As the old saying goes, it's time to stop talking the talk and time to walk the walk. The lesser prairie chicken has been declared an threatened species. That's final. The industry must take the pragmatic approach now and do its best to adapt to the ruling that gives us most of what we asked for while keeping the federal government involved. We were hopeful we'd have a chance to prove we are capable of self-regulation without any oversight from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. That probably was never possible.
It's boiled down to a difference with a distinction. The USFWS has adopted all the elements of the Range Wide Plan and the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances. In doing so, it made it plain the five states in the historic range will have the primary responsibility for the welfare of the lpc and its habitat. For us, that means being able to make our plan work by following the lead of Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies lesser prairie chicken task force. Yes, the federal government will be looking over WAFWA's shoulder as it moves forward, but it certainly better than us trying to look over the Fish and Wildlife Service's shoulder. Our control of the process is much stronger because we designed the controls.