NB_290_19_3 - NB 290-19-3 INV – Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) Conservation Insight on “LPCI Practices Benefit Lesser Prairie-Chickens and Ranchers”
NB 290-19-3 INV – Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) Conservation Insight on “LPCI Practices Benefit Lesser Prairie-Chickens and Ranchers”
National Bulletin: 290-19-3 Date: January 31, 2019
Subject: INV – Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) Conservation Insight on “LPCI Practices Benefit Lesser Prairie-Chickens and Ranchers”


  
 
Purpose.  To announce the availability of a new CEAP-Wildlife Conservation Insight, “LPCI Practices Benefit Lesser Prairie-Chickens and Ranchers.”   
 
Expiration Date.  September 30, 2019
 
Background.  CEAP Conservation Insights are reports of studies that summarize CEAP findings and that have program implications. Conservation Insights are available on the CEAP website at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/technical/nra/ceap/.
 
Explanation.   Conservation practices emphasized under the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative (LPCI) are intended to benefit the lesser prairie-chicken (LPC)—a species of high conservation concern—as well as the land and livestock managed by ranchers and farmers in the southern Great Plains of North America. Launched by NRCS in 2010 and moved into the Working Lands for Wildlife Partnership in 2012, the LPCI emphasizes voluntary and incentive-based efforts to conserve LPC habitat while working with partners to improve the long-term sustainability of agricultural systems. As a result, the LPC has become a flagship species for demonstrating how to put ecosystem conservation into operation at scales that are relevant to the people, wildlife, and plants coupled to grassland ecosystems.

This CEAP-Wildlife Conservation Insight provides results of several studies showing that conservation practices applied through the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative (LPCI) are beneficial to LPCs, the land, and livestock in the Great Plains. Highlights from the studies include the following results:

• Even low levels of woodland encroachment into grasslands have negative consequences for LPC. Woody plant removal (mechanical, chemical, or fire) can improve habitat quality for LPC and other wildlife, and it can benefit livestock by improving forage and soil water availability.
• Ranchers using adaptive grazing management with combinations of decreased stocking densities, larger pastures, longer grazing periods, and targeted forage utilization can balance economic and conservation concerns.
• Managing livestock grazing on areas recovering from prescribed burns (known as “patch-burn” grazing) creates the diverse habitat structure and composition needed to support LPCs through different life stages and provides a more sustainable fuels management strategy than fire-only treatments.
• Targeted application of prescribed practices for LPCs provides the greatest initial conservation benefits and improves the likelihood of success in long-term conservation planning. Land managers who focus on woody plant removal, grazing management, and patch-burn grazing methods within LPC habitat can improve habitat quality, facilitate the persistence of LPC, and promote LPC movement into unoccupied habitats. Expansion of these practices into unoccupied grasslands improves the potential for LPC to successfully recolonize areas from which it was extirpated.  

 
Contact.  If you have questions, please contact Michael Carlo, acting CEAP-Wetlands component leader, at michael.carlo@wdc.usda.gov.
 
 

 /s/

SHARIF BRANHAM
Acting Deputy Chief for Soil Science and Resource Assessment

 
 
Attachment A - CEAP-Wildlife Conservation Insight
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