This article, published in the Lawrence Journal-World, covers the inventory of natural areas remaining in Douglas County, which was carried out in 2014 by Kelly Kindscher, Leanne Martin, Erica Staab and Jennifer Delisle. The project received a grant from the Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council.
Biologist Kelly Kindscher says there’s a lesson in the prairie chicken’s local fate.
“Until recently, we had enough native grasslands in the southwest part of the county you could see prairie chickens,” he said. “I think in the last 10 years, the prairie chicken has gone extinct in Douglas County. If so, it’s because we haven’t made an effort to help them.”
Prairie chicken populations exist in a few counties to the west in the Flint Hills, said Kindscher, a senior scientist with the Kansas Biological Survey and professor of environmental studies at the University of Kansas. But there is little chance the birds will return to the hills and plains of Douglas County, because the natural grasslands that sustain the bird are vanishing.