Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Texas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Texas Project

Lesser Prairie-chcken ecology during pre- and post-construction of wind energy facilities in west Texas.

August 2007 - August 2012


Participating Agencies

  • Texas Parks and Wildlife

An emerging and potentially critical issue is the development of wind energy facilities within the range of lesser prairie-chickens (LEPC). Aside from outright habitat loss due to construction of facilities, LEPCs appear to have low tolerance for vertical structures. Managers lack the information with which to assess how LPCs may respond to the presence of wind farm facilities. The presence of these facilities may have detrimental influences on LPCs by creating habitat conditions that reduce productivity and survival. However, this provides an ideal opportunity to assess reproduction and survival of LPC during pre- and post-construction periods in areas of west Texas that are likely to have wind energy development. The ultimate goal of this project is to assess ecology of LEPCs pre- and post-construction of wind turbines. This has never been done, but is of critical importance in terms of managing a declining candidate species that is intolerant of vertical structures in a landscape proposed for wind turbine development. This project will address Lesser Prairie-Chicken Research Priorities as identified by the Texas LPC Research Group during a meeting with Texas Parks and Wildlife in November, 2006 to determine LPC Research Priorities. Population Dynamics, as a general category, was ranked as Priority 2. Within the Population Dynamics Category, research on brood ecology was ranked as the highest priority.

Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Grisham, Blake N. 2012. The ecology of lesser prairie-chickens in shinnery oak-grassland communities in New Mexico and Texas with implications toward habitat management and future climate change. Ph.D. Dissertation, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX. August 2012