the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies be permit holders, as laid out in the candidate conservation agreement. The key is to get oil and gas producers to sign up for it when they decide to drill on lands that are in the chicken's historic range.

"It's a consistent way for people in Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas to have the same views, the same conservations practices and the same mitigation considerations that exist in the other states," said Wayne Hughes PPROA Executive Vice President.

Before submitting the proposal the organizations need your help for a deadline extension. That extension deadline is March 11.

They need you to write your comments and concerns to the US Fish and Wildlife Services about why the Lesser Prairie Chicken should not be listed as endangered.

For more information on how to get involved click, here.