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Agreement Means Feds to Decide on Prairie Bird Designation

Posted/updated on: September 14, 2019 at 7:22 am
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DALLAS (AP) – A federal judge has approved an agreement that will require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make a recommendation by May 2021 whether the lesser prairie chicken should be federally protected as a threatened or endangered species. The agreement was reached Thursday between the federal agency and three conservations groups: the Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians. The groups sued the federal government in June to force it to make a designation for the lesser prairie chicken and its habitats. Once a designation is proposed, there will then be a public comment period followed by a final determination made later by Fish and Wildlife. The agency also could decide that no federal protections be provided for the bird. It was listed as threatened in 2014 but a federal court overturned the designation. The grouse roams parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, but the groups said fewer than 38,000 remain.


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