President Donald Trump recently released a directive freezing all regulatory activity by federal agencies. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will not extend a 90-day comment period on the status of the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act. This is despite the expected public release of a new species population survey from the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife agencies. That information will be critical to ongoing conservation efforts. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Tracy Brunner says the move denies stakeholders the chance to weigh in and places political pressure ahead of what’s best for the species. “The incoming administration put the freeze in place and we believe the Fish and Wildlife Service is violating the order to placate radical environmental groups bent on listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken,” Brunner said. The LPC Range-wide Conservation plan is already in place across a five-state area, with the goal of improving populations and decreasing threats to the Lesser Prairie Chicken. Because of the plan currently in place, the population saw a 25 percent improvement from 2014-2015. “The FWS needs to postpone action and consider the population report coming out and give stakeholders a chance to comment on it before they make a final listing decision,” Brunner said.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.