The Lesser Prairie Chicken may end up being listed as an endangered species, which would restrict how the land is worked. That would pose some big problems for producers.
In a new study, scientists at Texas Tech and the U.S. Geological Survey found that by the year 2050 the Lesser Prairie Chicken's nest survival may decrease below what's necessary to sustain the current population. The authors note the findings don't suggest the bird will become extinct, but may continue to decline if no action is taken.
"The Lesser Prairie Chicken is considered an indicator species for the prairies of Texas and New Mexico," Blake Grisham said. "What that means is that it acts as an overall indicator of how healthy those systems are. Now if the species are declining, that suggests other species or other ecosystem functions are likely to decline as well."
Blake Grisham is a co-author of the Lesser Prairie Chicken study.
A decision on listing it as an endangered species is being pushed back to March.