The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved the Lesser Prairie Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan that Texas and four other states have worked on for years to protect the lesser prairie chicken, a rare bird whose future has been threatened by economic development — especially oil and gas drilling — in West Texas and the Panhandle.  Energy companies and agricultural interests have long feared that if the federal agency decides to list the bird as “threatened,” their activities would be limited on the millions of acres across the American West on which the prairie chicken roams. But now that the federal government has officially endorsed a conservation plan, known as the Range Wide Plan, many hope any effects will be minimal and easy to manage.  Read More about the Lesser Prairie Chicken Conservation Plan