The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) is now accepting applications through Feb. 28 from agricultural producers in lesser prairie chicken range willing to implement conservation practices to benefit the species, according to a WAFWA press release.
Practices include activities such as mechanical brush removal, prescribed grazing, and establishment and management of planted native grass stands, the press release said.
Only producers not currently enrolled in federal farm bill programs will be eligible to apply for five and 10-year contract options.
If the species is listed, any take (accidental killing of the bird or its habitat) that occurred while implementing prescribed practices would be exempt from the take prohibitions of the Endangered Species Act.
The amount of voluntary enrollment in the range-wide plan could weigh heavily into the final listing decision the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to announce by March 31, according to the press release.