Thursday, January 22, 2009

Status of lesser prairie chicken, sand dune lizard listing subject of discussion at Saturday meeting

CARLSBAD — An informational meeting for those interested in taking part in the recently signed agreements aimed at protecting the two threatened species in the region is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 24, at the Brininstool Ranch south of Carlsbad.

The meeting will explain the Candidate Conservation Agreement and the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances signed in December to benefit the lesser prairie chicken and the sand dune lizard. Both species are targeted — but not yet listed — as potentially endangered species.

The agreements are a way for state and federal regulatory agencies, industry and conservation groups to join together in the common goal of enacting a process to build awareness and help conserve the two declining species.

The Candidate Conservation Agreement applies to federal agencies and ranchers or energy companies that lease land from the federal government, while the agreement with assurances applies to private landowners, state agencies and entities leasing state lands.

The Center of Excellence for Hazardous Materials Management, located in Carlsbad, is acting as the central point of contact for anyone interested in participating in the agreements. The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will work with the center to identify projects and mitigation measures for landowners and companies that participate in the agreements.

Landowners and land users will be given the opportunity to participate in the preservation of the species before they become federally listed and would receive special consideration in dealing with the consequences of subsequent federal regulations.

Saturday's meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Brininstool Ranch and will explain the program and the participation process. To reach the ranch from Carlsbad, take U.S. 285 south approximately 10 miles to Highway 31. Turn left. Go approximately 10 miles to Highway 128. Turn right. Between mile markers 28 and 29, turn left (north) at the street sign. The Brininstool Ranch House is approximately four miles.

For more information, contact the center at (575) 885-3700.

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