Industry works to avoid listing of prairie grouse
Wind energy companies that expect to develop farms across the chickens' habitat began work on habitat conservation plans three years ago and hope to have one finalized in March, said John Anderson, director of siting policy for the American Wind Energy Association. He declined to share details of the plan.
"We really want to try to be as proactive as possible to show it's not necessary to go forward with the final listing," Anderson said.
The Environmental Defense Fund also is helping by setting up voluntary habitat exchanges with ranchers and farmers to create and maintain vital spaces for the chicken. Energy companies and other developers pay landowners to mitigate land use to meet their obligations to offset wildlife impacts.
Lesli Gray with the federal wildlife service in Dallas said the agency is encouraging all conservation planning to help the prairie chicken but would not say whether this would influence the agency's final decision, expected this fall. However, landowners and industry who have a wildlife management plan in place would avoid further restrictions if the lesser prairie chicken moves from candidate status to threatened.
"Those are all good things," she said. "We look forward to getting that information."
The third of four public hearings by the wildlife service is scheduled for Monday night in Lubbock. One in Roswell, N.M., is set for Tuesday.
Southern Great Plains Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool: http://kars.ku.edu/maps/sgpchat/
Federal Register: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-12-11/pdf/2012-29331.pdf
Business Photo Galleriesview all
- 21543Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 10852Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 8707Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
- 8666Finding Addyson – One family's struggle in the Moore tornado
- 8648Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
- 7837Blake Shelton's "Healing the Heartland" televised tornado benefit set for Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena
- 7718Story behind the photo: Family members describe desperate search for one another after EF5 twister