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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

Malheur Refuge Occupation Ends Peacefully

Close up view of greater sandhill crane showing the characteristic red forehead
The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge provides important breeding grounds for greater sandhill cranes and other birds. Credit: Roger Baker / USFWS

As I write this, the armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has just ended: 41 days of shock, disbelief, disappointment, frustration, anger, followed with dedication, preparation, perseverance, pride, compassion, and ultimately, relief that it is all over. And realizing that a new phase—repatriation and recovery of the refuge—is just beginning.

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Beginning a New Era in Tribal Relations

Tribal biologists
Funded by a Fish and Wildlife Service Tribal Wildlife Grant, Skokomish Tribal Members work to safely capture, collar and release elk.

Across our nation, federally recognized Tribes, Alaska Native villages and Hawaiian and Pacific Island Natives protect and conserve more than 56 million acres of wildlife habitat. More than that, Native Americans have a unique relationship to the land and wildlife we all share.

Native communities across Indian Country are protecting and restoring some of North America’s most vulnerable wildlife. From the Nez Pearce Tribe, who stepped in and played a key role in the recovery of the gray wolf in Idaho, to the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma’s construction and management of the Grey Snow Eagle Rehabilitation House, to the Sauk-Sauk-Suiattle Tribe’s efforts to conserve the North Cascade mountain goat – examples of the great conservation work carried out by Tribes and funded through the Service’s Tribal Wildlife Grant Program are everywhere.

Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is set to begin a new chapter in our agency’s expanding relationships with Native peoples. This week it was my privilege to sign the Service’s new Native American Policy, in a ceremony at the Department of the Interior that included dozens of Service employees and Tribal leaders.

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Strengthening and Restoring Latinos’ Historic Connection to the Land

 LULAC Youth Council to the Red Butte Garden
Members of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management led the LULAC Youth Council on a tour of Red Butte Garden in July in Utah. Photo by BLM


The history of the United States, and the relationship of its people to the land, cannot be told without recognizing the influence and contributions of men and women of Hispanic descent. In the decades to come, the descendants of the Hispanics and Latinos who settled much of our nation will play an even greater role in shaping its future as citizens and leaders.

NEW: Blog en Español

That’s why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the historic contributions of Hispanics and Latinos to the United States – and by working to forge and strengthen the connection Americans of Hispanic and Latino descent have with their natural heritage.

This week, I signed a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the League of United Latin American Citizens, (LULAC), the nation’s oldest Latino advocacy group. Together, we will work to increase participation by Latino families and kids in fishing and other outdoor recreation, and engage Latinos in monarch butterfly conservation.

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