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prairie chicken twildlife/gettyimags
COUNTING POPULATION: Aerial surveys now under way will document the population trends of the lesser prairie chicken and how it is responding to management strategies.

Aerial surveys of lesser prairie chicken populations underway

Lesser prairie chicken habitat is being surveyed in five states, including Kansas.

It may seem like it’s been a while since you last heard about the crisis of the lesser prairie chicken. It really hasn’t been that long and the fate of the popular bird is still of concern to a lot of people as evidenced by the fact that aerial surveys began March 15 and will run through mid-May in five states containing lesser prairie-chicken habitat. The surveys are conducted annually by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to document population trends and how the bird is responding to management strategies identified in the Lesser Prairie Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan.

The range-wide plan is a collaborative effort of WAFWA and the state wildlife agencies of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. It was developed to ensure conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken with voluntary cooperation of landowners and industry. The plan allows agriculture producers and industry to continue operations while reducing impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat.

“This survey provides the data for annual estimates of the lesser prairie chicken population across the five states,” says Roger Wolfe, WAFWA’s lesser prairie chicken program manager. “These population estimates are critical in helping us guide decisions related to conservation efforts targeting lesser prairie-chickens and their habitat.”

The surveys will be conducted by helicopter in locations chosen randomly within lesser prairie chicken range, which is part of the methodology strategy. In previous years, some of the fly paths prompted calls, which is why WAFWA is providing notification about the start of aerial survey work.

Preliminary results from this year’s surveys will be available on July 1.

WAFWA news releases are available at wafwa.org/news.

Since 1922, WAFWA has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40% of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

Source: Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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