It's not just black-footed ferrets that are drawing protests.

An initial proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act has drawn opposing comments as well.

Many of the comments -- submitted as either prepared statements or on prepared comment cards -- are in opposition. So far, approximately 175 comments -- 127 of them identical -- have been made, and it's likely that number will grow before the March 11 comment deadline arrives.

The second draft of a conservation plan being proposed by an interstate working group of wildlife agencies was scheduled to be released today, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism promised a second round of meetings to discuss the conservation plan.

KDWP&T already has said it opposes the listing but hopes to use the conservation plan to convince the federal wildlife agency not to put the bird on the list.

Three additional public meetings to discuss the LEPC plan and the Kansas connection to the plan have been scheduled.

The meetings will present more specific information about the conservation efforts.

The meetings will be:

WaKeeney -- 7 to 9 p.m. March 5 at WaKeeney City Library.

Lakin -- 7 to 9 p.m. March 6 at Kearney County Library in Lakin.

Greensburg -- 7 to 9 p.m. March 7 in Greensburg Community Building.

-- Mike Corn, HDN