Since 2012, Jordan Menge has worked with landowners in the Texas Panhandle to help restore habitat for lesser prairie-chickens, as part of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative’s Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT). Now he has taken on a new role, as the SWAT Capacity Coordinator, overseeing SWAT field staff across the five-state LPCI action area.
Through LPCI, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) teams up with partner agencies and organizations to expand the field delivery, science, and communications capacity for lesser prairie-chicken conservation. Pooling resources, partner organizations fund SWAT range conservationists and wildlife biologists based in field offices in critical habitat areas in the Southern Plains states.
SWAT field staffers work with landowners who chose to participate in voluntary range conservation programs funded through the federal Farm Bill and through the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Plan.
Under contract with LPCI partner organization Pheasants Forever, Menge will help build LPCI’s SWAT program, aiming to have five SWAT field staffers in place by the end of 2017—one in each of the five states that are home to lesser prairie-chickens.
“Over time—hopefully in the next year or two—we can expand the SWAT program to 10 people,” Menge said.
Menge will work with NRCS and WAFWA biologists to train field staff. “New science is constantly informing conservation practices.” Menge said. “Training SWAT staff to incorporate the latest research findings related to lesser prairie-chicken ecology helps ensure that conservation dollars deliver the greatest return on investment.”
His role will help coordinate conservation efforts among partner organizations. “We’ll be pretty involved with WAFWA, carrying out vegetation monitoring and conservation planning.”
“I hope we can bring better communications through our partners to implement positive conservation on the ground for producers and for chickens,” Menge said.
Great to have you in your new role, Jordan!