Small Bird, Big Problem

Ben Briscoe

NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO, TEXAS - Thousands of possible jobs on the High Plains are at risk because of an environmental concern. But now there's a new plan in Texas that's supposed to fix that.

After about a year of preparation, the state comptroller's office finally released this report - "balancing economy with ecology." However industry insiders say it really does not do much and they're left wondering what will happen next.

The new, thick report only has three suggestions for the situation. First, outreach and education agents from the state should work with each individual industry to develop a set of best practices on minimizing impact to habitat.

Second, the comptroller wants a better count of how many lesser prairie chickens are left and where. That way conservation efforts can have more of a geographical focus.

Finally, the report recommends stronger landowner incentives for people who want to make their land a conservation zone. Providing a larger safe area for the lesser prairie chickens can let energy development happen else where in the panhandle.

These are all things talked about since the beginning. So now industry insiders say they have to tackle the problem themselves.

If not, this small bird could still end up causing big problems for the high plains economy - despite the state's attempt to help.