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Lesser Prairie Chicken Aerial Surveys to Document Population Trends

BOISE, Idaho – Aerial surveys will be begin March 16 and continue through mid-May in five states containing lesser prairie chicken habitat, including Kansas. The surveys are conducted annually by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) to document population trends and the species’ response to management strategies identified in the Lesser Prairie Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan.

“This survey is critical to provide annual estimates of the lesser prairie chicken population across the five states,” explained Roger Wolfe, WAFWA’s Lesser Prairie-chicken Program manager. “These population estimates help guide decisions related to conservation efforts targeting lesser prairie chickens and their habitat.”

The range-wide plan is a collaborative effort of WAFWA and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, as well as state wildlife agencies in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado. It was developed to ensure the conservation of the lesser prairie chicken with voluntary cooperation of landowners and industry, and allows agricultural producers and industry to continue operations while reducing impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat.

The surveys will be conducted by helicopter in locations chosen at random within lesser prairie chicken range. Preliminary results from the 2018 surveys will be available beginning July 1.

To view the Lesser Prairie Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan, visit www.wafwa.org and click “Initiatives,” “Grasslands,” then “Lesser Prairie Chicken.”