Category Archives: LPCI Press Releases

New Flyer Links Range Health and Productivity, LPCI Assistance

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-9-25-34-amHealthy range is productive range. That’s the simple message in our latest outreach flyer for private landowners in the southern Great Plains. When landowners adopt habitat conservation practices that benefit lesser prairie-chickens, the land responds in ways that benefit wildlife and ranch operations. And through the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative, there’s both technical and financial assistance available to make that happen.

View the flyer

The flyer describes five core conservation practices supported by LPCI that improve the range for both screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-9-25-51-amwildlife and cattle: Prescribed grazing, drought contingency planning, conversion of expired
Conservation Reserve Program acreage to grazing, woody plant removal, and prescribed fire.

Getting that message to landowners in the LPCI action area is critical. Take a look at the flyer, and share it!

 

 

 

 

 

Landowners Offer Ideas for Improving Habitat Conservation Assistance

In May 2016, 26 private landowners from across the country met in Denver, Colorado, to talk with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff about what is working in the Working Lands for Wildlife partnership and what opportunities exist for improvement. Their insights are captured in a recently released report, National Landowner Forum: Perspectives and Recommendations.

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 8.31.01 AMJointly coordinated by Partners for Conservation and NRCS, and including funding support from the Intermountain West Joint Venture, the 2-day meeting provided a forum to share stories of both successes and challenges in carrying out the vision of WLFW conservation assistance.

The participants had five primary recommendations for expanding and improving Working Lands for Wildlife:

  • Demonstrate need and build support for increased conservation technical assistance.
  • Promote effective communication with landowners, NRCS staff members, and partners regarding Working Lands for Wildlife.
  • Work on tools and techniques beyond communications that will help build relationships and partnerships at the local and regional levels.
  • Develop the concept of flexibility in programs, practices, relationships, and partnerships in order to advance Working Lands for Wildlife as an approach.
  • Help partners to identify the overall plan and vision for a landscape or focal species that will motivate participation and foster greater accountability.

The report notes that an overwhelming message that resonated throughout the forum was the importance of effective communication. As one of the initiatives within the Working Lands for Wildlife programs, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative is taking these recommendations to heart.

Over the coming months, we’ll be working on expanding communications with field staff, landowners, and partnering organizations to fine-tune our message and increase participation in the voluntary habitat conservation practices that make a real difference for both lesser prairie-chickens and agricultural producers. As always, we welcome any feedback you may have.

 

 

Fire Helps Kansas Rancher Restore Redcedar-infested Grasslands

“When I was a kid growing up out here, there were no cedars. Dad would have to hunt like a dog for a cedar for a Christmas tree.” Tom Carr stands on a bluff overlooking the rolling grasslands of his thousand-acre ranch in the Gyp Hills of south-central Kansas, relishing the view. From this vantage point, it’s clear that you’d have to hunt like a dog once again to find a redcedar Christmas tree—a live one anyway—and that fact makes Tom grin from ear to ear.

Tom Carr (left) surveys the recovery of his ranch grasslands following the Anderson Creek wildfire, June 6, 2016.

Tom Carr (left) admires the recovery of his ranch grasslands ten weeks after the Anderson Creek wildfire with LPCI field staff member Ken Brunson (photo Sandra Murphy).

Though Tom was born and raised here, he spent his career as a professor at the University of Illinois. During that time, redcedars steadily spread across the ranch’s grasslands, as they have across much of this region in the absence of regularly occurring fire.

By 2004, Tom says, the cedars were everywhere. “My brother and I wanted to get it back to how we remembered it as kids, with hardly any cedars and grass to our waists.”

Tom remembers the abundant wildlife on the ranch at that time. “We had quail on quail,” he recalls. “We could pop up four covies in a half-hour.” All that disappeared, Tom says, when the redcedars took over.

Local ranchers Ted Alexander and Charles DeGeer told him about grant programs available for redcedar removal. “We’ve benefited a great deal from these government programs,” Tom says. With financial assistance, he was able to hire cutting teams to start to get a handle on the infestation.

Between 2005 and 2010, they cut cedars on about half the ranch’s grasslands. Despite the cutting, Tom says, cedars continued to spread because he hadn’t yet been able to conduct a prescribed burn.

He figured the burn would happen after he retired in 2010, when he and his wife Jo moved back to the Gyp Hills. But drought conditions set in and put the prescribed burn on hold.

In 2012 and 2013, Tom didn’t rent out the ranchlands for grazing as he usually does, to allow grass fuel to build up. Finally, in 2014, he was able to conduct his first prescribed burn on the ranch, as a member of the Gyp Hills Prescribed Burn Association. Over the course of two prescribed fires, he burned most of his grasslands.

Even so, many redcedars escaped unscathed. Determined to continue the grassland restoration process, he hired local rancher Keith Yearout in early 2016 to cut more redcedars in his west pasture.

Then, on the afternoon of March 23, 2016, the game-changing Anderson Creek Wildfire hit his ranch. “All hell broke loose,” Tom recalls. “It was an unbelievable day.” Stoked by high winds, low humidity, and highly flammable redcedars, the wildfire, which began a day earlier in northern Oklahoma, began to steamroll north.

Dense redcedar stands fuel the Anderson Creek wildfire, March 23, 2013 (Photo Dustin Carr).

“I had no idea there was a wildfire going on,” Tom says, recalling that day. “Then I got on Facebook and saw a post about a wildfire on the Comanche/Barber County line, four miles from my ranch.”

Tom and his son went to the ranch and pulled whatever farm equipment they could into his 120-acre tilled field. They watched the fire move onto their ranch from the west. Tom had just enough time to water around their equipment shed before the fire reached them, forcing them to retreat into the tilled field.

“It’s an interesting feeling to be completely surrounded by fire and flame,” Tom recalls with a grin. “We had 76 bales of hay pulled into the field, and they burned right up.”

The Anderson Creek wildfire races across Tom Carr’s ranch, while Tom and Dustin Carr take refuge in a tilled field. The 76 round hay bales shown in the video burned in the blaze, but the outbuilding survived (Video: Dustin Carr).

The fire burned so hot, it left nothing but bare, charred ground in its wake. “It was nothing like a prescribed burn,” Tom says. “It looked like an atomic bomb went off.”

Tom surveys the fire aftermath, which burned across his entire ranch.

Tom surveys the fire aftermath, which burned across his entire ranch (photo Dustin Carr).

The fire not only burned the ranch’s entire 880 acres of grasslands and scattered cedars, it also killed dense cedar stands on neighboring lands that would have remained a potent seed source for reinfestation.

“I was excited that so many redcedars were burning,” Tom says. He’s quick to preface his enthusiasm with empathy for the many losses experienced by people throughout the nearly 400,000-acre wildfire area. Some 600 cattle died in the fire, and several houses and outbuildings burned, along with many miles of fencing.

As current president of the Gyp Hills PBA, though, Tom is a big advocate for prescribed fire as a range management tool. “I hope the [wild]fire has convinced some people who weren’t sold on prescribed fire,” he says, since prescribed fire delivers the benefits of grassland rejuvenation and cedar control, but does so under carefully controlled conditions.

From Tom’s ranch, the rejuvenating power of fire is apparent as far as the eye can see. Beneath the blackened carcasses of thousands of redcedars and across wide-open fields, lush grasses and wildflowers—neon green in their vigor—cover what had been moonscape just 10 weeks earlier.

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By early June, grasses and wildflowers were flourishing on the ranch (photo Sandra Murphy).

“We had 18 prescribed burns lined up [within the Gyp Hills PBA],” Tom says with obvious satisfaction. “The fire took care of 14 of them!”

Tom’s equipment building survived the blaze, but he lost a lot of fence. Following the fire, he was amazed by and deeply grateful for the flood of volunteer labor and donated materials that helped with fence rebuilding.

The vigorous regrowth of grasses and forbs on his ranch allowed Tom to pasture cattle on his range in mid-June. He currently follows a prescribed grazing plan developed through the NRCS-led Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative (LPCI). Though his land doesn’t currently support prairie-chickens, it qualified for the LPCI assistance program because of its location in a targeted priority area within active lesser prairie-chicken range.

The plan identifies a stocking rate that aims for a “take half, leave half” forage utilization, which builds grassland health and drought resiliency. “And that’s great for the lesser prairie-chicken!” Tom says with a grin.

IMG_3392 copy

Catclaw sensitive briar, an indicator of healthy grasslands, was one of many wildflower species brightening the range just two months after the wildfire (photo Sandra Murphy).

It’s also good for myriad other grassland species, including the quail he and his brother hope to see restored. He’s excited about the future of his ranchlands, especially in the wake of the wildfire.

“The fire killed millions of cedars, and the land is changing for the good,” Tom says, sweeping his arm across the prairie expanse. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Learn more about LPCI’s technical and financial assistance opportunities for conservation planning, conducting prescribed burns, implementing prescribed grazing plans, and more by contacting your local NRCS office.

USDA Unveils Three-Year Conservation Strategy for Lesser Prairie-Chicken

WILMORE, Kansas, April 28, 2015USDA today announced the release of a three-year conservation strategy that will guide the voluntary restoration of 500,000 acres of habitat for the lesser prairie-chicken, an iconic grassland bird of the southern Great Plains. The bird has historically suffered from population declines, and this strategy is part of an ongoing science-based strategic effort by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to restore grassland and prairie ecosystems while enhancing grazing lands in five states.

LPCIFY16-18ConservationStrategyCover“Across the country, we’re seeing firsthand how farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are voluntarily stepping forward to aid wildlife species,” NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. “By adopting conservation systems, agricultural producers in the southern Great Plains can restore top-notch lesser prairie-chicken habitat while also making working lands more productive and resilient to wildfire and climatic extremes.”

NRCS Assistant Chief Kirk Hanlin made the announcement today at Hashknife Ranch where the Koger family has worked to conserve habitat through the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative (LPCI), part of the agency’s Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) partnership. Since 2010, LPCI has conserved more than 1 million acres of high-quality habitat in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico and Colorado.

By the end of 2018, this science-based strategy will guide the restoration of another half-million acres by focusing on five key threats to the bird—degraded rangeland health, invasive redcedar trees and mesquite, cultivation of grazing lands and lack of fire in grassland habitats.

Download the Strategy.

Conservation efforts on the Hashknife Ranch (above) and on other private agricultural lands throughout the lesser prairie-chicken range make working rangelands more productive and resilient to wildfire and climatic extremes.

Conservation efforts on the Hashknife Ranch (above) and on other private agricultural lands throughout the lesser prairie-chicken range make working rangelands more productive and resilient to wildfire and climatic extremes.

This strategy also aligns with ongoing efforts of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and other conservation partners throughout the lesser prairie-chicken range.

 

Research and experience gained through ongoing conservation efforts guide the focus for restoring and protecting lesser prairie-chicken habitat. For example, a recent study found the birds avoid redcedar trees by placing their nests at least 1,000 feet from the nearest tree, and that they stop using grasslands altogether when tree density reaches three trees per acre.

The prairie and grassland ecosystems of the southern Great Plains evolved through the interaction of fire and grazing large animals such as bison. By introducing fire and sustainable ranching practices and removing invasive woody species, ranchers are mimicking historic conditions on Great Plains ecosystems and improving habitat for lesser prairie-chickens while at the same time minimizing risks of catastrophic wildfires.

With about 95 percent of the lesser prairie-chicken’s range under private ownership, voluntary conservation is key to benefitting the species and its habitat. The bird is no longer listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act after a court vacated the March 2014 designation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

Lesser prairie-chicken male displays on a lek (display ground) in eastern New Mexico that burned just a few days earlier.

Lesser prairie-chicken male displays on a lek (display ground) in eastern New Mexico that burned just a few days earlier.

“NRCS remains firmly committed to promoting and delivering long-term conservation of the working grassland ecosystems that the species requires,” Weller said. “In this report, we lay out our renewed commitment to this partnership through 2018, the life of the Farm Bill, and demonstrate the effectiveness these investments can have in bringing back lesser prairie-chicken populations while improving agricultural operations.”

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to ranchers who want to adopt conservation systems that address threats to and conserve lesser prairie-chicken habitat. To learn more about assistance opportunities, ranchers should contact their local USDA service center.

Habitat restoration efforts on private lands are helping species recover across the country. Earlier this year, the FWS delisted the Louisiana black bear because of the species’ recovery on bottomland hardwood forests restored by Louisiana landowners. In 2015, the FWS determined listings were not needed for the greater sage-grouse, Bi-State sage-grouse and New England cottontail largely because of large-scale collaborative conservation efforts on private lands.

LPCI seeks qualified vendors for filmmaking project

Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative partner organization Pheasants Forever, Inc. seeks proposals from qualified vendors to create a multi-media outreach package including 1) 3 short films, 2) a photographic collection, and 3) a media-ready archive of b-roll footage in the South Great Plains area.

Download the Request for Proposals for full specifications.

All inquiries regarding quote submission are due by May 5th and may be directed to Sandra Murphy at 928-255-3111 or sandra.murphy@lpcinitiative.org. This work is supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 68-3A75-14-120.

 

New Study Measures Fire Impacts on Wildlife, Livestock in NM

When members of the Bureau of Land Management’s Pecos District fire team put on their fire gear, it’s almost always to fight a fire. In early March, though, they were starting fires, and they did a picture-perfect job of it.

“This region used to see fire on a six- to ten-year cycle,” said Scott Carleton, an ecologist with the United States Geological Survey’s New Mexico Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit at New Mexico State University (NMSU). “This is a fire-adapted community, with a species assemblage that evolved with fire.”

Member of the fire team lights a backburn on the BLM Sand Ranch ACEC (photo courtesy Scott Carleton).

Member of the fire team lights a backburn on the BLM Sand Ranch ACEC (photo courtesy Scott Carleton).

Carleton is part of a research effort to assess the effects of prescribed fire on lesser prairie-chickens at Sand Ranch, a 58,600-acre federally owned parcel 35 miles east of Roswell managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Sand Ranch is specifically managed as habitat for the lesser prairie-chicken, a species of grouse whose range and population numbers have declined dramatically as a result of many factors, including row-crop agriculture and fire suppression. In 2015, their total range-wide numbers were estimated at 29,000.

Sand Ranch is the only parcel within the lesser prairie-chicken’s five-state range that meets the US Fish and Wildlife Service criteria for a habitat “stronghold” for this uncommon grouse of the Southern Great Plains. A stronghold provides long-term protection to at least 25,000 acres of high-quality habitat for lesser prairie-chickens.

Before settlement, regularly occurring fires and periodic, intensive grazing by large herbivores shaped the Great Plains. BLM wildlife biologist Randy Howard notes that the prescribed fire treatment is part of a carefully planned effort to reintroduce these historic disturbance patterns on Sand Ranch.

“We’ve got this big chunk of real estate set aside for [lesser prairie] chickens,” Howard explained. “Instead of just throwing fire and grazing at it, we’re doing it carefully, and hoping that, as a result, we’re going to know the management path forward that’s best for the chicken.”

On March 4, they took a big first step, carrying out the first-ever prescribed burn on the parcel. The BLM fire team burned two management units totaling 3,100 acres. The results were exactly what Carleton and Howard had hoped for.

The prescribed fire snaked through the prairie, burning some areas, leaving other areas untouched or very lightly burned.

The prescribed fire snaked through the prairie, burning some areas, leaving other areas untouched or very lightly burned.

“We got a beautiful mosaic burn,” said Carleton. “I couldn’t have asked for better. The fire snaked through the prairie, with areas that didn’t burn and areas that did. We had chickens out foraging in it, right after the burn, and within two weeks we had a lek move from an adjoining unburned area to the recently burned area.”

Over the next three years, the BLM plans to burn the rest of the central part of the ranch, which is bracketed by roads that serve as fire breaks. By burning portions of the ranch each year, they’ll help create the varied habitat structure that lesser prairie-chickens need throughout the year.

During mating season lesser prairie-chickens gather on leks, also called booming grounds, where males display and spar as they vie to mate with females. Leks generally form at sites with low vegetation, where males are most visible to one another and to females. For nesting, the females seek out the shelter of sites with taller, denser grasses and low prairie shrubs. When chicks hatch, females guide them to less dense vegetation, where the chicks can forage more easily but still have good hiding cover. Burning small portions of the ranch each year will help create this habitat mosaic.

A male lesser prairie-chicken displays at the BLM Sand Ranch prescribed burn site just a few days after the fire.

A male lesser prairie-chicken displays at the BLM Sand Ranch prescribed burn site just a few days after the fire.

The lesser prairie-chicken is what’s referred to as an umbrella species. Because the prairie chickens need large tracts of healthy prairie habitat to survive and reproduce, conserving habitat for them benefits many other prairie species as well.

During the prescribed burn, Carleton said, they watched Cooper’s and Swainson’s hawks circling at the head of the fire, hunting for small animals. Since then, they’ve seen plenty of wildlife on the burned acreage, including pronghorn and scaled quail.

Historically, fire and grazing acted in tandem to shape the prairie. Fire fingered across the grasslands, and the burned grasses resprouted vigorously in its wake. The fresh growth attracted herds of bison. Their grazing kept the fuel load low, ensuring that the next fire would burn the older, denser growth. And so the cycle went.

The BLM management study on Sand Ranch is carefully planned to fully explore how fire, grazing, and prairie habitat interact. Carleton describes how the six-year study will build from what he and his graduate students have already learned about Sand Ranch from studies over the past three years. “We know where they’re nesting, where they’re moving their broods, and where they are the rest of the year,” he says.

“Now we’re going to study how the birds’ movements change in response to fire,” Carleton continued. “At the end of three years, we’ll begin to implement grazing, but we’ll start with fire alone, so we can tease out the effects of each management practice.”

Howard notes that the research team will also assess whether increased grassland vigor from fire affects the quantity and quality of forage for livestock.

“If we do find that prescribed fire is beneficial to chickens,” Howard said, “we have to figure out a way to make it work for ranchers. We need to know, do the cows benefit?”

Cattle graze on recently burned prairie grassland in Kansas (photo: Jeremy Roberts, Conservation Media).

Cattle graze on recently burned prairie grassland in Kansas (photo: Jeremy Roberts, Conservation Media).

With 95 percent of the lesser prairie-chicken’s range on private land, conservation efforts hinge on engaging private landowners in habitat conservation practices that also improve ranch sustainability.

Studies over the past 50 years on the effects of fire on livestock forage in other parts of the country have shown that prescribed fire improves the palatability, nutritive value, and abundance of herbaceous plants and results in greater cow and calf weight gains. The Sand Ranch study will put that question to the test on New Mexico’s grasslands.

The BLM and NMSU are two of more than 25 organizations collaborating in a range-wide conservation partnership led by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, known as the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative (LPCI).

LPCI provides financial and technical assistance to help private landowners voluntarily improve lesser prairie-chicken habitat. Working through Pheasants Forever, another partner organization, LPCI is helping to fund the six-year study, along with the BLM, USFWS, and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

“This study will help us quantify the impact of fire and grazing on lesser prairie-chickens in the shinnery-oak ecoregion,” said LPCI Science Advisor Christian Hagen. “What’s more, it will serve as a model for applying prescribed burns to private land, in a region where it’s not an established part of the range management toolbox.”

First in Conservation Strategies Series highlights Redcedar Removal

What range conservation strategies can landowners put in place with Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative assistance to benefit lesser prairie-chickens and their ranch operations? The first fact sheet in LPCI’s new Conservation Strategies Series introduces landowners to a key strategy for prairie habitat conservation—eastern redcedar removal.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 8.23.25 AMRead the LCPI Conservation Strategies Series factsheet—Woody Plant Removal: Eastern Redcedar

The conservation strategy fact sheet incorporates the latest scientific data on eastern redcedar encroachment in lesser prairie-chicken habitat, described in LPCI’s newly release Science to Solutions report.

The two-page fact sheet highlights the problem of redcedar encroachment, the benefits of controlling it, the most efficient and effective means of controlling it, and how to get started with LPCI assistance.

Over the coming months LPCI will be adding fact sheets to our Conservation Strategies Series. Stay tuned!

 

SCIENCE TO SOLUTIONS: Redcedar Removal Restores Lesser Prairie-Chicken Habitat

The science is in! A new study by researchers from Kansas State University and US Geological Survey resoundingly confirms that redcedar encroachment on the Southern Great Plains greatly impacts lesser prairie-chickens.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 9.56.18 AMRead our Science to Solutions report about the study and the LPCI management recommendations the study informs.

Using GPS transmitters, researchers tracked the movements of 58 female lesser prairie-chickens  for two years on 35,000 acres of private land in south-central Kansas. They measured the response of the prairie-chickens to trees 3 feet or taller, 80% of which were eastern redcedars. Three key findings emerged:

  • Female lesser prairie-chickens did not nest in grasslands with more than 1 tree per acre.
  • They avoided trees by about 1000 feet on average when selecting habitat and nest sites.
  • They stopped using grasslands altogether when tree density reached 3 trees/acre.

LEPCs in the study area were forty times more likely to use habitats with tree densities of 0 trees/acre than habitats with 2 trees/acre. The findings make it clear that removing redcedar, even when present at very low densities, is critical to LEPC conservation.

The Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative (LPCI) uses science to develop management practices that will most efficiently and effectively improve habitat for lesser prairie-chickens, delivering the greatest return on investment.

In response to this latest study, LPCI has released its first Science to Solutions paper, “Redcedar Removal Restores LEPC Habitat,” identifying conservation practices aligned with these scientific findings. The recommendations center on three key strategies:

  • Focus on stands with low-density redcedar encroachment, giving priority to sites within LEPC focal areas and connectivity zones, and sites already occupied by LEPC or adjacent to occupied sites.
  • Use mechanical cutting or prescribed fire to remove all redcedar trees on treated acres.
  • Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore open grasslands. Regular use of prescribed fire is a cost-effective way to prevent woody encroachment on grasslands.

Read the full Science to Solutions paper for details!

New Book Presents Current Knowledge of Lesser Prairie-Chickens

“The opportunity is before us to make a different future, and untested approaches are in motion. Is it enough of the right actions in the right places to maintain and recover this icon of the Southern Great Plains? The final outcome hinges on our collective will to restore the prairie and the dynamic disturbances that maintain it.”        from Ecology and Conservation of Lesser Prairie-Chickens (2016)

It’s here! The much-anticipated Ecology and Conservation of Lesser Prairie-Chickens has just been released by CRC Press. Edited by Dr. David Haukos and Dr. Clint Boal, the 376-page book synthesizes the current body of knowledge on lesser prairie-chickens, creating an invaluable resource to guide future research, management, and conservation efforts.

9781482240221“This book is the first comprehensive assessment of not only the species status, but also the opportunities and challenges to conserving it,” says LPCI Science Advisor Christian Hagen, who coauthored three chapters.

Hagen is one of thirty-one contributors to the book. Collectively they provide a detailed picture of the species and the complexities surrounding its conservation.

The book’s seventeen chapters explore the history of ecosystem degradation and loss of habitat that contributed to the lesser prairie-chicken’s current situation, its legal status, life cycle, population dynamics, and habitat needs, as well as such emerging issues at the impacts of disease, energy development and climate change.

The final section of the book focuses on conservation and management in each of the four ecoregions the lesser prairie-chicken inhabits in the Southern Great Plains.

Hagen and Dwayne Elmore coauthored the book’s concluding chapter. They note that, with more than 95% of the lesser prairie-chicken habitat in private ownership, conservation hinges on voluntary actions by private individuals.

“The next step in Lesser Prairie-Chicken conservation is a social experiment in which we will endeavor to educate, encourage, and fund landowners to maintain or improve their operations to benefit habitat conditions, quality of life, and ultimately conditions on the landscape for the species,” they write.

For more information about content and coauthors, and to order the book, visit CRC Press.

LPCI Outreach Materials Offer Conservation Toolkit

What’s the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative (LPCI) all about? How do farmers and ranchers benefit from taking part in voluntary LPCI conservation practices? How do they get started? Throughout 2015, LPCI produced a range of outreach materials for landowners, resource managers, and the general public, answering these questions and many more.

LPCI resource collage

LPCI’s new one-page Resources Toolkit offers links to all of the Initiative’s main publications, website and social media, videos, photo gallery, and more.

The NRCS-led LPCI partnership has created a one-page LPCI Resources Toolkit, which compiles these information sources and offers direct links to each, including the following:

The LPCI website, www.lpcinitiative.org, is the go-to source for information on lesser prairie-chickens and the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative. It offers links to all LPCI news stories, publications, photo and video galleries, reports, and fact sheets. Social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channel, provide regular updates on LPCI.

LPCI’s publications include the new, 21-page Conservation Across the Range  report, which highlights the Initiative’s habitat conservation strategies and some of the many landowners who put those strategies in place on the range. The LPCI Introductory brochure gives a brief overview of the Initiative, and the Conservation Assistance Programs brochure helps landowners compare key assistance programs available in lesser prairie-chicken country.

LPCI released three short videos in 2015, which introduce LPCI and highlight two of its key conservation strategies—prescribed fire and conversion of expired CRP grasslands to grazing lands. They can be viewed on the LPCI YouTube channel and in the LPCI website video gallery.

LPCIvideos

LPCI produced three short videos in 2015 to introduce the Initiative and highlight two key conservation strategy for which LPCI provides technical and financial assistance.

The LPCI website photo gallery offers images of lesser prairie-chickens, their habitat, range conservation strategies, participating ranchers, and researchers, available for non-commercial purposes.

Download the LPCI Resources Toolkit.

Visit the LPCI Resources page.