Lesser Prairie Chicken Habitat Improvement Program (LPCHIP)
The lesser prairie chicken habitat improvement program (LPCHIP) was initiated in 2009. This program was specifically designed to improve and develop habitat on private lands for lesser prairie chickens (LEPC) and other mid-grass and sand sagebrush dependant wildlife found in occupied lesser prairie chicken range in southeast Colorado. Program delivery to date has been achieved through the collective and collaborative work of biologists, district wildlife managers (DWM’s), and the partnership farm bill biologists based in Lamar. In 2012, the LPCHIP initiative adopted the program delivery model of PHIP. Specific project identification and implementation will be contracted through PF to replicate the efficient and effective program delivery demonstrated by PHIP for other upland bird species. Locally led PF chapters will be able to assist in delivery of this program as they currently do with PHIP. Currently the LPCHIP is funded by the severance tax species conservation trust fund. Program funds are targeted to addressing habitat limiting factors for lesser prairie chickens, almost exclusively on private lands. A small portion of funding was used for a project on the Comanche National Grasslands, administered by the United States Forest Service (USFS).
As of June 2012, the LPCHIP has implemented projects directly impacting 11,212 acres. There are an additional 7,413 acres of projects in progress and areas where there is strong landowner interest. The completed acres include 3,590 acres of CRP projects, 3,280 acres of CRP mid-contract management, 320 acres of grazing deferment designed to improve nesting habitat adjacent to leks, and 2,422 acres of non-CRP grass establishment. The other category includes weather stations for grass establishment monitoring and fencing supplies for grazing management that impacted 1,600 acres.