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Conservation Groups Challenge Limited Protections for Lesser Prairie Chicken

Three conservation groups – Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and WildEarth Guardians – have filed a legal challenge to force full protection of the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act. The move comes in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent decision to protect the highly imperiled bird only as “threatened” while providing special exemptions that would allow ongoing destruction of their dwindling grassland habitat.
READ MORE AT  http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/lesser-prairie-chicken-04-10-2014.html

Steering committee wants legislation to expand Florida DEP permitting authority to protect coastal wildlife

Threatened and endangered coastal species besides just sea turtles could receive state permitting protection under legislation likely to be requested in 2015. A state steering committee that was established in 2009 to develop an ambitious statewide Florida Beaches Habitat Conservation Plan said it will seek legislation even as federal approval of a plan to be proposed is sought in the coming year. The plan and legislation would extend Department of Environmental Protection permitting to gopher tortoises and two species of threatened and endangered shorebirds and five species beach mice. The plan would provide regulatory certainty for landowners and developers, steering committee members said during a meeting in Tallahassee.
READ MORE AT  http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=36603866