What’s the issue?
Scientists estimate that about a million lesser prairie-chickens once ranged across the Southern Great Plains. This landscape has changed greatly since settlement through conversion of native prairie to croplands, urban and energy development, unsustainable grazing, and suppression of naturally occurring fire, which have contributed to a dramatic decline in lesser prairie-chicken populations.
In 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lesser prairie-chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, scientific surveys estimated the range-wide population at just over 22,400 birds.
Why does it matter?
Without healthy prairie habitat, lesser prairie-chickens struggle to survive. So do the ranchers who make their living from that habitat.
When LPCI helps landowners improve rangelands for both lesser prairie-chickens and agricultural operations, a much wider circle benefits — from the countless plants and animals within the Southern Great Plains ecosystem to the rural communities that depend on that ecosystem and on the vibrant agricultural sector that it supports.
LPCI is about voluntary participation in conservation that makes a difference — for lesser prairie chickens, for agricultural producers, and for our national heritage.