KARS Launches Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool Version 2

Published on August 6, 2013 by Jorgina A. Ross

Tags: Colorado, Conservation, Corridors, Grasslands, Great Plains, Habitat, Kansas, Lepc, Lesser prairie-chicken, Maximum entropy, Modeling, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Prairie, Texas, wga

Lesser prairie-chicken picture ©2010 Nicholas Richter. Used with permission. [source]

Lesser prairie-chicken picture ©2010 Nicholas Richter. Used with permission. [source]

In cooperation with the five state fish and wildlife agencies that fall within the range of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LEPC), and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), the KARS program has launched version 2.0 of the Southern Great Plains Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (SGP CHAT), which can be found here. The online map viewer hosts the SGP CHAT, which is the spatial representation of the LEPC range-wide conservation plan, and a tool that prioritizes conservation actions while assisting with the siting of industry development. Through the identification of a network of core LEPC habitat areas (Focal Areas) and corridors between them (Connectivity zones), the state fish and wildlife agencies of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas aim to conserve LEPC habitat while incentivizing energy development outside of high priority areas. In the coming weeks, tools, downloads and other features will be added to this website that will aid in guiding both conservation and industry actions. This is the second iteration of the SGP CHAT, with the first done in conjunction with the Western Governors Association’s Initiative on Wildlife Corridors and Crucial Habitat, more info on that project can be found here.

For more information please contact the WAFWA Grassland Coordinator Bill Van Pelt, BVanpelt@azgfd.gov or visit the team’s website at http://www.wafwa.org/html/prairie_chicken.shtml