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OG&E has announced a $3.75 million project with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) to help provide habitat for the lesser prairie chicken, which ranks as one of the state's more imperiled species.

Through its efforts, OG&E hopes to help offset any effect on the lesser prairie chicken from wind farm development and also help ensure that the bird does not reach endangered status, which would significantly limit the state's ability to develop its wind potential.

The OG&E investment will help fund a conservation project to be designed by ODWC, which is expected to be able to add to the investment with state, federal or other private funds to create one of the largest public/private conservation projects in the Southern Plains.

"As we promote the development of our state's valuable wind resources for the benefit of customers, we believe it is important to provide effective leadership that also demonstrates a responsible approach," says OG&E spokesman Brian Alford. "Our role is to help unlock Oklahoma's renewable energy while also preserving habitat for the lesser prairie chicken in our state."

The voluntary partnership between OG&E and ODWC will create a conservation project that will offset the impact on lesser prairie chicken habitat from the 100 MW OU Spirit wind farm, which is under construction.

The OG&E investment, combined with other funds secured by ODWC, may be used to acquire or lease parcels of land that would be dedicated to lesser prairie chicken habitat.

SOURCE: OG&E Energy Corp.

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