Conservation Status

Andrew Stetter photo courtesy of David Haukos

In July, 2016, the lesser prairie-chicken was removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), a “threatened” listing indicates that the species “is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” In March, 2014, after reviewing public comments and the best available science, the USFWS determined that the lesser prairie-chicken met the definition of a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Recognizing the unprecedented partnership efforts and leadership of the five range states, the USFWS included a 4(d) special rule for the species in its determination.

This 4(d) rule retains more state responsibility for managing the lesser prairie-chicken than has ever been retained with respect to any other ESA-protected species. It provides regulatory certainty for landowners and businesses enrolled in the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan and the USDA’s Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative (LPCI).The USFWS listing of the lesser prairie chicken as threatened was finalized in May, 2014.

In July, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service fulfilled a court ruling that had vacated its Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decision, officially removing the lesser prairie-chicken from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

Read more about the USFWS listing [PDF] and the delisting in July 2016.