Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool

Mapping Fish and Wildlife Across the West

Prairie chicken

Lesser Prairie Chicken

The lesser prairie-chicken (LEPC) is a species of prairie grouse that inhabits grasslands/shrublands within a range covering five states in the Southern Great Plains (Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas). The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies CHAT includes two data layers specific to the LEPC -- the Estimated Occupied Range (EOR) for the species and the Focal Areas/Connectivity Zones (FACZ) where LEPC habitat conservation actions will be emphasized to expand and sustain the species.

In 1995, the USFWS determined the LEPC to be “warranted but precluded” for listing under the Endangered Species Act. States with LEPC habitat have since led the way in conservation actions to preclude the need to list the species. One of the primary mechanisms for the states' collaboration has been through the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' (WAFWA) LEPC Interstate Working Group (IWG). The IWG has created a Range-Wide Plan which identifies management practices to conserve the species and its habitat, and includes the LEPC data layers shown here in the CHAT.

The Southern Great Plains CHAT (SGP CHAT) is, in many ways, the spatial representation of the Range-Wide Plan. The EOR and FACZ data layers are included in the management recommendations of the Range-Wide Plan as a means to identify core population areas and the corridors that link these areas. This information is meant to encourage development into areas where impacts to LEPC will be minimal or completely avoided, and to steer conservation programs to concentrate benefits in the most important areas for the species.

For more information, explore the Southern Great Plains CHAT (SGP CHAT) for additional information concerning the LEPC across its five-state range. Users can also access the latest LEPC news and the Range-Wide Plan for conserving the lesser prairie-chicken from the WAFWA LEPC website.