Senate Ignores Science With Vote to End Lesser-Prairie Chicken Protections

Rescinding the endangered species listing of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken would put the species on a path toward extinction.
A letter prairie chicken on grass.
Lesser Prairie-Chicken. Photo: Brittany Meagher/Audubon Photography Awards

WASHINGTON – The US Senate voted today (50-48) to use the Congressional Review Act to rescind the November 2022 decision by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list the Lesser Prairie-Chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Last week the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee voted to advance a similar resolution. National Audubon Society is disappointed to see these resolutions, which undermine science-based wildlife management, advancing in Congress. The White House indicated today that President Biden would veto any such proposal that makes it to his desk.   

“The science is clear — the Lesser Prairie-Chicken will disappear from our grasslands without these protections,” said Marshall Johnson, chief conservation officer, National Audubon Society. “We appreciate President Biden’s commitment to veto this resolution. Science — not politics — should dictate how we protect our nation’s threatened and endangered wildlife.” 

Lesser Prairie-Chicken populations have declined by 97 percent across their range since the 1960s, one of the most precipitous among all bird life in the United States. The species is managed separately in the northern and southern parts of its range, which includes portions of five states (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico). 

Read more about the history of Lesser Prairie-Chicken protections and Audubon’s response to this proposal here.  


About Audubon  

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @audubonsociety.  

Media Contact: Matt Smelser,