Judge says no to Lesser Prairie-Chicken listing
An attempt to list the Lesser Prairie-Chicken by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as threatened under the Endangered Species Act has been invalidated because the agency didn’t consider conservation efforts of Texas landowners, a district court judge in Midland has ruled.
“Basically, the court said Fish & Wildlife didn’t analyze the impact of voluntary conservation efforts of landowners in protecting a valuable wildlife resource,” said Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) President Russell Boening. “This is an ongoing issue that the judge addressed. It’s a great victory for agriculture and private land owners.”
Listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as threatened was one step away from a listing of endangered, which would have severely threatened normal farming and ranching practices in the bird’s habitat.
Although not involved as a plaintiff in this case, Texas Farm Bureau is actively involved in another suit regarding the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. It has also actively worked with landowners in West Texas in developing conservation initiatives.
“The combination of replenishing rains and strategic habitat management practices by landowners, we believe, has boosted numbers of this bird,” Boening said. “This ruling serves as a warning that these efforts need to be considered before attempts for listing species as threatened or endangered are made.”