State fish and wildlife agencies resolved to partner with the Service and others to develop and implement strategies to help our native fish, wildlife and habitats adapt to a changing climate. At the annual meeting of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies held September 11, 2013, the 50 state fish and wildlife agency directors, along with representatives from several federal and Canadian agencies, passed a resolution of support for the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy.
The Service today proposed listing the rufa red knot as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The range of the robin-sized bird includes 25 countries and 40 US states and it uses areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts during its annual migration from the Arctic to South America. Changing climate conditions are affecting the bird's food supply, the timing of its migration and its breeding habitat in the Arctic. The shorebird is also losing areas within its range to sea level rise, shoreline projects and development.
The Idaho Aquarium and two former employees have pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges in connection with the illegal harvest and interstate sale of spotted eagle rays and lemon sharks from Florida waters. In a separate criminal proceeding, the nephew of one defendant was sentenced for obstruction of justice for attempting to destroy records documenting the trafficking.
Two Florida men admitted in federal court that they conspired to harvest and transport marine species from the Florida Keys to buyers throughout the United States and overseas. Live rock and attached invertebrates, sea fans and bonnethead, lemon and nurse sharks were among the species unlawfully collected by these marine life dealers from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Service national wildlife refuges and state waters.
The Service announced a multi-faceted Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative to make its programs reflect the diverse perspectives, values and cultures of America. The initiative strives to make the Service's programs far more relevant to millions of Americans, 80 percent of whom live in big and small cities, giving them myriad ways to participate in wildlife conservation and recreation.
The Service announced today it will conduct a status review of 10 foreign sturgeon species under provisions of the Endangered Species Act. This determination indicates there may be substantial information supporting a move to list the species as threatened or endangered.
Restoring the Gulf of Mexico following years of degradation and in the wake of the nation's largest oil spill will require a large-scale, long-term, multi-partner effort. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its Vision for a Healthy Gulf of Mexico Watershed, intended to catalyze conversation across borders with many state, federal, non-governmental and private partners to help focus our collective restoration efforts.
In advance of National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 28th, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to expand fishing and hunting opportunities throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System, opening up new hunting programs on six refuges and expanding existing hunting and fishing programs on another 20 refuges. The proposed rule also modifies existing refuge-specific regulations for more than 75 additional refuges and wetland management districts.
To recognize the Endangered Species Act's (ESA) 40th anniversary, each week we feature a different state and its unique story. This week we learn about restoring habitat for the eastern massasauga, a rattlesnake in New York that is a candidate for ESA protection. The Service is working with partners to restore degraded swamps and turn them into basking and breeding habitat for one of the state's rarest reptilian residents.ESA 40th Anniversary »
September 20 marks the second anniversary of the Save Vanishing Species (Tiger) Stamp. In two years, more than 23.4 million stamps have been sold raising more than $2 million for the Service's Wildlife Without Borders' international conservation funds. The funds help save tigers, elephants, rhinos, great apes and marine turtles. The Service is teaming with the Detroit Tigers to promote the Tiger Stamp and raise awareness of critical conservation efforts.
An Irish national known to be part of the Rathkeale Rovers, an organized crime group operating throughout Europe and North America, faces federal felony prosecution in connection with his role in a rhino horn smuggling ring. The defendant is the 15th individual arrested to date by Service special agents as part of Operation Crash, an undercover investigation into the black market trade in rhino horn.
The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) now has a new quarterly newsletter. The online publication features partnerships in wildlife conservation and sport fish restoration, state and industry success stories, science-based research, regional program highlights, WSFR publications and more. Articles and multimedia platform stories are from states, partnering agencies and WSFR regional offices.
Federal, state and academic partners are working side-by-side to determine how climate change may impact freshwater streams that provide important habitat for sport fish like brook trout and small-mouth bass. Learn how the the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) is working to support sport fish conservation.
The Service will protect and restore critical wetland habitats for migratory birds across 18 states with approval received today from the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission. National Wildlife Refuges in Maryland, Texas, and Washington will add 42,000 acres to their boundaries. North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants will conserve another 115,000 acres from coast to coast with an investment matched 2-to-1 by non-federal partners.
An economic analysis of the prairie pothole region highlights the relationship between the farm economy and off-farm economy and labor market, including the contributions of wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities.
As part of the Service's commemoration of the Endangered Species Act's 40th Anniversary, each week we feature a different state and its unique story to highlight our continued success in recovering threatened and endangered species. This week we learn about the efforts to research and recover the endangered Atlantic sturgeon. This ancient resident of eastern waters has been around for 85 million years, and scientists with the Northeast Fishery Center in Pennsylvania are gathering information to help protect and restore the sturgeon's habitat to secure its future.
The Service will take immediate action to protect the southern white rhinoceros under the Endangered Species Act in response to the poaching crisis decimating rhino populations worldwide. By extending ESA protection to the white rhino–the last remaining unprotected species of rhinoceros–the Service closes a loophole that has been exploited by poachers and traffickers seeking to cash in on global demand for rhino horn.
See what refuges are doing to conserve our wildlife heritage during National Wildlife Refuge Week October 13-19, 2013. Refuges help protect wildlife, generate jobs, clean our air and water, reduce flooding, teach children about nature, and offer protected places to hunt, fish, hike and be outdoors.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today named members of a new federal advisory council on wildlife trafficking. During the White House Forum to Combat Wildlife Trafficking, Jewell also announced Service plans to crush and destroy elephant ivory seized by special agents and wildlife inspectors for violations of U.S. wildlife laws. In the coming months, the Service will propose changes to regulations and policies, especially with regard to elephants and rhinos, to facilitate law enforcement actions and close loopholes that could be exploited for wildlife trafficking.
To maximize opportunities for public comment, the Service has extended the public comment period until October 28 for two proposed rules to delist the gray wolf throughout its range while continuing to protect the Mexican wolf. The Service has also announced public hearings in Washington, DC; Sacramento, CA; and Albuquerque, NM.
As part of the Service's commemoration of the Endangered Species Act's 40th Anniversary, each week we feature a different state and its unique story to highlight our continued success in recovering threatened and endangered species. This week we learn about local communities embracing the newest visitor to Alabama's Mobile Bay, the West Indian manatee.