Lesser Prairie Chicken
The Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC), Tympanuchus pallidicinctus, is listed as a threatened species of the grouse family, is slightly smaller and paler than its near relative the Greater Prairie Chicken. The LPC is found primarily in the sandhills and prairies of Western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, the Llano Estacado of Texas and Eastern New Mexico. They are also rarely found in Southeastern Colorado and Western Kansas.
In Oklahoma, approximately 40% of LPC mortality is caused by fence collision. Raptors are also responsible for a great percentage of LPC mortality. Research has shown that LPC sense increased danger from raptor attacks and will avoid areas with overhead transmission lines, which are known to serve as raptor perches.
WAFWA Enrollment and Reporting
The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has developed and finalized The Lesser Prairie Chicken Range Wide Conservation Plan. Reagan Smith Energy Solutions assists operators in enrolling with WAFWA and complying with the oil and gas conservation measures.
If a Federal or Indian proposed well is located in a United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) designated LPC county, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is obligated to ensure that actions with federal oversight do not cause harm to any threatened or endangered species or cause species to become listed as threatened or endangered.
Lesser Prairie Chicken Habitat Assessment Surveys
For properties enrolled under the WAFWA Range Wide Conservation Plan a Habitat Assessment Survey will need to be performed in order to determine accurate mitigation fees. Typically WAFWA estimates mitigation fees prior to the actual Habitat Assessment. The Habitat Assessment in most cases lowers the actual mitigation fees. These surveys can be performed year round after construction. Reagan Smith Energy Solutions staff is WAFWA certified to evaluate your project area of disturbance and habitat quality. Please contact Monica Griffin to schedule firstname.lastname@example.org
Lesser Prairie Chicken Booming Ground and Aerial Surveys
If LEPC surveys of the proposed location of Impact Activities have not been conducted in accordance with the LEPC survey protocol (Appendix H of the RWP (October. 2013) within the previous 5 years, and the proposed location of Impact Activities is within the 2013 CHAT (categories 1-3), surveys may be necessary. Knowledge of lek presence is required for implementing avoidance measures. The Participant has the option of conducting surveys according to WAFWA protocols or allowing state or WAFWA affiliated personnel to conduct surveys of the site prior to commencement of Impact Activities. The Participant may also assume the location of Impact Activities is occupied with active leks without conducting a survey, proceed with the Impact Activities, and apply the related conservation measures until a survey is conducted.
Lesser Prairie Chicken Aerial Surveys
Lesser Prairie Chicken Aerial Surveys are recommended for large areas or areas that are difficult to access. Surveys take place from March 15th to May 7th. The LEPC aerial surveys take place between sunrise and 1.5 hours after sunrise. Reagan Smith Energy Solutions has six LEPC survey crews available. Final LEPC aerial survey reports will be submitted to the WAFWA and state fish and wildlife agency with maps, GIS files and reports. For more information, please contact Monica Griffin to schedule email@example.com
Lesser Prairie Chicken Booming Ground Surveys
Lesser Prairie Chicken Booming Ground Surveys can be performed in areas where there are gaps in the range wide surveys. These are recommended in areas of previously unimpacted acreage to be developed, where LPC surveys have not been conducted in the last five years, or where the proposed project is located within a focal area, connectivity zone or areas identified as high probability lek habitat based on the Conservation Habitat Assessment Tool. Each route is surveyed twice between March 15th to May 7th. The surveys take place between 30 minutes before sunrise and 1.5 hours after sunrise. Final survey reports will be submitted to the WAFWA and state fish and wildlife agency with maps, GIS files and reports. For more information, please contact Troy Zaikis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEPC Mitigation Measures
Fence markings are required under the Range Wide Conservation Plan within 1.25 miles of a lek and maybe required as a Condition of Approval for Federal projects along with other stipulations.
Reagan Smith Energy Solutions coordinates the fence marking with State and Federal agencies to ensure that the areas marked are beneficial to the LPC. After coordination Reagan Smith marks designated fence as well as the fence around the location. Once the fences have been marked, Reagan Smith schedules an inspection with the BLM Wildlife Biologist.