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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

Partnership to Prevent Extinctions Strengthened

Hawadax Island
After centuries of damage to native birds and plant species from introduced invasive Norway rats, the Service, Island Conservation and The Nature Conservancy removed the rats from Hawadax Island (once known as Rat Island). Photo by Island Conservation


Do you know one of the most effective ways to prevent extinctions or Endangered Species listings? Removing invasive alien species from islands! And recently, the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Island Conservation strengthened a partnership to do just that. The Service’s Assistant Director for International Affairs, Bryan Arroyo, and Island Conservation’s North American Regional Director, Gregg Howald, have more:

Forty percent of our world’s plants and animals, thousands of them threatened with extinction, rely on just 5 percent of the Earth’s surface area, islands. Unfortunately, the natural balance of more than 90 percent of our world’s islands are disrupted due to damaging, non-native invasive species.

Of the 245 recorded animal extinctions since 1500, 80 percent were on islands and invasive species were responsible for the majority of them.

The good news is that the removal of invasive species from islands is one of the most effective interventions for saving imperiled species and restoring island ecosystems. This has successfully been done thousands of times; and some of the most important island restoration projects were done through partnerships involving the Service and Island Conservation.

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A Vital Partnership Takes Root, And Urban Kids Will Benefit

Sigmas tour Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Emile Pitre


One year ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a new partnership with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., one of the nation’s oldest and most prominent African-American fraternities. Since then, we’ve made great progress toward our shared goal of working together to help urban youth across the country to both experience the natural world and explore future careers in wildlife conservation.

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Conservation Success!

 greater sage grouse
Greater sage grouse. Photo by USFWS

Thanks in large part to the extraordinary efforts of our amazing Service employees, as well as federal, state and private partners, Secretary Sally Jewell today announced one of the greatest conservation success stories in a generation – the long-term protection of the Bi-state population of the greater sage grouse without the need to list the bird under the Endangered Species Act.

Why so significant?  As we have been discussing for years in the Service, conservation in the 21st century requires that we look across landscapes – across federal jurisdictions, across land ownership, across state boundaries – if we are to meet our mission responsibilities to conserve imperiled species and their habitat.   

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