LPC Territory

As we quickly approach the holiday season, the office here in Roswell has shifted into holiday-mode, complete with holiday luncheons, cookie exchanges and food drives.  Overall, the office is feeling quite cheery.  Unfortunately, that is not the case for some other people in the area.  This is the because last Friday, November 30th, the US Fish and Wildlife Service began the process to consider listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. 

The LPC range extends from eastern New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.  Due mostly to habitat destruction, the LPC range has significantly decreased from historic levels. The LPC’s habitat is being taken over mostly by oil/gas exploration, cattle ranches and other forms of energy harvesting.  The listing of the LPC is upsetting to many people in these areas because there is a huge amount of the population that rely on these industries as a lively-hood.  If the chicken does get listed, it will mean even stricter regulations on these industries, potentially shutting some of them down, and thus terminating jobs. 

Some people I’ve spoken with about the topic think it is purely politics. Politics aside, the fact is that the Lesser Prairie Chicken has significantly decreased since mass amounts of people have come into its’ territory.  We need to do everything we can to rebound from this and get the LPC back to a sustainable population. 

Since this has all just occurred in the last few days, it will be interesting to see what will happen in the office.  The LPC has already been on the radar for rare species and is often talked about as is.  The US Fish & Wildlife Service will hold a public meeting in February to discuss the topic.  If I’m still in the area, I think that will be an interesting event to attend.

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