What’s LPCI about? In a nutshell — our mission is to keep lesser prairie-chickens booming through win-win conservation.
In 2010, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) launched the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative to help ranchers and farmers voluntarily enhance lesser prairie-chicken habitat while improving the long-term sustainability of their agricultural operations.
Though lesser prairie-chickens were once abundant across more than 180,000 square miles of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, their distribution has been reduced by more than 85%, largely due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Through LPCI, NRCS and its partners are taking a proactive and targeted approach to species conservation in the lesser prairie-chicken’s five-state range.
With 95% of lesser prairie-chicken habitat located on private lands, empowering landowners to improve rangelands is essential to conserving and expanding lesser prairie-chicken populations.
The LPCI partnership puts Farm Bill funds to work assisting landowners in priority habitat areas who volunteer to manage, enhance, and expand suitable lesser prairie-chicken habitat. These voluntary practices don’t just benefit prairie-chickens — they also promote the long-term sustainability of ranching operations.
Booming on the Leks
Springtime in the Southern Great Plains is booming time for lesser prairie-chickens. Males gather on leks—display grounds where they put on their best show to attract females to mate. During those displays, they inflate red air sacs on their necks, making burbling, bubbling, popping sounds called “booming.” Perhaps in the days when an estimated one million lesser prairie-chickens inhabited the Southern Great Plains, the collective sound of so many displaying males did, indeed, boom across the prairie.