The Lesser Prairie Chicken has been a thriving neighbor to U.S. military bases and energy industry operations across the Southwest. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week acknowledged the success of conservation efforts and the birds’ tenacity, deciding to not pursue relisting it as a threatened species.
“This has long been an effort by Members of Congress from Oklahoma. I’m glad the USFWS has received the message,” said Congressman Jim Bridenstine. Bridenstine led the effort last week amending (archived link) the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act to prevent re-listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken for five years. In that debate he said, “With my amendment to the NDAA, we can ensure the various state and private conservation plans have time to work. Re-listing the LPC would impact military readiness by impeding operations and expansions at the seven military bases within the species’ historic range.”
Congressman Bridenstine applauded Senator Inhofe for this success, “Special credit is due to Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe for leading the charge over many years to allow states and local stakeholders to conserve the LPC without interference from Washington D.C.”
The lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), a species in the grouse family, is slightly smaller and paler than its near relative the Greater Prairie Chicken. About half of its current population lives in western Kansas, with the other half in the sandhills and prairies of western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle including the Llano Estacado, eastern New Mexico, and southeastern Colorado. (source for definition and photo is wikipedia)
CD01 Staff for Bridenstine
Congressman Jim Bridenstine was elected in 2012 to represent Oklahoma’s First District, which covers Washington, Tulsa, Wagoner Counties plus portions of Rogers & Creek Counties. Bridenstine serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. In 2018 he was confirmed as NASA Administrator. To see more of his articles via OKGrassroots while in Congress formerly via Bridenstine.house.gov