The Fish and Wildlife Service is granting federal protections under the Endangered Species Act to the lesser prairie chicken, which farmers and ranchers have long sought to keep off the endangered species list.
Projects to conserve and restore grasslands are among the biggest beneficiaries of $197 million in grants awarded Friday under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which uses local contributions to maximize funding for each project.
The nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management, which manages about one of every 10 acres of surface lands in the U.S., will get a vote Thursday in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee after months of debate over her role in the spiking of trees on a national forest in 1989.
States in the West and the High Plains are currently facing what Brad Rippey, a USDA meteorologist in the Office of the Chief Economist, calls the “most expansive” drought the U.S. has seen since 2012 and 2013.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing federally protected status under the Endangered Species Act for two populations of the lesser prairie-chicken that occupy parts of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.