Colorado lesser prairie chicken now a threatened species
Federal wildlife officials have declared the boom-or-bust lesser prairie chicken a threatened species in Colorado, and endangered in states to the south, a goal of a long environmental campaign but a disappointment to farmers who fear new restrictions. … Wildlife scientists and advocates say the bird is a leading indicator of healthy continuous grassland and prairies, and the species once ranged across nearly 100 million acres in the Southwest with a population possibly in the millions. It’s now limited to a range of a few million acres broken up by row crops, overgrazing and oil and gas development, with aerial surveys putting the population at 32,000 across five states. … With a threatened designation, farmers and ranchers are able to continue most land uses but face new reviews on significant changes.