USFWS
Alaska Region
Conserving the Nature of America

Archived Stories

 

January 30, 2014
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Employee Receives National Recognition

Anchorage, Alaska — On January 21, 2014, Bill Rice, P.E., received the 2013 National Fish Passage Program Field Biologist of the Year award in an all-employees ceremony held at the Alaska Regional Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). This national award is given each year to one Service employee in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the mission and objectives of the Service’s National Fish Passage Program. Alaska Regional Director, Geoff Haskett, presented the award on behalf of David Hoskins, Assistant Director of Fisheries and Aquatic onservation for the Service.

“Bill’s work helps support what all Alaskans love to do most—fish! We are proud of Bill’s accomplishments, as well as our other staff, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and other local partners involved with fish passage projects”, said Geoff Haskett.


January 15, 2014
Togiak Area Man Sentenced for Wasting Walrus, Illegally Transporting Tusks and Firearms Violations

Anchorage, Alaska U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Togiak area resident Jessie Anariak, age 50, was sentenced by the Hon. Sharon L. Gleason, United States District Court Judge, to a term of 15 months imprisonment for his actions arising from the illegal take of a walrus on Round Island in May, 2011. News Release

January 7, 2014
Connecting With Villagers “in a Neighborly Fashion"

It’s only a slight stretch to say that Yukon River king salmon have spawned a novel approach to National Wildlife Refuge System law enforcement in Alaska.

King salmon is an important cultural and culinary part of Alaska Natives’ subsistence lifestyle. Its numbers in the Yukon River have been dropping for years. For the species’ long–term health, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service imposes regulations on king salmon fishing. The regulations aggravate Alaska Natives whose remote villages are within refuges. Federal wildlife officers must enforce the regulations and issue citations for violations such as fishing during closed periods.


December 30, 2013
Kids, Get Your Paintbrushes, Pens and Pencils Out

Parents, teachers and youth group leaders across America are invited to engage children in putting their creative skills to work in the 2014 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest, an integral part of the ninth annual national Endangered Species Day celebration in May. For more information, including entry categories, judging criteria, prizes and the entry form, visit this page. Entries must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2014.


December 23, 2013
Get Outdoors for the Holidays!

This holiday, as you enjoy the season with family and friends, take them outdoors. Bundle up and go skiing, snowmachining, birding, ice fishing, snowshoeing, skating, or build a snowman in the backyard. Connecting with the outdoors is good for everyone - physically, emotionally, and socially. It's free and it's fun. For more outdoor ideas visit:


December 19, 2013
Endangered Species Act Turns 40 on December 28

The Endangered Species Act, the bipartisan legislation that is credited with saving hundreds of species from extinction, was signed into law by President Nixon 40 years ago on December 28, 1973.

This landmark law has been the catalyst for fully recovering 31 species, including the bald eagle, eastern population of Steller sea lion, American alligator, Lake Erie water snake and the Virginia northern flying squirrel. It continues to work today to protect and recover more than 2,100 animals and plants in the U.S. and around the world.


December 11, 2013
Draft Peer Review Plan for Yellow-billed Loon Listing Evaluation Available

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Peer Review Plan for the biological status review portion of the yellow-billed loon listing evaluation. The draft plan is available for review and comment through January 6, 2014.


December 6, 2013
Wildlife Refuge Plans to Address Cattle Damage to Islands

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge manager, Steve Delehanty, today announced the start of a public scoping process to identify issues and alternatives to address damage from unauthorized cattle on Wosnesenski and Chirikof Islands. Scoping will include meetings with interested federal, state, and local agencies, Federally recognized Tribes, stakeholders and the general public.

December 4, 2013
Polar Bear Range States Celebrate 40th Anniversary of 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears

Representatives of the polar bear range states – United States, Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway and the Russian Federation – convened in Moscow, Russia, today to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears. Representatives responsible for polar bear policy, research, and management recognized the significant contributions over the past four decades to polar bear conservation throughout the species’ Arctic range.


November 27, 2013
Michigan Hunters Sentenced for Illegally Taking Grizzly Bear

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced November 26, 2013, that two Michigan residents were sentenced in U. S. District Court in Fairbanks for a 2009 unlawful taking of a grizzly bear during closed season, making false records to conceal the illegal kill, and transporting the bear parts out of Alaska. Read More


November 22, 2013
2013 Candidate Notice of Review Available

Each year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviews the current status of plants and animals considered candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act. This Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) will publish in the Federal Register on Friday, November 22, 2013. There are two candidate species that occur in the Alaska Region: the yellow-billed loon and the Pacific walrus.  Although the CNOR implies that we are already working on a proposed rule to list the yellow-billed loon as endangered or threatened, in fact we are just starting the process to determine whether the species should be listed.  We must publish our decision by September 30, 2014.  Similarly, we must publish our decision by September 30, 2017 whether to list the Pacific walrus.


November 19, 2013
Landmark Study Reveals Low National Rate of Frog Abnormalities on Wildlife Refuges

An unprecedented 10-year-study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) shows encouraging results for frogs and toads on national wildlife refuges. The study, published today in the peer-reviewed online journal PLOS ONE, finds that on average, less than 2 percent of frogs and toads sampled on 152 refuges had physical abnormalities involving the skeleton and eyes – a lower rate than many experts feared based on earlier reports. Press Release


November 18, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Guidance to Clarify the Phrase Significantly Altered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued guidance to clarify the phrase “significantly altered” as it pertains to authentic Native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter, a species protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The intent of the guidance is to reduce confusion over what this phrase means; it does not change existing MMPA implementing regulations.


November 6, 2013
National Wildlife Refuges Provide Significant Local Economic Impact

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently completed a new analysis examining the impacts to local economies of visits to national wildlife refuges. The study, called Banking on Nature, covers the periodOctober 1, 2010 to September 31, 2011 and included 92 of the more than 550 national wildlife refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System in the analysis. Visitor spending in four areas was examined: food, lodging, transportation and other expenses (such as guide fees, land-use fees and equipment rental).


November 1, 2013
Regional Director Appointed to the U.S.- Russia Polar Bear Commission

President Obama has appointed Geoffrey L. Haskett, Regional Director for the Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as the United States Commissioner for the U.S.–Russia Polar Bear Commission.

“I am honored to be appointed by President Obama to the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission. I look forward to working with the other commissioners on conservation of this shared, iconic species.”  Press Release


October 25, 2013
Service Intends to Finalize Guidance Regarding Native Handicrafts Made from Sea Otter

By the end of November, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intends to issue final guidance to clarify the phrase “significantly altered” as it pertains to authentic native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter, a species protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The intent of the guidance will be to reduce confusion over what this phrase means; the guidance will not change existing MMPA implementing regulations (50 CFR Part 18). Press Release


October 25, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Emergency Closure of Brown Bear Sport Hunting on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

SOLDOTNA, AK – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announces an emergency closure of sport hunting of brown bears on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), effective October 26, 2013 at 12:01 am. The emergency closure is issued pursuant to federal regulations at 50 CFR 36.42. Press Release and Emergency Closure


October 23, 2013
Hawadax Island Recovery Exceeding Expectations

“When I first landed on what was Rat Island in 2007, it was an eerily silent place. A typical Aleutian island is teeming with wildlife, swirling with noisy, pungent birds. Not this place. It was crisscrossed with rat trails, littered with rat scat, scavenged bird bones, it even smelled…wrong,” reports Stacey Buckelew, an Island Conservation biologist. Buckelew first visited the island to help document centuries of damage to native birds and plant species from introduced invasive Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus).

Flash forward to today—five years after the successful removal of invasive Norway rats by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (The Service), The Nature Conservancy (The Conservancy) and Island Conservation (IC). Much has changed.


October 17, 2013
12-Month Finding Published on Petition to List Kittlitz’s Murrelet

On October 3, 2013 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a 12-Month Finding in the Federal Register on a petition to list the Kittlitz’s murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) as an endangered or threatened species and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). After reviewing the best available scientific and commercial information, the Service found that listing the Kittlitz’s murrelet was not warranted. 

Read more ...


August 22, 2013
Polar Bears in the Chukchi Sea Doing Well, Despite Sea Ice Loss

Climate change is the greatest long-term threat to polar bears.  On May 15, 2008, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) listed the bear as threatened throughout its range under the Endangered Species Act.  If loss of sea ice habitat continues, most populations of this iconic species are expected to decline or disappear by the end of the 21st century.  But the path to that point might not be straightforward. In fact, scientists expect a lot of variation in when, where, and how the effects of sea ice loss will appear.  According to a new study, by some measures one of the Arctic’s nineteen polar bear populations is doing quite well.

Study Abstract
Polar Bear News 2012-13 Newsletter


August 19, 2013
From Creek to Plate

As a conservation agency, the Service understands that it is imperative to create opportunities for people, especially youth, to connect with nature—and help remove barriers to participation. In fact, one of the Service’s six national priorities is: connecting people with nature, ensuring the future of conservation. In Alaska, our Connecting People with Nature Working Group is dedicated to just that. In 2012-2013, this cross-program group distributed $31,250 towards projects in Alaska that connected people to nature; the funds were made possible by the Department of the Interior’s Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative. One of eight projects, “Creek to Plate” targeted youth from Anchorage’s Northeast Muldoon Boys and Girls Club, a hub for 700+ youngsters during non-school hours.

 Read more


July 19, 2013
Potential Recovery of Pigeon Guillemot in Prince William Sound Comments Requested on Draft Environmental Assessment

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), along with the U.S. Forest Service-Chugach National Forest (Forest Service), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Wildlife Service (APHIS-WS) announce the availability of the draft Environmental Assessment “Potential Recovery of Pigeon Guillemot Populations, Naked Island Group – Prince William Sound, Alaska.” The comment period will be for 30 days, starting July 19, 2013 and ending on Aug 17, 2013.


July 10, 2013
Teens Restoring Streambanks

Alaska teens contributed to ongoing habitat improvement efforts within the Chester Creek watershed in Anchorage by giving two sections of the creek’s riparian zone a major makeover this past June. Although riparian habitat makes up a relatively small percentage of a watershed’s total land area, it provides critical fish and wildlife habitat, areas of ground water recharge, natural flood and erosion control, and water quality protection. Chester Creek provides habitat for salmon, trout, and char, and creekside trails and greenbelts provide movement corridors for native wildlife like moose.

 Read more


July 9, 2013
Yukon Chinook Salmon for Our Future

My name is Jessica Hildebrand. My parents are Rodney and Celene Hildebrand; my paternal grandparents are Victor and Edith Nicholas, and my maternal grandparents are the late Leo and Delores Kriska. I grew up at a homestead located 6 miles from Koyukuk and 12 miles from Nulato. On the homestead, better known as “Last Chance,” is our family’s house, my parent’s privately owned business, our fish cutting area, smoke house, and numerous old cabins and caches. My parents also own a house in Nulato that we went back and forth to for school during the winter, but you would never catch us away from Last Chance during the summer. 

Read more


June 25, 2013
Fish and Flood-Friendly Culverts: Spotlight on Tyonek, Alaska!

Indian Creek flows through Tyonek into Cook Inlet and supports important subsistence fisheries for salmon and rainbow trout. During the heavy spring flows of 2012, the creek washed out the road, which had a too-small culvert. In October 2012, the creek was fitted with a much larger fish- and flood-friendly culvert designed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska fish passage engineer. Culverts designed to let juvenile salmon move freely among important rearing habitats not only boost fish production, but are also immensely valuable from a road maintenance and public safety perspective...they keep fish habitat and communities connected, no matter what the weather!

Read more


June 21, 2013
70th Anniversary of Battle of Attu Commemorated

Seventy years after young men fought and died on remote, wind-swept Attu Island in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) honored their sacrifices with the dedication of a new interpretive site on Attu. In addition to interpretive panels which tell the story of WWII in the Aleutians, a special plaque honors the deeds of Pvt. Joseph Martinez, the only Medal of Honor recipient in the Aleutian Campaign.


June 21, 2013
A Nexus for Bird Migration

Every year birds from around the world, using multiple flyways, migrate to the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge to nest and raise their young. The combined abundance and diversity of waterbirds that annually visit the refuge is unparalleled in North America. It is truly one of the world's most important places for migratory birds. Park Ranger, Brian McCaffery, describes this special refuge as "vast" and "productive."

Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge YouTube Video


June 17, 2013
Pollinators are Important

National Pollinator Week, this year June 17-23, 2013, has now grown to be an international celebration. Pollinating animals, including bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and others, are vital to our delicate ecosystem, supporting terrestrial wildlife, providing healthy watersheds, and more. Pollinators positively affect all our lives. Did you know that bees pollinate Alaska’s blueberries early in the summer so that we can enjoy those tasty berries later?


June 11, 2013
East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership Signs Resolution with Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna

The annual Meeting of Partners of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership kicked off Monday morning at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage with the signing of a resolution with the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group.  This resolution will serve to better coordinate efforts to promote and protect birds along a migratory flyway that is home to over 50 million waterbirds. The meeting will continue much of this week in Seward, Alaska.


June 7, 2013
Public Input Sought for Clarification on Select Terms Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act With Regard to Sea Otter.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska is providing an additional 60 days for the public to provide information and comment on our draft document clarifying the existing interpretation of the terms “significantly altered from their natural form,” “coastal dwelling,” and “mass produced” as they apply to Alaska Native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter parts under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  We invite your comments on this draft document by August 06, 2013.  If you previously submitted info`rmation or recommendations to the Service you do not need to re-submit that information. To view the document or submit comments, please visit http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/current.htm


June 3, 2013
Draft Peer Review Plan for the Kittlitz's murrelet.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Peer Review Plan for the biological section of the Kittlitz’s murrelet listing evaluation. The plan is available for review and comment through June 14, 2013.

Read more


May 29, 2013
Recent sunny weather may mean a bumper crop for Alaska's Elodea infestations!

Elodea. Believed to be Alaska’s first fully submerged aquatic invasive plant, you may have seen Elodea choking out areas of Sand Lake, Little Campbell Lake, or Delong Lake in Anchorage and Chena Slough in Fairbanks. It’s also being found in a growing number of lakes and slow moving rivers/sloughs in Cordova and on the Kenai Peninsula.

Should we be concerned?Yes! Elodea survives under ice. When introduced to a new waterway, Elodea grows rapidly, overtaking native plants, filling the water column, and changing the habitat conditions to which native fish are adapted. Thick mats form at or just below the water surface and can foul boat propellers and floatplane rudders, causing a hazard. In addition to impeding fishing, navigation, boat launching, and paddling, it can also reduce waterfront property values.

Read more


May 28, 2013
Southeast Alaska Biologists Recognized for Improving Habitat in Public Spaces

Earlier this month, the Alaska Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) presented two U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists—Neil Stichert and John Hudson—with the 2013 GreenBelt Award for their long-standing efforts to collaborate with others to improve fish and wildlife habitat in public spaces.

Read more


May 23, 2013
Alaska Tribes Receive $433,026 in Tribal Wildlife Grants

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced Tribal Wildlife Grants awards to Native American and Alaska Native tribes funding a wide range of conservation projects across the country.

“The mindful stewardship of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats is a value that tribal nations share with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Tribal Wildlife Grants create opportunities for us to work together in a variety of ways, including species restoration, fish passage, protection of migratory birds, and coping with long-term effects of a changing climate.” Press Release


May 23, 2013
Dall Sheep Guide Sentenced for Illegal Hunting in Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced May 22, 2013, that a Canadian man was sentenced in U. S. District Court in Fairbanks, Alaska, for the sale of two unlawfully taken and possessed Dall sheep.

Patrick J. Downey, 67, of Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada, pled guilty and was sentenced May 10, 2013, (attached press release states "pled guilty in May 2012" in error) ,by U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline after admitting that he guided two hunts that resulted in taking under-sized Dall sheep. Downey was sentenced to pay a $20,000 fine, was placed on probation for five years, during which Downey may not hunt or guide in the United States. The charges arose from Downey’s service as a licensed Alaska assistant guide in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in 2008 and 2009. For approximately twenty years, Downey had guided hunters in the Brooks Range while employed by Master Guide-Outfitter Joe Hendricks, co-owner of Fair Chase Hunts (FCH). Full press release...


May 21, 2013
Wetland Conservation in Alaska

Each May we celebrate National Wetlands Month. Wetlands are the cornerstone of many important ecosystems, providing numerous ecological and economic benefits for fish, wildlife and people. Wetlands improve water quality, absorb and store water, help reduce flooding, and provide important habitat for wildlife. There are more wetlands in Alaska than all the other U.S. states combined.Read more


May17, 2013
Polar Bear Conservation Continues this Endangered Species Day

Endangered Species Day is particularly poignant today as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and recognize the Federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, industry representatives, and private citizens who have worked together under the law to conserve America’s most imperiled species.

“In Alaska key partners have come together under the Endangered Species Act to successfully recover the Aleutian Canada goose, the Arctic peregrine falcon and the American peregrine falcon” said Geoffrey Haskett, Alaska’s Regional Director. “These are all great success stories. The sobering prospect of extinction motivates us to do all that we can nationally and internationally to conserve remarkable Alaskan species like polar bear.” Read more


May16, 2013
Upper Tanana Valley hit with Sparrows EVERYWHERE

“There’s constant movement on the ground and the singing is insane. I have never seen anything like this EVER. ” says retired Fish and Wildlife biologist Bud Johnson of Tok, Alaska. “There are probably a hundreds of thousands of sparrows just in Tok”.


May 16, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Alaska’s Endangered Species Recovery Champion Award Winners 

The story of endangered species conservation in the United States over the past 40 years involves many heroes. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recognized 16 teams or individuals across the country for their outstanding efforts to conserve and protect endangered and threatened fish, wildlife and plants by designating them 2012 Recovery Champions. Among the award winners honored for their work were two Alaskans, Brian McCaffery and Margaret Peterson.

“Recovery Champion awards acknowledge individuals and groups who have excelled in their efforts to protect and recover our most imperiled species,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “They exemplify the dedication and determination that has helped save countless animals and plants from extinction and that continues to raise the bar in the field of endangered species conservation.”

Press Release


May 13, 2013
Kali leaves the Alaska Zoo to join polar bear cub Luna at the Buffalo Zoo

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that Kali, the polar bear cub rescued in March from the Point Lay area of Alaska, will leave the Alaska Zoo on May 14, arriving at New York’s Buffalo Zoo on May 15. Kali (pronounced Cully, the Inupiat name for Point Lay), a 65-pound cub, will join young female cub Luna where both cubs will benefit from each other’s company. Under the care of Alaska Zoo staff Kali has adjusted well to his surroundings, more than tripling in size and weight.

“The Alaska Zoo has done a tremendous job of providing excellent, temporary care for Kali,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “I would like to personally thank the zoo for stepping up – at moment’s notice – to care for this cub. Now, as Kali leaves Alaska for his next short-term home, we are confident that the Buffalo Zoo will provide the best of care for Kali as the Service makes a final determination on a permanent home for the cub.” Press Release


May 6, 2013
Alaska Celebrates Arrival of Migratory Birds

Spring has sprung and migratory birds are arriving in Alaska by the thousands.  Soon they will be building nests, laying eggs and another generation of birds will be hatching. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with many partners, celebrates this special time of year by inviting you to participate at bird festivals and events across the state.  Learn more by visiting these links:


April 22, 2013
The Future of Conservation this Earth Day

As we celebrate Earth Day 2013, we invite you to take a moment to reflect on the words of Senator Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day. He knew how hard but how critical long-term thinking is and said, "The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard." We invite you to celebrate Earth Day by choosing ways you can live today so that future generations will enjoy our wildlife legacy in the future. Visit http://www.fws.gov/home/earthday/


April 18, 2013
USFWS Announces Decision on Petition to Delist Wood Bison

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish in the Federal Register tomorrow a 90-day finding on a petition to delist the wood bison and remove it from protection under the Endangered Species Act. Based on our review, we find that the petition does not present substantial information indicating that delisting the wood bison subspecies may be warranted.  Therefore, we are not initiating a status review in response to this petition.  However, we ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of, or threats to, the wood bison or its habitat at any time. Press Release


March 25, 2013
Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Almost $40 Million in User-Generated Funding to Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game 
"Hunters, Anglers, and Other Recreational Users Provide Record Support for Critical Conservation Projects

More than $882.4 million in excise tax revenues generated in 2012 by sportsmen and sportswomen will be distributed to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.

Press Release


March 19, 2013
Polar Bear Cub Delivered to Alaska Zoo

On March 12, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received word that a female polar bear had been taken near Point Lay, Alaska. The adult female was accompanied by a cub, which was recovered and transferred first to the community of Point Lay, and then to the North Slope Borough’s Department of Wildlife Management (DWM). Subsequent to a health evaluation by the DWM it was determined that the cub is a young male weighing approximately 18.4 lbs. and 3-4 months of age.


March 1, 2013
Clarification of Select Terms under the Marine Mammal Protection Act with Regard to Sea Otters

The U.


S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska releases today for public comment a draft document clarifying the interpretation of the terms “significantly altered from their natural form,” “coastal dwelling,” and “mass produced” as they apply to Alaska Native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter parts under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. We invite your comments on this draft document by May 17, 2013. To view the document or comment, please go to http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/current.htm

February 26, 2013
The Service announces the availability of the draft Peer Review Plan for the Proposed Wood Bison Introduction project

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Peer Review Plan for the Proposed Reintroduction of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Wood Bison in Alaska. The plan is available for review and comment through March 19, 2013.. Learn more


February 25, 2013
Military Youth Ice Fishing Jamboree

What lurks in the cold, dark depths of Hillberg Lake near Anchorage, Alaska?  With an average depth of 13 feet and a width of just 200 yards, most people would think there’s probably not much.  The bald eagle perched overhead was there for something, wasn’t he?  Throw 130 kids and 60 parents with nearly 150 fishing jigs onto the frozen lake, and you’ll quickly learn that landlocked Chinook salmon and rainbow trout lurk beneath the ice.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Final Polar Bear Special Rule
February 19, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a Special Rule establishing how activities that may harm the threatened polar bear will be managed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Final Special Rule effectively maintains the management and conservation framework that has been in effect for the polar bear since it was first protected under the ESA in 2008.

The Final Special Rule, issued under Section 4(d) of the ESA, avoids redundant regulation under the ESA by adopting the longstanding and more stringent protections of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as the primary regulatory provisions for this threatened species.


February 12, 2013
Youth in Alaska's Great Outdoors 

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shares how they ENGAGED, EDUCATED, and EMPLOYED youth in 2012 as part of the Department of Interior's Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative.  If you are interested in 2013 opportunities in Alaska visit the links below.


February 12, 2013
Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest - Deadline: March 15

Parents, teachers, and scout leaders tell your kids to start the drawing engines and participate in the annual Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest! Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2013. The Youth Art Contest provides students from kindergarten to high school with an opportunity to learn about threatened and endangered species and express their knowledge and support through artwork. Organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the International Child Art Foundation, the art contest is an integral part of the eighth annual national Endangered Species Day on May 17, 2013.


February 5, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Analysis Does Not Support Proposed Land Exchange and Road Corridor Through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) evaluating a proposed land exchange that would establish a road corridor through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Alaska. After careful evaluation of the impact of the construction and operation of the proposed road on the refuge and its wildlife resources, the agency has identified its preferred alternative as one that does not support allowing the land exchange to go forward.


February 1, 2013
Protecting Habitat for Salmon Lands National Recognition -
Coastal America to recognize private-public partnership achieving voluntary salmon habitat conservation in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley

Anchorage -- Coordinated action to conserve coastal habitat in Southcentral Alaska has captured national attention. On Thursday February 7, 2013 at the Alaska Forum on the Environment conference held at the Dena’ina Convention Center, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior for Alaska, Pat Pourchot, will present the Matanuska-Susitna Valley Coastal Conservation Partnership with a 2012 Coastal America Partnership Award on behalf of the Obama Administration and Coastal America.

Coastal America selected the Alaska partnership to receive this national award for its outstanding efforts to voluntarily conserve more than 6,000 acres of coastal habitat important to Pacific salmon and other wildlife. The Alaska-based effort is one of only four collaborative teams throughout the Nation to receive this prestigious award in 2012.


January 17, 2013
Service Seeks Comments On Proposed Wood Bison Introduction Project

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it will propose to release wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) in Alaska, in support of an Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) plan, in an effort to establish a wild population of this native wildlife species to the State.  Potential introduction sites include Minto Flats, the lower Innoko/Yukon River area, and Yukon Flats.America’s wildlife legacy.


January 9, 2013
Science Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit http://www.fws.gov/science/awards.html

The Non-game Migratory Bird Management Team are a group of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists working with partners on bird conservation, including songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors.  Among many activities, they administer survey and monitoring programs, compile data, and apply data to management. They have expanded their network globally to address birds throughout entire ranges. Visit http://alaska.fws.gov/mbsp/mbm/index.htm to learn more about their efforts.

The Non-game Migratory Bird Management Team's efforts help ensure that non-game migratory birds will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.


January 8, 2013
USFWS Announces Proposed Incidental Take Regulations for Polar Bears and Pacific Walrus

In Alaska, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) protects polar bears, Pacific walrus, and northern sea otters by prohibiting "take" of these animals.  The MMPA provides for specific exceptions to the prohibition on non-lethal take, including a provision that allows U.S. citizens to take, through hazing and other non-lethal deterrents, small numbers of marine mammals incidental to specified activities. Read more...


January 2, 2013
S
cience Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit http://www.fws.gov/science/awards.html


As the Service's Shorebird Coordinator in Alaska, Dr. Richard Lanctot has worked at the national and international level to promote shorebird conservation. He launched the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group in 2006 which has promoted sharing of methods for studying and conserving shorebirds and connected biologists studying the same species throughout their annual cycle. He has worked to promote consistent methods for collecting shorebird data in the Arctic, allowing information to be compared at the circumpolar level and areas of international importance to be identified.

Richard Lanctot's efforts help ensure that migratory shorebirds will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.

December 19, 2012
S
cience Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for on of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit http://www.fws.gov/science/awards.html

The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge's Biological Science Team has demonstrated scientific leadership in the areas of seabird research, marine science and conservation, and invasive species eradication. Within the last five years, the team has restored over 100,000 acres of refuge land by eradicating invasive species.  Numerous research efforts have documented biodiversity, climate change, impacts to island ecosystems from volcanism, the accumulation of contaminants in seabirds, and much more. Data generated by this research is shared in publications, at conferences, sent to international databases, provided to regional multi-disciplinary research programs, and offered to collaborators. For more information about Alaska Maritime Refuge visit http://alaskamaritime.fws.gov/

The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Science Team's efforts help ensure that refuge resources will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.


December 12, 2012
Science Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit http://www.fws.gov/science/awards.html

Dr. David Irons is the Seabird Coordinator for Alaska's office of Migratory Bird Management. He has long recognized the interconnectedness of our world's marine ecosystems and has demonstrated great vision and determination in forging working relationships with seabird scientists in Alaska, other Arctic nations, and the world. He has worked to encourage information exchange among seabird scientists and leads a multi-national effort to develop the Global Seabird Data Portal to archive the world's seabird colony data, a critical step towards science-based management and conservation of our world's marine birds.

David's efforts will help ensure that seabirds will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.


December 7, 2012
Alaska Fish-Friendly Culverts Hold Tight Through 100 year flood

Southcentral Alaska – This past September, residents and visitors experienced heavy rains, strong winds, and widespread flooding. Many roads with undersized culverts or near rivers were overtopped by flood waters, resulting in road closures, erosion of road material, culvert damage, and at least five culverts/bridges becoming overwhelmed and flushed downstream.

In contrast, the 81 road culverts that had been fitted with larger, channel-spanning structures over the past decade survived the flood with flying colors. Read more...


December 5, 2012
Science Excellence and America’s Wildlife Legacy

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit  http://www.fws.gov/science/awards.html

Michelle Kissling is a Wildlife Biologist with the Juneau Fish & Wildlife Field Office. Ms. Kissling successfully leveraged the Service's funds and operational capabilities to expand partnerships to establish interagency monitoring and research of the Kittlitz's murrelet, a poorly understood seabird endemic to coastal Alaska and the Russian Far East.  She helped coordinate more than 50 people, representing various partners, in murrelet field work; conducting at sea surveys, banding over 900 birds, and placing transmitters on 215 birds. She is recognized for her outstanding leadership and scientific contributions toward conservation of Kittlitz's murrelet and her exceptional commitment forging scientific conservation partnerships.

Michelle’s efforts will help ensure that the Kittlitz’s murrelet will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.


November 16, 2012
Alaska’s Network of Fish Habitat Partnerships: Working for Healthy, Sustainable Fisheries

November 16, 2012

Each year, after the shovels have been put away and waders stowed, a broad cross-section of individuals
and organizations interested in salmon and involved in on-the-ground efforts to ensure that important habitats are identified, safeguarded, and restored in the Mat-Su region gather for the Mat-Su Salmon Science and Conservation Symposium. This 2-day event, organized by the Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership, provides a forum for the sharing of information and lessons learned, celebrating of successes, and planning for the future of salmon and their habitat in this region. News Release


November 1, 2012
Yukon Delta recognized for importance to East Asian-Australasian Flyway

Millions of waterbirds breed each summer in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, then leave this vast wetland cradle to migrate along flyways spanning the Americas. But about half a million migrate along a lesser-known route: the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The East Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership (Partnership) was launched in 2006 as a framework for voluntary, international cooperation aimed at protecting migratory waterbirds and their habitat in eastern Asia and the south Pacific Ocean. Read more...


November 1, 2012
New Nature Explore Classroom Video Goes Live

A new video on the Nature Explore classroom, built at the Children's Tree House Child Development Center on the campus of the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), is live. The classroom serves as a gateway for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to connect children with nature. Watch the video today!


October 25, 2012
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Proposals from States for Annual Endangered Species Grants

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking proposals from states and U.S. territories interested in obtaining federal financial assistance to acquire land or conduct planning efforts for endangered species conservation.

The Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF) is authorized under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and provides grants to states and territories to support participation in a wide array of voluntary conservation projects for species on the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, as well as for candidate species. For fiscal year (FY) 2013, the President’s budget request for the annual Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund includes $60 million in grant funding for conservation activities benefitting federally protected species.


October 23, 2012
Alaska Environmental Literacy Plan Working Group Honored with InteriorDepartment’s 2012 “Partners in Conservation” Award

Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes today presented the Department’s 2012 “Partners in Conservation” Awards to 17 organizations that have achieved exemplary conservation results through public-private cooperation and community engagement. Honorees include four partnerships nominated by the Fish and Wildlife Service and several others in which the Service plays a key supporting role. The Alaska Environmental Literary Plan Working Group was among the organizations recognized.


October 5, 2012
Visit Your National Wildlife Refuges: October 14-20, 2012

Treat yourself with a visit to a national wildlife refuge during National Wildlife Refuge Week, from October 14-20. Celebrate America’s wildlife heritage, and see what refuges are doing to conserve it. 

“National wildlife refuges play a crucial role in conserving America’s wildlife legacy,” says U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Refuges also play important roles in human communities. By providing healthy habitats for wildlife, refuges improve the air we breathe and the water we drink, improve soil quality and give protection against flooding in flood-prone areas. Jobs and businesses in local communities rely on refuges – and the visitors they attract. Refuges offer glorious and protected places to hunt, fish, hike and share the outdoors with a new generation.”


September 18, 2012
USFWS Video Celebrates National Hunting and Fishing Day

In recognition of National Hunting and Fishing Day (celebrated on September 22 this year) the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region has published a video documenting the journey of trout from a hatchery in Anchorage to area lakes, where they became available to eager anglers. In this video, you can digitally join that trip, as more than 14,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout are moved from hatchery tanks to two local lakes! The fish were among the first to be delivered from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s new William Jack Hernandez sport fish hatchery. The hatchery helps maintain the vitality of Alaska’s sport fisheries by increasing recreational fishing opportunities while reducing fishing pressure on natural stocks.
News Release
Stocking Rainbow Trout Video


September 5, 2012
National Hunting and Fishing Day
Hunter Recruitment in Alaska

Hunting is a lifestyle and an important activity for millions of Americans, bringing them outdoors and in touch with nature. More than 13 million people across the country enjoy hunting, and through hunting they contribute to wildlife conservation and management. National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 22, 2012, celebrates the programs that ensure that hunting continues for future generations. Learn more... 


August 29, 2012
ESA Listing of Prince of Wales flying squirrel found not warranted

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Prince of Wales (POW) flying squirrel as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  Based on its review, the Service finds that the petition, dated September 30, 2011, does not present substantial information indicating that listing this species may be warranted. Therefore, the agency will not initiate a status review.  


August 17, 2012
Kenai River Habitat Work Lands National Recognition -DOI Assistant Secretary Anne Castle to Recognize River Center Highlight America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Rivers Initiative

Coordinated action to preserve and restore the natural resources of the Kenai River is capturing national attention.  On Friday, August 24th Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science Anne Castle will visit the Donald E. Gilman River Center to meet with state and local officials and community organizations to learn more about habitat restoration work along the Kenai River and its tributaries and to highlight reasons why Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar selected the Kenai River partnership effort to be part of the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Rivers Initiative. 


August 7, 2012
Attention Sheep Hunters

If you are planning to hunt sheep in Game Management Unit 25A, please be aware of Federal hunting regulations that do not appear in your State of Alaska regulations booklet: The entire Arctic Village Sheep Management Area (AVSMA) is closed to general sheep hunting.

The Arctic Village Sheep Management Area (AVSMA), which lies west and north of Arctic Village, is closed to sheep hunting except by federally qualified residents of Arctic Village, Venetie, Fort Yukon, Kaktovik and Chalkyitsik Red Sheep Creek and Cane Creek are now part of this closure due to a decision made by the Federal Subsistence Board in January 2012.


July 31, 2012
Walrus Calves on the Beach

In the last week, three abandoned walrus calves have been captured and transferred to the Alaska SeaLife Center for treatment and observation before being placed in zoos. This was a community effort with hunters contacting the NSB Department of Wildlife Management to assist with the capture of the animals (with approval from USFWS).  The NSB Veterinary Clinic assisted Alaska SeaLife Center staff with the stabilization of the animals until they could be transported. Thanks goes out to the community of Barrow for making these captures and transports successful.  Read more


July 31, 2012
Final Rule for Queen Charlotte Goshawk Listing in Canada

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today its final rule to list the British Columbia distinct population segment (DPS) of the Queen Charlotte goshawk (Accipiter gentilis laingi) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The species is not being listed in the U.S. due in part to protections provided by the U.S. Forest Service’s Tongass Land Management Plan. The Endangered Species Act provides this flexibility so that protections can be tailored to where they are needed.


July 18, 2012
Scientists Explore Social Dimensions of Climate Change

Communities in Alaska are at the forefront of the impacts of climate change. Rural communities, heavily dependent on natural resources, are not only aware of the impacts of a changing climate, but they see and experience these changes in a profound way. In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fisheries Resource Monitoring Program requested in its Call for Proposals a broad range of fisheries science and social science projects that examined or discussed climate change effects on subsistence resources and users. Learn more…


June 18, 2012
2012 Alaska Weed Smackdowns: fun, community events to control non-native, invasive plants!

In conjunction with Alaska Invasive Weed Awareness Week in 2010, Alaska’s first Weed Smackdown event was structured to help contain the spread of non-native, invasive plants and educate/involve local residents in Fairbanks. Since then, awareness of the problem and the number of events have grown, with four Weed Smackdown events scheduled for 2012. Each offers a fun, friendly competition among teams comprised of members from community organizations, businesses, and unaffiliated individuals who all have one thing in common: the desire to spare Alaska the economic and ecological impacts of invasive species. Participants will not only enjoy fresh air, exercise, fun, free food, and fabulous prizes, but will also help control or eradicate these weed invaders.


June 12, 2012
Make sure the Native art you buy in Alaska can go home with you!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alaska State Council on the Arts recently produced an updated Customs Guide on Alaska Native Arts. Long recognized as an excellent tool for the Alaska Native art market, the online guide helps artists, arts patrons, and retailers interpret the complex wildlife laws that affect the international trade of some of Alaska’s most unique products. 

Information in the guide can help visitors determine what artwork they can legally purchase and lawfully transport through Canada or across another national border. The guide lists wildlife materials commonly used in traditional Alaska Native art. Learn more...


June 7, 2012
Celebrate Great Outdoors Month and National Fishing and Boating Week in Alaska

Summer is here. June brings Alaskans and visitors outdoors to enjoy camping, boating, outdoor festivals and events, fishing, and much more.  In fact, across the country June 2-10 is National Fishing and Boating Week; this month is also Great Outdoors Month. 

Outdoor activities like camping and fishing encourage young and old alike to explore and enjoy Alaska’s rich recreational opportunities. Learn more...


May 22, 2012
America’s Great Outdoor Rivers Initiative at the Kenai River

Today, as part of a weeklong event, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced projects in the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Wyoming, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado that serve as models of the America’s Great Outdoors River Initiative. The goal of the Initiative is to conserve and restore key rivers across the nation, expand outdoor recreational opportunities, and support jobs in local communities. This effort was unveiled in January as part of  President Obama’s broader America’s Great Outdoors initiative; which aims to work with communities across the country to establish a 21st century conservation ethic, reconnect people, especially young people, to the natural world, and promote the outdoor recreation economy. Learn more


May 15, 2012
Caribou Board Concludes International Meeting

The International Porcupine Caribou Board, including members from Canada and the U.S., met April 18-19 in Fairbanks. The event included an evening public meeting on April 18 at the Morris Thompson Cultural Center, where the Board presented its history and mission and engaged in a question-and-answer session.  The board had been inactive for over a decade until meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada in September, 2011, where the Board reviewed its roles and responsibilities and the role of the Porcupine Caribou Technical Committee of biologists, who provide advice to the Board. Learn more


May 11, 2012
Pollinator Gardens in Alaska

Most flowering plants depend on bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other animals for pollination. Pollination is an essential part of plant reproduction, producing fertile seeds and, in some species, fruit. In Alaska our pollinators include at least 95 bee species and 75 butterfly species!


May 18, 2012
Alaska Region Celebrates 2012 Endangered Species Day!

On May 18, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous organizations will honor Endangered Species Day, and the nationwide conservation efforts underway protecting America’s threatened, endangered and at-risk species. In Alaska, the Aleutian Canada (cackling) goose, American peregrine falcon, Arctic peregrine falcon are all species that were on the brink of extinction, but have successfully rebounded. These species are just a few examples of those benefiting from the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act and the dedicated people who work to ensure their continued existence.

Upcoming events in Anchorage:
May 20 - International Migratory Bird Day, The Alaska Zoo
May 31 - "The ESA and You: A Conversation about Conservation," Loussac Library


May 11, 2012
Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day at the Zoo on May 20th

The International Migratory Bird Day event at the Alaska Zoo on Sunday, May 20th will celebrate 20 years of spreading the word about the avian visitors that brighten out lives and enrich our natural world. In keeping with the 20th anniversary theme, visitors will be able to explore activity stations based on 20 ways to conserve birds! 

Learn more


May 13, 2012
Mountain Goats in Focus
Biologists Share Management and Research
75th Anniversary - Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program

By Riley Woodford, Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Mountain goats are one of the least studied big game animals in North America. But that’s changing. Remarkable new tools and growing concerns for these agile, wooly beasts are providing unprecedented insights into their biology, behavior, needs and vulnerabilities. Learn more


April 20, 2012
Celebrating Earth Day with Bird-Friendly Wind Turbines

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of installing and testing wind turbines on Izembek and Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuges. The $3.4 million project was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It was the largest Recovery Act investment in Alaska and has created several jobs.


April 19, 2012
Youth Invited to “Connect, Create and Celebrate”

This year the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is launching the “Get to Know Contest” for the first time across the United States.  The goal of the contest is to engage the power of art to help youth feel more connected with nature. Youth, 19 and under, are eligible to enter the contest until July 16 by submitting original works of art, writing, photography, video, or music inspired by their natural world. We invite all youth to Connect…Create…and Celebrate with the Get to Know Contest.


April 16, 2012
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Draft Polar Bear Special Rule and Environmental Assessment

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose a special rule clarifying how the agency will manage the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in harmony with other federal laws that also protect polar bears.


April 12, 2012
Brown Bear Research in Alaska

Alaska is home to about 32,000 brown bears, ranging from the Arctic to the Southeast rainforest.  Whether these are the oft-photographed McNeil River bears, the famous trophy Kodiak Island bears, or secretive urban bears co-existing with Anchorage residents, state wildlife biologists are keenly interested in these magnificent animals. Brown bears tend to be called grizzly bears in Interior and northern Alaska, but they are all Ursus arctos. There is much to learn ...


March 23, 2012
Interior Announces Onshore Wind Energy Guidelines

The Department of the Interior today released guidelines designed to help wind energy project developers avoid and minimize impacts of land-based wind projects on wildlife and their habitats. The voluntary guidelines will help shape the smart siting, design and operation of the nation’s growing wind energy economy. To download a copy of the final guidelines and for other background information on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s role in wind energy development, please visit http://www.fws.gov/windenergy/

Learn more...


February 27, 2012
International Polar Bear Day

February 27, 2012 is International Polar Bear Day. As the federal agency charged with the management of polar bears, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and in particular its Alaska Region, is in the forefront of polar bear conservation and research. To learn more about these iconic marine mammals, and what the Service is doing to help make sure that they will continue to wander their arctic homes for generations to come, follow the link here.


February 24, 2012
Students Invited to Enter 2012 Jr. Duck Stamp Contest

March 15, 2012 is the deadline for submissions for the 2012 JUNIOR DUCK STAMP CONTEST for K-12 students. Participants select a species of North American waterfowl, do research on this species and its habitat, and then depict their findings through art and writing. Prizes, cash awards, and national recognition await the winners. Get to know North America’s waterfowl and enter the contest! Alaska's winning entry competes nationally; the national winner is featured on the stamp itself. Stamp proceeds go to support awards and environmental education for students. For more information visit http://alaska.fws.gov/jrduck


February 13, 2012
Meeks Trail Bridge

The Kenai River is known for its great salmon fishing. When the sockeyes are running, massive crowds armed with dip nets flock to catch these fresh, silvery fish at the mouth, where the river meets Cook Inlet. The Meeks Trail pedestrian bridge provides access to the North Beach, and, in so doing, crosses a tributary to the Kenai that provides important habitat for salmon and other native fish. This past January, the City of Kenai started work on a restoration project at this site, funded by USFWS’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program via our Kenai Fish and Wildlife Office. Read more


February 9, 2012
Moose Management Success in the Lower Yukon
By Meghan Nedwick, Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Asking people to hunt more moose hardly seems like a problem. But after telling three generations of people not to harvest moose, specifically cows; it may be difficult to tell people to do otherwise.

Historically, up until the late 1980s, moose on the Lower Yukon existed at very low levels and most areas had few or no moose at all. Of the few moose that were present, people harvested a high percentage of both bulls and cows which prevented the population from growing in otherwise suitable habitat. Learn more


February 7, 2012
Many Iñupiaq Names for Snow

We're having a big snow year in many Alaska locations. Snow comes in many varieties, as anyone who lives in the north knows. Not surprisingly, the Iñupiaq language of Northwest Alaska has a much more descriptive vocabulary than English for types of snow. Among these are: pukak (granular or sugar snow), misruligruaq (falling snow mixed with rain), qiqsruqqaq (glazed snow), maquyak (soft spring snow, making traveling difficult), aniu (packed snow), and qayukłak (rough-surface snow from windstorms).


January 23, 2012
Hunters Supporting Conservation
Wildlife Restoration Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Americans enjoy unparalleled opportunities to hunt, fish and experience wildlife largely because of a far-sighted conservation effort launched 75 years ago. In many cases the very presence of animals on the landscape and fish in the water is tied directly to this effort, which has also helped instill a new appreciation for wildlife in generations of Americans.

Learn More


January 18, 2012
Celebrating 75 Years of Cooperation for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) join the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), and other partners at the 2012 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference (2012 SHOT show) to announce the start of a year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), one of the most significant and successful partnership approaches to fish and wildlife conservation in U.S. history. 


January 10, 2012
Alaska Reels in Funds for Two Habitat Protection Partnership Projects

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently announced $20.5 million in National Coastal Wetland grants to support 24 projects in 13 states to conserve and restore coastal wetlands and their fish and wildlife habitat. 

Two State of Alaska projects, the Upper Knik Arm Coastal Wetlands Conservation Project and the Goose Bay Estuary Conservation Project, received funding under the Secretary’s 2012 grant award announcement.

Together, these projects will receive $1,060,000 in National Coastal Wetland Grant funding to help conserve approximately 3400 acres of privately-owned coastal habitat for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people. Once the land negotiations are completed, the conservation of these parcels will support the needs of the Goose Bay and Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuges by protecting important spawning and rearing habitat for Coho and King salmon; and conserving resting and foraging areas for many migratory bird species.

News Release


January 5, 2012
Help make 2012 a great year for Alaska’s native aquatics by going felt-free!

Winter may stand between anglers and their favorite Alaskan streams and rivers, but it’s not too early to start thinking about getting a new pair of wading boots…without felt soles! Initially popular because they provide good traction on slippery streambeds, felt-soled wading boots are now known to have a major drawback: they provide an ideal vehicle for spreading tiny invasive species that can cause big problems. Read more...


December 28, 2011
Happy Birthday Endangered Species Act!

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is celebrating the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) 38th birthday. The ESA was enacted on December 28, 1973, to prevent the loss or harm of endangered and threatened species and to preserve the ecosystems upon which these species depend. All Alaskans can take pride in the fact that, under the ESA, the Aleutian Canada goose, American peregrine falcon, and Arctic peregrine falcon have been brought back from the brink of extinction. Happy birthday!


December 23, 2011
Working with Wildlife in Alaska, not your average nine to five job

Are you interested in wildlife conservation? Would you like to gain valuable job experience and see Alaska? The U.S. Fish& Wildlife Service in Alaska is currently recruiting for a wide range of seasonal jobs, internships and volunteer positions. Positions include assisting biologists conducting field work on birds, fish and wildlife; working with visitors at national wildlife refuges, building trails, or teaching children about nature. Check out our web page, http://alaska.fws.gov/working.htm for more information.


December 14, 2011
Christmas Bird Counts Past and Future

Dozens of kids and adults took to the Alaska Zoo trails on December 3rd  to participate in  Anchorage’s second Christmas Bird Count for Kids – an event sponsored by the Alaska Zoo, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Audubon Alaska, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in coordination with Boy and Girl Scout troops from around the city.   In the spirit of the traditional Christmas Bird Count started by National Audubon Society 112 years ago, kids and adults learned how to identify common birds, compile data, and become citizen scientists. A tally and awards ceremony followed where a representative of each team read the results.  This year, teams spotted 13 species of wild birds at the zoo, including Common Raven, Bohemian Waxwing, Brown Creeper, and an American Three-toed Woodpecker!

In upcoming weeks many other Christmas Bird Counts will be occurring across Alaska.  Your community may be hosting a count. Visit Alaska Audubon for community details.

December 12, 2011
Alaska Fish Photo Contest: 2011 Results and 2012 Details!

Fish can be very elusive. Likewise good photos of fish in their natural habitat can be hard to come by! This year, we asked Alaska residents and visitors to help us celebrate Alaska’s fish by sharing their best shots. We were particularly interested in photos that conveyed information about the natural seasonal behaviors and habitats of Alaska’s fish, or captured the unique nature of Alaska’s fisheries.  We were absolutely blown away by the photos you took! In addition to our original four judges, we had over 20 Service employees (mostly fisheries biologists) rank the top five photos that best captured the above criteria. We hope these photos inspire others to get out and appreciate/photograph Alaska’s amazing fish! And the 2011 winner is…


December 2, 2011
Alaskan Trio Sentenced for Wildlife, Firearms Crimes

Between September 2010 and March 2011, three Alaskan residents illegally sold and transported to a non-Alaska-Native buyer approximately 230 pounds of walrus tusks valued at approximately $22,000 and two polar bear hides for $2,700. The three have been sentenced after pleading guilty to federal felony charges for conspiracy, illegal firearms possession, and Lacey Act violations. Penalties in this cooperative investigation, which was lead by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service special agents with assistance from special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Alaska State troopers, included prison terms for two of the defendants and probation for the third defendant.


December 1, 2011
Kenai Refuge Cabin Reservations Now Online

Kenai Refuge offers sixteen public use cabins located throughout the refuge. Beginning on December 1, 2011, cabin reservations can be made online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Learn more....


November 15, 2011
Alaska's 2011 Youth in the Great Outdoors

This year, the Alaska Region of the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service employed 284 youth on refuges, rivers and conservation projects throughout the state of Alaska. The 2011 Youth in the Great Outdoors Report celebrates these amazing youth. The report follows some of their adventures from remote field camps throughout the state, to teaching science to children, and to habitat restoration in Anchorage city parks. To read more...


November 14, 2011
At the Alaska/Canadian Border

During the last week of September, three U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Inspectors collaborated with the Canadian Wildlife Service to detain and inspect vehicles coming in and out of Alaska at the Alcan Port of Entry near Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory. Their purpose was to enforce federal, state, foreign, and international wildlife laws and regulations; including the Endangered Species Act, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Lacey Act, Alaska State Hunting Regulations, and Canada’s Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. Read more...


November 3, 2011
Southwest Sea Otter and Short-tailed Albatross Recovery Articles Published

Articles about the recovery of two Alaskan species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are available in the Summer 2011 "Endangered Species Bulletin."

The southwest Alaska sea otter was listed as threatened in 2005 and the article titled "Evaluating Threats for the Southwest Alaskan Sea Otter" was written by Douglas Burn.

"Is it a Colony Yet?" was written by Judy Jacobs about the short-tailed albatross translocation project. This bird was listed as endangered under the ESA in 1973 outside the United States and in 2000 the listing was expanded to include inside the U.S. In addition, Judy published another article in the bulletin "What Does It Take to be a Successful Recovery Biologist?"


October 26, 2011
Annual List of Candidate Species for Endangered Species Act Released

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released its Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR), a yearly appraisal of the current status of plants and animals considered candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Service has enough information on their status and the threats they face to propose them as threatened or endangered, but developing a proposed listing rule is precluded by higher priority listing actions. “The candidate list offers the Service and our partners a unique opportunity to address the threats to these species through voluntary conservation efforts on public and private lands,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. The document is available at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/cnor.html.

In Alaska, the Fish and Wildlife Service manages three candidate species. The Pacific walrus was designated a candidate species in February 2011, and is on the CNOR for the first time. Two bird species, the Kittlitz's murrelet (a seabird) and the yellow-billed loon are also on the CNOR. This year, we changed the listing priority number for the Kittlitz's murrelet from a 2 to an 8 because we now consider the threats to this species to be low to moderate, rather than high. The section "Listing Priority Changes in Candidates" in the CNOR explains the rationale for our decision.

For more information on candidate species in Alaska, please contact Sonja Jahrsdoerfer at 907/786-3323 or Bruce Woods at 907/786-3695.


October 24, 2011
Connecting People with Nature: Let's Go Outside Website Has a New Look

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has launched a new web site, "Connecting People with Nature: Let’s Go Outside" aimed at engaging young kids in outdoor activities, and educating them about nature, helping to implement the Department of the Interior’s Youth in the Great Outdoors (hyperlinked to Youthgo.gov website) initiative. In addition, the Neighborhood Explorers online activity has been revamped to include a section on conservation careers.

Learn More
Neighborhood Explorers Activity


October 7, 2011
Report Illegal Northern Pike

A killer is stalking the waters of Southcentral Alaska! It is lurking in the shadows, ambushing wild salmon and trout. Many Southcentral lakes and streams are already empty of everything but the killer - northern pike. Soon many of our sportfishing opportunities may be gone. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is partnering with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game to address this issue. You can help report illegal introductions of invasive northern pike in Southcentral Alaska by calling the Alaska Department of Fish & Game invsive species hotline at 877-468-2748.

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association and Kenai River Professional Guide Association have partnered to offer a $5,000 reward leading to the conviction of someone introducing northern pike into Kenai Peninsula. Learn More...

See footage of these invaders in Southcentral Alaska, the damage they've caused, and how you can help by watching a short video on our youtube channel.


October 6, 2011
Celebrating America's Wildlife Legacy

October 9-15, 2011 marks National Wildlife Refuge Week. Since 1903, when Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wlidlife refuge at Pelican Island in Florida, the National Willife Refuge System has become the world's premier habitat conservation system, encompassing 150 million acres in 553 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. And more than 80% of the acreage in the entire Refuge System is in Alaska's 16 spectacular refuges.

Every year Refuge Week gives us an opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are to have America's wildlife legacy conserved within refuge lands, and how important it is to get out and enjoy these treasures. As winter begins here in the north, we begin to put a wrap on summer activities enjoyed withinn our refuges - camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, boating and more. As soon as temperatures are consistently below freezing these activities will be replaced by their winter counterparts - sking, snowshoeing,, winter camping, ice fishing, snow machining, and more. The best way to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week in Alaska is to get out onto refuge lands and enjoy them. In addition, during this week a number of special indoor events are happening around the state. Learn More...


September 30, 2011
Lots Purchased to Complete Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center Site in Homer

The purchase of five lots in Beluga Slough by a partnership of conservation groups headed by Sharon Baur of  Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges was feted at a National Public Lands Day Celebration Friday night September 23rd at Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in Homer, Alaska.  The purchase was funded by the Conservation Fund, Kachemak Bay Conservation Society and Moose Habitat, Inc.   Eighty five visitors and invited guests enjoyed a photo show of entrants in the “Picture the Heart of Homer” contest, a reception with refreshments provided by Alaska Geographic, music by local musician Sunrise Kilcher. In addition, a “Walk in Beauty:  Art along the Beluga Slough Trail”  featured luminaries and art made by Fireweed Academy (a charter school) students. After walking the lighted trail visitors were heard describing it as 'magical'. Read More...


September 13, 2011
2011 Alaska Fish Photo Contest

Alaska abounds with some pretty amazing fisheries resources. Help us celebrate Alaska’s fish and their importance to people and ecosystems by sending in your photos – we want to see all species in their different life stages from around the state! Photos you submit before November 1 will be entered in the 2011 Alaska Fish Photo Contest. Stewart’s Photo Shop in Anchorage is donating a Kodak Easyshare Sport waterproof camera to the winner. Photos submitted after that date will be entered in our 2012 contest. Help us spread the word! Read More...


September 12, 2011
Alaska Refuges’ Aquatic Ecosystem Studies Benefit from Partnerships

One of the mandated purposes for each of Alaska's National Wildlife Refuges is to ensure water quality and quantity. Surface water contained in the Alaska Refuge System’s 77 million acres consists of an abundance of rivers, lakes, wetlands, snowfields, and glaciers. These aquatic ecosystems remain a barometer for the health of the larger landscape. Changes in the water quality and quantity can impact fisheries, wildlife habitat and human health. Read More...


August 26, 2011
Anchorage’s Chester Creek Celebration

It rained hard the morning of Saturday, August 20th, but the weather didn’t deter the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Anchorage Field Office from hosting its first “Chester Creek Celebration” event. Starting at the restored channel at the outlet of Westchester Lagoon and heading a mile or so east on the Chester Creek trail, visitors had an opportunity to stroll and learn about a variety of topics from local Fish & Wildlife Service biologists and non-government partners. Each of the six tented stations focused on a different topic – habitat restoration, migratory birds, invasive species, water quality and contaminants, endangered species, and resident fish – with live organisms at all but one: guess which? Partners that assisted with the event included Audubon Alaska, Anchorage Waterways Council, and Citizens against Noxious Weeds Invading the North. The kids enjoyed fun activities and the adults had opportunities to tap the experts for information. For those hardy adults and energetic kids in rain gear, the weather was irrelevant!  


August 15, 2011
Service Seeks Public Comment on Future Management of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today opened public comment on a draft plan developed to ensure long-term conservation of fish, wildlife and plants, and to sustain outdoor recreational opportunities and environmental education and interpretation in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.


August 23, 2011
2011 Fish Mural Adventure!
Youth from the Fairview neighborhood of Anchorage got to get their feet wet and hands dirty in more ways than one during the first annual Fish Mural Adventure.  The Home Base After School Program, which provides local 4th-8th graders with “a safe, healthy, and nurturing home base," joined Fisheries Outreach Coordinator Katrina Mueller and summer Student Conservation Association interns Trish Barrere and Kristin Allgood for a two-part program: an overnight field trip (adventure) on the Kenai Peninsula followed by a fish mural painting event in Anchorage.  By partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Connecting People with Nature” program, Home Base youth learned about fisheries conservation and got connected with local fisheries resources and professionals. Learn More...


August 10, 2011
The Murrelet “Grand Slam”: Three Unusual Species Observed in the Same Bay, Same Day

For birders--professional and recreational—it’s always exciting to spot a species outside of its range.  In some cases, so little is known about a species that new sightings driven by taxonomic and genetic work can spur an increase in identification; and eventually an “expansion” of a species’ known range. Learn more...


August 4, 2011
Fire Season Mid-Summer Update

Alaska has had a quiet fire season so far this year, due to periodic rain and the lack of extended hot dry spells. As of August 1, 2011, 470 fires had burned 290,587 acres. That’s well below the same period last year, when 602 fires had burned 1,006,401 acres. Historically, about one million acres are burned by wildland fire in Alaska in an average year. As of August 1, 26 fires had burned 37,078 acres on national wildlife refuge lands in Alaska. Read more...


July 11, 2011
Training Alaskans to Fight Alaska Wildfires
During her training at the Alaska Wildfire Academy,  Joricha Thomas of Nikolai found herself challenged in ways she hadn’t expected.  There were the 5 a.m. wake-up calls, the physical training, the hours in the classroom, and time spent away from her 2-year-old daughter.  But Thomas, 20, also surprised herself by rising to the challenge.

“It was more than I expected, but I learned about not giving up.  I wanted to set an example for my daughter,” said Thomas, who is from the Athabascan village of Nikolai in Alaska’s Interior.  “I feel really proud of myself.”

For Cy Conrad, from the village of Tanana, the opportunity for a career fighting wildfires was worth the effort.
“I learned that the academy is a lot of hard work and it’s tough, but I also learned to be committed and it will pay off in the end,” said Conrad, 18. Read more...


July 27, 2011
Casting for Recovery
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Region’s Let’s Go Outside initiative encourages regional employees to “Give 8” to help people connect with nature. This program inspired Arctic Refuge employee Jennifer Reed to share one of her hobbies, while helping breast cancer survivors break through barriers to recovery. How did Jennifer “tie” together her interests with getting breast cancer survivors outside? She “Gave 8”and instructed fly fishing to Casting for Recovery retreat participants during the first-ever Fairbanks-based retreat, held July 17-19, 2011! By learning the rhythmic motion of fly casting in a natural setting where well-being can flourish, retreat participants receive an ideal physical therapy for the effects of breast cancer treatment and surgery. Read more...


June 30, 2011
Alaska: Warming Climate Presents Multiple Challenges for the Last Frontier

From loss of sea ice in the arctic, to changes in waterfowl nesting in the west, to record-setting forest pest outbreaks on the Kenai, the warming climate presents an array of challenges to fish, wildlife, plants, and people who inhabit America’s northernmost state.

50 stories /50 states /50 days - read more
Climate Change in Alaska in their own words - Interviews with Alaska Natives


June 22, 2011
2011 Alaska Weed Smackdown!
The first “Weed Smackdown” event was held in Fairbanks in 2010, in conjunction with Alaska Invasive Weed Awareness week, to create an opportunity for local residents and groups to have some outdoor fun while helping to contain the spread of invasive, non-native plants.  This week (June 19-25, 2011) is Invasive Weed Awareness Week in Alaska (see Governor’s Proclamation at: http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell/press-room/full-proclamation.html?pr=5802), and once again the weed warriors will be out in force to smack down some of these troublesome invaders.

Invasive species are species that do not naturally occur in the area (are non-native) and whose introduction can cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.  For example, a non-native plant might spread aggressively (invade) and completely overgrow surrounding native plants.  Some invasive plants can harm native fish and wildlife, while others can harm humans.  European bird cherry can poison moose; reed canarygrass and purple loosestrife can damage fish and bird habitats; Canada thistle and giant hogweed have spiny leaves or stems and can give people an itchy or even painful rash. Read more...


June 22, 2011
Forested Area Near Russian River Ferry is Closed
Deputy Refuge Manager, Stephen Miller, of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge announced today that a temporary closure of all public entry is in effect in the forested area on the north side of Kenai River near the Kenai-russian River Ferry. Access to fishing and fishing along the banks of the Kenai River remains open. The closure has been enacted due to heightened bear activity in the immediate area.

The closed area encompasses approximately 29 acres near the Russian River Ferry.


June 20, 2011
Federal Biologists, University Researchers, Local Fishermen Join in Sea Otter Research
A partnership among U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, University of Alaska researchers, local fishermen, charter boat operators, and community members recently culminated in a 2-week trip to capture, sample, and implant radios in 30 sea otters in southern Alaska, near the village of Kake. The Southern Southeast Alaska Sea Otter Project (http://seagrant.uaf.edu/research/projects/10/otter/ for more information) is an effort to conduct research on sea otter population growth in southern Southeast Alaska, and to provide information to a variety of audiences (including subsistence and commercial fishermen, wildlife and fisheries managers, and the general public) on the potential effects of a growing sea otter population on shellfish and other invertebrate species. As the numbers and range of sea otters in southeast Alaska have increased, so has concern among commercial and subsistence fishermen who harvest species that the animals prey upon.  This is the first time such a research effort has been mounted in southern southeast Alaska. Read more…
June 14, 2011
Girl Scouts Learn About “Alaska Invaders"
On June 3-4, 2011 approximately 1,000 Girl Scouts from across the state assembled in Palmer at the Alaska State Fairgrounds for the “Alaska Girl Scout Encampment 2011.” The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with the National Park Service and U. S. Forest Service, taught 114 girls and over 25 adults (troop leaders) in 1-hour sessions about biodiversity, native and non-native species and what invasive species are. Concepts were illustrated with games that had the girls up and participating in physical activities.  There were lots of pictures (of pike, reed canarygrass, tunicates) to show the girls, along with some actual specimens for them to put their hands on too (mostly weeds collected right there on-site, but also including samples of New Zealand  mudsnails & zebra mussels).  Learn more…

June 9, 2011
New USFWS Alaska Chief of Refuges Announced
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region announced today that Mr. Mitchell R. Ellis has been selected as the new Regional Refuge Chief for Alaska. Mr. Ellis most recently served as Refuge Manager for the Southwest Arizona National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Mitchell Ellis has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills over a 24-year career with the Fish and Wildlife Service, including field and Washington Office assignments, and has a long history of conservation accomplishments. Learn more…


June 6, 2011
Kids Help Restore Cottonwood Creek
Situated between Wasilla Creek to the east and Big Lake to the West, Cottonwood Creek flows through several lakes as it meanders through the city of Wasilla, Alaska and into the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet. While salmon, rainbow trout, and Dolly Varden char still make a decent living in the creek and its tributaries, localized habitat degradation and population declines have spurred local partners to help ensure fish populations remain strong in the fast-developing lower Matanuska-Susitna valley (so named for the two major rivers that flow through it). For these reasons, the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP) designated Cottonwood Creek as one of the nation’s 10 top “Waters to Watch” in 2011, and Wasilla Creek in 2010.

The cooperative spirit of a large scale effort to elevate fish habitat as a priority in the Mat-Su valley via the Mat-Su Salmon Habitat Partnership was evident this spring on a section of Cottonwood Creek just downstream of the Parks Highway.  With funding from NFHAP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wasilla Soil and Water Conservation District, Teeland Middle School, city of Wasilla, Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Plant Materials Center, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game teamed up to re-create a functioning riparian zone along a section of Cottonwood Creek.  


June 3, 2011
Let’s Go Fishing
June 4-12 is National Fishing and Boating Week across the nation.  Celebrate in the Anchorage area by taking your kids to the annual Kid's Fishing Day event Saturday, June 4, 10 am-2pm. The event is held at the Moose Flats campground in Alaska’s Portage Valley located in Chugach National Forest.  It is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service Glacier Ranger District, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Anchorage Municipality’s Watershed Management Division. 

Kids Fishing Day is designed to introduce young people, 13 years old and under, to the pleasures of recreational fishing and the importance of our fisheries and watershed resources.  Activities available to participating youngsters June 4th  will include a casting contest, making fish prints on commemorative t-shirts, a bait and fishing rod table for those who show up without any personal gear, appearances by Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl, a free lunch including hot dogs and drinks, a fly-tying booth, a display on Alaska Native traditional fishing gear, a raffle for fishing-related prizes, and, of course, the main attraction; fishing tanks full of hungry rainbow trout! Learn more...


May 25, 2011
Alaska Tribes Share Almost $600,000 in Federal Wildlife Grants

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that three Alaska tribes will receive a total of almost $600,000 in tribal wildlife grants. Tribal wildlife grants assist federally recognized tribes in carrying out activities that benefit fish and wildlife and their habitats.

The Native Village of Newtok’s grant will allow the Nelson Island Consortium to develop a Conservation Plan designed to protect, enhance, and restore Nelson Island’s wildlife and habitat in perpetuity. Press Release


May 25, 2011
Flying High
“Oooooh, look how high mine is!”
“They sound really weird!”
“Could I try one of the big ones?”
“Gramma, this is the most fun we’ve had in a long time.  Can we do it again next weekend?”

These are just a few of the comments we overheard on Tetlin NWR’s Connecting People With Nature Day, “Kites and Cranes.”  And rightly so, as it was fun and cranes do sound weird.

On Sat. April 30, we congregated at the Tetlin NWR headquarters and caravanned to a local kite-flying nirvana - there’s always a breeze – on Mount Fairplay, up the Taylor Highway.  En route we scouted for birds, which wasn’t all that successful as it was still a little early in the season.  But once we arrived at the giant pullout near the highest part of the road, wings filled the air.  Learn more....


May 20, 2011
Celebrating Japanese Recovery Champions
 Endangered Species Day 2011
Rob Suryan of Oregon State University, a long-standing partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in short-tailed albatross conservation efforts, presented Kiyoaki Ozaki and Tomohiro Deguchi of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology with a USFWS 2010 Recovery Champion Award. The presentation was made on Mukojima Island, site of short tailed albatross translocation efforts, the week of May 9th.

Learn more....


May 10, 2011
Practice Makes Perfect for Polar Bear/Industry Interaction

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region has a long history of working with industry to ensure that development projects in the Arctic proceed with the least possible risk to human safety and the lowest possible impacts to polar bears. Recently, events related to ExxonMobil’s Point Thomson Project, a drilling site some 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay, underscored the value of this ongoing cooperation. Learn more....


April 27, 2011
Information on Radiation and Alaska’s Wild Foods

The nuclear reactor accident in northeast Japan that was caused by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami has generated concerns about radiation exposure beyond Japan’s borders. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that, based on current information regarding the accident at the nuclear power plant in Japan, there’s no risk of exposure to concerning levels of radiation from consuming foods in the commercial U.S. food supply. Additionally, the risk of radiation from consuming subsistence foods in Alaska is expected to be extremely low due to the long distance between Japan and Alaska and the relatively few Alaska birds that might have been exposed to radiation from the incident.

In Alaska, an inter-agency group representing health, wildlife, and environmental scientists is working together to better understand the actual risk to subsistence food consumers and to update information if the situation changes. More information is available at the links below - More Information

April 22, 2011
Earth Day Birth Day: A Polar Bear Cub’s Strange Awakening
On March 18th 2011, a polar bear sow and her new cub emerged from their snow den on the Spy Island Drillsite, an artificial island constructed a few miles off the Beaufort Sea coast in northern Alaska.  When the pregnant mother bear entered her den, probably in October or early November of last year, there had been little or no human activity for several weeks on the small, artificial island. When she and her cub emerged, however, they found themselves on the edge of an active construction site.

ENI Petroleum, the Italian firm that built the offshore island, completed an ice road over the frozen Beaufort Sea from nearby Oliktok Point in February.  Equipment, material and workers were moved over the ice road and construction had begun when workers were surprised by the bears. Following a response plan previously approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ENI immediately ceased operations, evacuated personnel, established a one mile no-disturbance zone around the bears, and contacted the Service.
Giving the Land a Voice
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Wildlife Refuge Association invite youth, ages 15-24, to have a voice in the Refuge System’s vision process, Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation. Young people are asked to use the art medium of their choice – poster, podcast, or written media – to answer the question: What kind of future do you want for America’s wildlife and wildlands? Entries are due May 27, 2011.

April 2011
Summer Jobs for Students  

Calling all high school and college students! School will end in a couple of months.  Check out summer jobs and internships with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska. Hear from students that worked for us last year on this YouTube clip. There are positions of all kinds – both in the field and in the office. Email us about Student Internship or Youth Conservation Corps opportunities with questions or to express your interest.

Learn more about job programs for students …
Check out current openings for students…


March 7, 2011
USFWS Selects “No Action Alternative” and Issues “Finding of No Significant Impact,” on Unimak Island EA

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released today its decision related to an Environmental Assessment (EA) of management alternatives for the Unimak Island caribou herd (UCH). In December, 2010, the Service, in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), prepared an EA to analyze management options for responding to the declining Unimak Island caribou herd. The EA was released to the public at that time, initiating a public comment period that extended through January 31, 2011 and produced approximately 95,000 comments. In consideration of the public comments received, and following a thorough evaluation of pertinent laws, refuge regulations, and policy, the Service has decided that the No Action alternative is warranted at this time, and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact resulting from that decision.


Salazar Announces Draft Vision for Future of Refuge System
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced a draft vision plan to guide the growth and management of the National Wildlife Refuge System.  The draft document, developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Wildlife Refuge Association, articulates a 10-year vision for the Refuge System.

The vision document, entitled Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation, offers nearly 100 draft recommendations to protect and improve the world’s premier system of public lands and water set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants for the continuing benefit of the American people.  Starting today, the draft document will be available for public comment until Earth Day, April 22, 2011. 

President Obama Announces Plan for Community-Based Conservation through the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama announced the Administration’s action plan, under the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, to achieve lasting conservation of the outdoor spaces that power our nation’s economy, shape our culture, and build our outdoor traditions. By making the Federal Government a better partner with American communities, this initiative seeks to reinvigorate our approach to conservation and reconnect Americans, especially young people, with the lands and waters that are used for farming and ranching, hunting and fishing, and for families to spend quality time together. Recognizing that many of these places and resources are disappearing and under intense pressure, the President established the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative last April to work with the American people in developing a conservation and recreation agenda that makes sense for the 21st century.


April 27, 2011
Celebrate Birds This May

Across the nation, on or around the second Saturday in May, we celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. For Alaskans, the arrival of migratory birds is a long awaited sign of spring. The woods once again are alive with sound and activity. Take a few hours to enjoy and learn about our migratory birds by attending a bird event in your community. Learn more...


March 22, 2011
USFWS Alaska Announces National Science Excellence Award Winners

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the recipients of the Service’s Science Leadership and Rachel Carson awards for 2010. The awards recognize Service employees for significant contributions to expanding knowledge in the scientific, conservation, and wildlife management fields. The Alaska Region’s Conservation Genetics Laboratory’s Mixed-Stock Analysis Rapid Response Team was selected over groups from across the country for the Rachel Carson award. Learn more...

March 21, 2011
USFWS Alaska Announces Two Recovery Champion Awards

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould announced today the recipients of the Service’s 2010 Recovery Champion awards. These awards recognize U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and their partners for contributions to the recovery of threatened and endangered species. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska employee, and a Japanese institution that has been a valuable partner to the Service in Alaska, were among those honored. Learn more...


February 10, 2011
Pacific Walrus to be Designated a Candidate for Endangered Species Protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has determined that the Pacific walrus warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but an official rulemaking to propose that protection is currently precluded by the need to address other higher priority species. As a result, the walrus will be added to the agency’s list of candidates for ESA protection and its future status will be reviewed annually.

The Service’s determination – also known as a 12-month finding – that sufficient scientific and commercial data exist to warrant protecting the Pacific walrus under the ESA was made after a comprehensive review of the best available scientific information concerning the walrus and the threats it faces. This review found that the walrus is primarily threatened by the loss of sea ice in its arctic habitat due to climate change.


February 10, 2011
Service Publishes Proposed Incidental Take Regulations for Walrus and Polar Bear

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Alaska Region will publish in the Federal Register tomorrow proposed Incidental Take Regulations (ITR) for the non-lethal, incidental take of small numbers of polar bears and Pacific walrus associated with ongoing oil and gas activities on the North Slope region of Alaska. Learn more...


February 9, 2011
Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Reclassification of Wood Bison from “Endangered” to “Threatened”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced it has prepared a status review of the wood bison (Bison bison athabascae), which is listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as endangered. After evaluating the best scientific and commercial data available, the Service has determined that reclassifying the species from endangered to threatened is warranted. Learn more...


January 3, 2011
Fish and Wildlife Service Will Not Conduct Status Review for Alaska Breeding Red Knot Subspecies

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced a petition seeking to protect the roselaari subspecies of red knot (Calidris canutus roselaari) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) does not present substantial information to indicate that protection may be warranted. Therefore, the Service will not initiate a status review in response to this petition.

The red knot (Calidris canutus) is a medium-sized (9 to 11 inches in length), Arctic-breeding shorebird. The breeding plumage of the red knot is distinctive: the face, breast, and upper belly are a rich rufous-red, and the lower belly and under tail-coverts are light-colored with dark flecks. Learn more...


December 2010
Final Report on Rat Island Eradication Effort Nontarget Mortality Released

An evaluation of the higher than expected nontarget mortality associated with the 2008 rat-eradication efforts on Rat Island is now available. Prepared by the Ornithological Council, the report maintains that "the success of the eradication effort and the likely conservation benefit of the rat eradication was slightly marred by the discovery in 2009 of approximately 422 bird carcasses on the island." The report includes straightforward recommendations for future rodent eradication projects that should reduce the risks to nontarget species. You can read the complete report Learn more...


December 20, 2010
Work and Play through the Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program

“Everybody Loves Whales” wasn’t the only movie-making news in Alaska recently. The “Animal Planet” television network filmed a special on wood bison at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, thanks to grants through Region 7’s Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration program (WSFR). The mission of the program is to provide grant funds to fish and wildlife agencies for projects designed to restore, conserve, manage, and enhance fish, birds, and mammals and their habitats for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations. Learn more...


December 17, 2010
USFWS Seeks Comments on Draft Assessment of Unimak Island Wolf and Caribou Issues

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (Department), has prepared an EA to analyze management options, including a No Action alternative, for responding to the declining Unimak Island caribou herd (UCH). Learn more...


December 15, 2010
An Outdoorsperson's Dream Job?

If the lure of wild places and wide spaces calls to you, and if you’d rather stare into the embers of a camp fire than a computer monitor, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region might just have the job(s) you’re looking for. Learn more...


December 10, 2010
Celebrate Alaska's Refuges this December

Fifty years ago on December 6, 1960, two historic refuges were established: Arctic and Izembek National Wildlife Refuges. In addition, on December 2,1980 the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter.

For Arctic Refuge's 50th celebration, a series of events in early December will feature a new film, new photo exhibit and book, and a new original stage production. These will be touring Fairbanks, Homer and Anchorage.

The 50th anniversary celebrations for Izembek Refuge featured an exhibit by photographers Tom Collopy and Mary Frisch. During October and November, 2010, the photo exhibit was displayed in Anchorage, Homer, and Juneau. Learn more...


November 24, 2010
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Final Designation of Polar Bear Critical Habitat

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today designated more than 187,000 square miles of barrier islands, on-shore denning areas, and offshore sea-ice as critical habitat for the threatened polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.

The designation identifies geographic areas containing features considered essential for the conservation of the bear that require special management or protection.

“This critical habitat designation enables us to work with federal partners to ensure their actions within its boundaries do not harm polar bear populations,” said Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “Nevertheless, the greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of its sea ice habitat caused by human-induced climate change. We will continue to work toward comprehensive strategies for the long-term survival of this iconic species.” Learn more...


November 16, 2010
25th Anniversary for Coastal Program

The U.S. Fish Wildlife Service’s Coastal Program is celebrating its 25th year of conserving coastal wetlands and habitats for fish and wildlife across the country. This remarkable program received the Restoration Partnership Award at the Restore America’s Estuaries Conference, which recognizes an individual or group who has demonstrated their dedication, commitment and passion for estuary habitat restoration. Learn more...

The Alaska Coastal Program, established in 2000, provides Federal funds and technical assistance for coastal conservation efforts throughout Southcentral Alaska, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska Gulf Coast, and Southeast Alaska, with particular focus on projects benefiting migratory birds, anadromous fish, marine mammals, and endangered species and their habitats. Learn more...


November 2010
Have a Say in Your Refuge System's Future

What should your National Wildlife Refuge System be like over the next 20 years? Now — and in the months ahead — is the perfect time to weigh in. The National Wildlife Refuge System, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is drafting a new vision for the 107-year-old network of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants. The vision will be the centerpiece of its "Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation" conference the week of July 10 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Conference teams, building on a 1998 document called "Fulfilling the Promise," are focusing their goals on conservation design, planning and delivery; science; relevance; and leadership. Drafts of team documents will be posted at http://www.americaswildlife.org, where the public can read them and comment on them. Learn more about Alaska's National Wildlife Refuges at http://alaska.fws.gov/nwr/nwr.htm


October 19, 2010
Celebrate Izembek Refuge's 50th Anniversary

A 50th anniversary celebration of Izembek Refuge’s establishment will be hosted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges on Friday, October 22 from 5:00-7:00 pm at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Wendy Williamson Auditorium. The event opens the “Incredible Izembek” photo exhibit which may be viewed until November 2, 2010. Learn more..


October 12, 2010
Draft Recovery Plan for the Southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment of the Northern Sea Otter

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our draft recovery plan for the southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the northern sea otter (Enydra lutris kenyoni), listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Our recovery plan describes the status, current management, recovery objectives and criteria, and specific actions needed to enable us to delist the southwest Alaska DPS. We request review and comment on our plan from local, State, and Federal agencies and the public. We will also accept any new information on the species’ status throughout its range.  Learn more..


October 6, 2010
USFWS Announces Final Polar Bear Deterrence Guidelines

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has announced final deterrence guidelines that may be safely used to deter a polar bear without seriously injuring or causing the death of the animal. The deterrence guidelines, which take effect November 5, 2010, are voluntary and are intended to reduce occurrences of interactions between bears and humans in manners safe for both. They provide clear guidance for minimizing incidental encounters with polar bears, but will not change the legal status quo for any activities in Alaska. News Release


October 1, 2010
Mapping Kenai's Soundscape

Why does Tim Mullet plan to collect moose poop for a two-year study of noise levels on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.  Because bagging moose pellets is safer and easier than taking blood samples from wild horned animals weighing half a ton and up.

Mullet, a biological technician at Kenai Refuge and a PhD candidate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will test the moose poop for levels of glucocorticoids — hormones that are indicators of animal stress.  Chronic high levels of these hormones can lower wildlife densities and displace animals from preferred habitat. Mullet hopes to find out whether exposure to human-made noise causes such stress. Learn more..


August 30, 2010
Rat Island is officially rat-free

Restoration for Aleutian seabirds brings new life to refuge island
Biologists who are restoring seabird habitat on a remote island in Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge confirmed today that Rat Island is now rat-free. The report comes after two years of careful field monitoring at Rat Island, where the invasive predator decimated native seabird populations by preying on eggs and chicks.   Learn more..


September 22, 2010
North Slope Walrus Haul-out Update
There has been considerable interest in the recent appearance of large numbers of Pacific walrus hauled out on beaches in the vicinity of Point Lay, Alaska. The purpose of this release is to provide updated material on the situation and on the steps the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are taking to protect the walrus until they move on. News Release


August 26, 2010
An island’s rebirth: Life emerges after a catastrophic volcanic eruption
A secluded island in the Aleutian chain is revealing secrets of how land and marine ecosystems react to and recover from a catastrophic volcanic eruption that appeared at first glance to destroy all life on the island. Yet little by little – a wingless beetle here, a tuft of grass there, Kasatochi, an island in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge rarely studied by scientists before its Aug. 7, 2008, volcanic eruption, is showing signs of recovery Learn more


August 18, 2010
Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Joins in Swan Study
Each year, large groups of molting tundra swans stage near coastal regions of Kotzebue Sound.  As part of an effort to monitor Alaska’s migratory birds for avian influenza, biologists from Migratory Bird Management, Selawik NWR, Koyukuk/Nowitna NWR, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) teamed up for the final year of a 5-year study to sample and mark tundra swans.  Since 2006, Migratory Bird Management has spearheaded the project, working with collaborative crews to capture and sample more than 850 swans in this region. Learn more


August 2010
Highlighting Summer Employment
The US Fish & Wildlife Service hires students interested in obtaining future careers in Conservation under a few different programs. These programs include Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), Student Conservation Association (SCA), Student Temporary Experience Program (STEP), Student Career Experience Program (SCEP), Student Education Employment Program and internships. The FWS also contributed to a portion of the funding for the Youth Employment in Parks program in Anchorage. These employment options significantly benefit the FWS by constructing a new generation of trained workers and fresh ideas.  A STEP student in External Affair was hired to produce short video clips illustrating these programs and the work of Alaska’s field stations.  A series will be available for viewing as the stories are finished.

The goal of the Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) program is to positively engage a new generation of diverse youth leaders with the environment and the Anchorage community through meaningful training, employment, and outdoor recreation.  Crews built a rain garden with funding from the Municipality of Anchorage Raingarden program and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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July 22, 2010
Fairbanks’ 1st Annual Weed Smackdown a Success
“Can you pull more weeds than the Fairbanks Rollergirls?” In response to that challenge, eighty-eight people hefted green bags and dug weeds on June 26th from 10:00am – 1:00pm at the Tanana Lakes Recreation Area in Fairbanks, Alaska. The event included an orientation and weed identification session, 1 ½ hours of weed pulling, followed by a weed weigh-in, lunch, and awards ceremony. There is a growing problem with invasive weeds in Alaska. These plants are aggressive non-native invaders that have the ability to spread rapidly and out-compete native plants for growing space. Learn more..


June 30, 2010
BioBlitz Southeast Alaska
At noon on Saturday, June 26, the starting gun for BioBlitz Southeast Alaska went off, opening a 24-hour effort by scientists and the public to document every species in the Fish Creek watershed near Juneau. At the closing gun, at noon on Sunday, the 400 participants had documented 763 species, with more to be added as scientists finish up the identifications of plants and invertebrates that will take additional study Learn more..


June 10, 2010
Upload Your Nature Images to the New Flickr Group “Let’s Go Outside”
This summer, get out into nature and see some wildlife – in your backyard, at a local park or on a nearby national wildlife refuge. You'll create family memories to last a lifetime, and if you take your digital camera, you can capture these memories and share them through a new Flickr group called “Let’s Go Outside.” Upload images of yourself, your family and friends outside in nature; use Flickr’s Map function to identify where your photos were taken; blog about particular photos and your experiences in nature; and chat on the Flickr Discussion board with other group members about their favorite places to go. You can even upload images from your cell phone. Check it out at http://www.flickr.com/groups/1385215@N24/
For more information visit http://www.fws.gov/letsgooutside/


June 10, 2010
U.S.- Russia Polar Bear Commission Meets in Anchorage
The 2nd meeting of the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission was held from June 7-9 in Anchorage, Alaska. The group, which consists of representatives from the United States and Russia representing federal, state, and Native interests, first met in Moscow in September of 2009.  This meeting follows on the heels of the first annual meeting of the Commission’s Scientific Working Group, held in Anchorage from March 1st through the 5th of this year. The Scientific Working Group was formed to assist the Commission in resolving questions pertaining to the protection and management of the Alaska-Chukotka Polar Bear Population. Learn more..(pdf)


June 7, 2010
Decision Reached in Hearing on Unimak Island Predator Control
At a hearing today, District Judge H. Russel Holland announced his decision relative to the State of Alaska’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have allowed the State to conduct aerial predator control on Unimak Island in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. In that decision the Judge concluded that a Preliminary Injunction could not be granted in this case because the State failed to make the requisite showing that the Fish and Wildlife Service had withheld or unreasonably delayed action.  He also stated that there had not been a final agency action that would result from an analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. Learn more..(pdf)


June 2, 2010
Two Rivers School: Creating Green Spaces for Better Learning
Working with an innovative teacher and a group of enthusiastic students, USFWS Alaska is in the process of creating a “Learning Landscape” for the Two Rivers School’s kindergarten through 8th grade pupils. The project grew out of a history lesson that teacher Kim Kelly developed to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary last spring, and has bloomed into a cooperative effort among the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, and the Service. It involves the creation of a trail from Two Rivers School to an eight-acre parcel on which the original school was located 50 years ago (now called the "old school grounds"). From this main trail, a smaller pathway will lead to a new landing on a pond located on the current school campus. Learn more..


May 31, 2010
The Region 7 Regional Office Celebrates 2010 Bike to Work Day
It could have been much worse, but not much better.  The weather in May can be unpredictable, but U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office employees were greeted with a glorious sunny morning to celebrate the national 2010 Bike to Work Day. 

In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, Regional Director Geoff Haskett rode his bike to work and invited all Regional Office employees to do the same.  All in all, 18 bikers chose to ride to work on May 21st. The Municipality of Anchorage set up several bike stations where riders were able to stop and grab a drink or a bite to eat, and received a t-shirt for their participation in the 2010 event.  Tracy Fischbach of Refuges organized the Region 7 team, and 20 people signed up.  The regular bike commuters like Assistant Regional Director Todd Logan and Amber O’Brien of Office of Subsistence Management convinced others to sign up and try it for a day.  Others, like Judy Jacobs of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration chose to bike to work all week.  Kevin Painter of Visitor Services rode his bike all the way from Eagle River, more than 20 miles!  Learn more. (pdf)


May 20, 2010
Successful breeding of Steller’s eiders continues at the Alaska SeaLife Center
In July 2009, Steller’s eider ducklings again brightened the day for staff at the Alaska SeaLife Center when a total of 9 healthy ducklings hatched. This event marked the second time Steller’s eiders bred and hatched ducklings at the Center, as a result of efforts to develop captive breeding methods and protocols for this threatened species. Learn more..


May 2010
Anchorage 2nd Grader Wins National Art Contest

Carter Schroeder, a 2nd grader at Rilke Schule German School of Arts and Sciences in Anchorage, was recently awarded the Grand Prize in the national Endangered Species Day art contest. Carter's painting showed a polar bear and a beluga whale in their sea-ice habitats. Carter and his Dad, Mark Schroeder, enjoy learning about polar bears by reading books and articles, and hope to see polar bears in the wild some day.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Coalition, Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Ogden Museum of Southern Art/University of New Orleans sponsored this contest, which was intended to help kids learn about and promote the conservation of endangered species through art. The winners were chosen by a prestigious panel of artists, photographers, actors, scientists and conservationists including Jeff Corwin, host of Animal Planet’s Jeff Corwin Experience; and Jack Hanna, host of Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild. Artwork of the 40 semifinalists will be displayed at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, in a special exhibition from May 13 to July 4, 2010. Learn More (pdf).


May 12, 2010
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Announces more than $22,000 Grant for Neotropical Migratory Birds and Habitat Conservation
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced more than $4.9 million in grants for 37 projects that support Neotropical migratory bird conservation throughout the Western Hemisphere. Matched by more than $14.8 million in additional funds from partners, the projects will support habitat restoration, environmental education, population monitoring, and other priority activities within the ranges of neotropical birds in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and 27 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Learn more (pdf)


June 30, 2010
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Draft Economic Analysis of Polar Bear Critical Habitat
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announces a draft economic analysis of the potential impacts of designating critical habitat for the threatened polar bear. The Service also announces it will reopen the public comment period on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Both measures will be subject to a 60-day comment period that will open upon publication in the Federal Register on May 5, 2010. Learn more...


April 23, 2010
Great Outdoor Careers for Youth
The U.S. Department of the Interior, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, manages America’s backyard, and it’s our job to make sure that backyard is available for all young people to enjoy. To this end the Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative will employ, educate, and engage young people from all backgrounds in exploring, connecting with and preserving America’s natural and cultural heritage. Through employment and educational opportunities offered by the Department, youth will have a key role in creating a new energy frontier, tackling climate change issues, empowering Native communities, building trails, enhancing wildlife habitat, and restoring our cultural and historic landmarks. Learn more...


April 19, 2010
Celebrate Earth Day by Volunteering this Summer
On Earth Day, April 22, 2010, the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges will celebrate by inviting the public to a short presentation in Anchorage about Alaska’s 16 National Wildlife Refuges and volunteer opportunities available. The event will be at the BP Energy Center, 900 East Benson Blvd., Anchorage, Alaska from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Free pizza, refreshments and prizes will be available to those attending. Contact akrefugefriends@gmail.org for more event information.

This summer, Friends will help refuges with over 40 projects including: celebrating Arctic Refuge’s 50th Anniversary, a native plant garden at Kenai Refuge, an invasive weed pull on the Dalton Highway, and habitat restoration at Tetlin Refuge. Friends provide most travel costs for our members to volunteer with projects. More

Conservation Planning Update for the Arctic Refuge Begins
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that the Service is beginning an update of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s 22 year-old Comprehensive Conservation Plan that will establish goals and objectives and include wilderness and wild and scenic river reviews. A comprehensive conservation plan is required for each national wildlife refuge, guides stewardship of the refuge and is normally updated every 15 years.


February 22, 2010
Service Mourns Loss of Director Sam Hamilton
“Visionary” Leader a Career 30-year Service Employee

The conservation world lost one of its most dynamic leaders Saturday, as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Sam D. Hamilton died suddenly while skiing in Colorado following a Service regional leadership meeting which ended Friday. Hamilton, 54, was a career Fish and Wildlife Service employee whose vision and commitment to wildlife conservation was unmatched. He will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues in the Service and across the conservation community. The thoughts and prayers of Fish and Wildlife Service employees go out to Sam’s family.


December 23, 2009
New Eagle Permit Web Site
Two new permits are available through the Service that allow for the take of eagles and their nests under certain, specific conditions. Since November 2009, the Service has been accepting applications under CFR 22.26 and 22.27 that provide for the issuance of these permits under regulations developed for the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. While the bald eagle was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a permit was available to take bald eagles incidental to an otherwise lawful activity. Alaska was not included in these permit issuances because Bald Eagles were not listed here. However, since the delisting in 2007, there have been no regulations under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to allow disturbance and other incidental take of either species of eagle; the new regulations establish permits for activities or projects that result in such take.

The Region 7 Eagle Permit Implementation Team has developed a website that will help applicants, Service employees and the public understand the new permit process. You can view Alaska's Eagle Permit Program website. For additional information contact the Permit Office at 907-786-3685.


December 29, 2009
Final Stock Assessment Reports for Walrus and Polar Bear Available
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has revised marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs) for the two stocks of polar bear and the Pacific walrus in Alaska. The purpose of SARs is to identify marine mammal stocks most affected by interactions with commercial fisheries. These reports are periodically updated to reflect the most current information. Draft versions of these reports were published in the Federal Register on June 18th, and that publication was followed by a 90-day period during which the drafts were available for public review and comment. 

Stock assessments use the best available scientific information to describe the geographic range, minimum population estimate, current population trend, annual human-caused mortality and serious injury, and commercial fisheries interactions for each marine mammal stock. There are six marine mammal stocks in Alaska that fall under the jurisdiction of the Fish and Wildlife Service; of these six, the Service previously updated the SARs for the three northern sea otter stocks in 2008. The SARs find that polar bear and walrus stocks have minimal commercial fisheries interaction.


March 24, 2010
Queen Charlotte Goshawk Listing in Canada Proposed
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today its proposal to list the British Columbia distinct population segment (DPS) of the Queen Charlotte goshawk (Accipiter gentilis laingi) as threatened, (except on the Queen Charlotte Islands, which the agency considers to be a significant portion of the DPS’s range, where we propose to list the goshawk as endangered), under the Endangered Species Act.


June 30, 2010
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Polar Bear Critical Habitat

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a proposal to designate critical habitat for the polar bear, and will open a 60-day public comment period on the measure. The critical habitat proposal identifies habitat in three separate areas or units: barrier island habitat, sea ice habitat and terrestrial denning habitat.


June 30, 2010
Service Designates Critical Habitat for Threatened Population of Sea Otters
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the designation of critical habitat for the southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment of the northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. In December 2008, we proposed designating approximately 5,900 square miles of nearshore, marine waters as critical habitat for this threatened population of sea otters.  An economic analysis indicated that designation of critical habitat would not result in a large economic impact to residents of southwest Alaska.  After consideration of the economic analysis, public comments submitted in writing and at one public hearing, the final designation is essentially unchanged from what we originally proposed.


October 1, 2009
Trampling Likely Cause of Icy Cape Walrus Deaths
Trampling by other walruses was the most likely cause of death of 131 walruses carcasses found on the shore near Icy Cape, Alaska, according to an investigative team. The carcasses, the majority of which were young animals, were discovered along the beach above the high-tide line on Sept. 14 by a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) survey crew in the area. 

In response to the discovery, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put together a team comprised of representatives from USFWS, USGS, the Alaska SeaLife Center and the North Slope Borough to determine the extent and cause of the die-off.  The National Marine Fisheries Service provided additional financial and technical support, with hunters from Barrow and Wainwright also assisting in the investigation. More...

September 15, 2010
Protection of Pacific Walrus Under the Endangered Species Act
May Be Warranted, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finds

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that a petition to protect the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) under the Endangered Species Act presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that adding the species to the federal list of threatened and endangered species may be warranted. This preliminary finding is based, in part, upon projected changes in sea ice habitats associated with climate change.

As a result, the Service is initiating a more detailed status review to determine if listing the species is warranted and opening a 60-day public comment period in order to give all interested parties an opportunity to provide information on the status of the Pacific walrus throughout its range. The 60-day public comment period will close November 9, 2009.


July 1, 2009
No Rats Found, Lab Results on Six Bird Tests Received

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received laboratory results on an initial group of bird carcasses collected on Rat Island in late May and Early April. Examination of the livers of two bald eagles, two glaucous winged gulls, one peregrine falcon, and one rock sandpiper all tested positive for the rodenticide brodifacoumWe are in the process of analyzing all of the viable bird remains and tissue samples collected, in order to more fully understand the cause of mortalities and more effectively plan future operations in the Aleutians. Results will be released when they are available. In addition, soil and water samples were collected, and will be analyzed to more fully understand the potential movement of the rodenticide into, and degradation from, the ecosystem. Learn more...

Last updated: June 5, 2014