The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is seeking additional protections for the lesser prairie-chicken, a ground-foraging grouse that inhabits large swaths of the Lower 48 oil patch and whose numbers are dwindling.

lesser chicken

Through a draft rule published Tuesday (June 1), USFWS is proposing to list two distinct population segments (DPS) of the lesser prairie-chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The lesser prairie-chicken currently occupies a five-state range including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.

The species faces numerous threats including modification, degradation and fragmentation of its habitat, in part because of oil and gas activity, USFWS said.

The Southern DPS is in danger of extinction and the Northern DPS is likely to become endangered...