Conservation Planning

Amy Erickson photo

Planning is the first and most important step in range conservation.

Farm Bill wildlife biologist Megan Waechter weighs grass clippings by species to assess the site's composition of native grass and forb species.

Farm Bill wildlife biologist Megan Waechter weighs grass clippings by species to assess the site’s composition of native grass and forb species.

When a rancher with land in the LPCI Action Area chooses to enroll land with the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative, our first step is to carefully assess the rangeland and use those findings to develop a conservation plan for the enrolled acreage. LPCI field biologists and range management specialists carefully inventory and evaluate the prairie habitat to assess its current health and its capacity to support both livestock and wildlife.

The LPCI field team then uses this information to develop a prescribed grazing plan that improves habitat for lesser prairie-chickens and meets the producer’s long-range goals while maintaining a sustainable grazing resource. Critical to this plan are drought management strategies that protect the habitat against the recurring droughts of the southern Great Plains. Supporting practices such as woody plant removal, water development, and prescribed fire may also be part of the conservation plan.