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Stories from the Home Page

Karner blue butterfly. Credit: Joel Trick / USFWS
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Federal Agencies Finalize Revised Rules to Improve Implementation of the Endangered Species Act

February 5, 2016

Building on the success of the Obama Administration in improving regulations and in implementing the Endangered Species Act in new and innovative ways, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service today finalized a policy and two rules that will provide a clearer, more consistent and predictable process for designating critical habitat.

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Karner blue butterfly. Credit: Joel Trick / USFWS
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About 94 percent of Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge has been conserved with LWCF dollars. Credit: USFWS
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President Obama Proposes Full Funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund

February 4, 2016

President Obama is proposing full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget and is pursuing permanent authorization in annual mandatory funding for the fund’s programs beginning in FY2018. The LWCF has helped to protect working forests and ranches, preserve our public lands -- parks, refuges, forests, rivers, lakes and wildlife habitats -- and provide access to outdoor recreation across the nation for use and enjoyment by all Americans.

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About 94 percent of Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge has been conserved with LWCF dollars. Credit: USFWS
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Kentucky arrow darter by David Starovoytov, grand prize winner of the 2015 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Credit: David Starovoytov
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Service Seeks Entries for 2016 Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

February 3, 2016

Kids across the nation are encouraged to grab pens, pencils, paints and pastels to create entries for the 2016 Endangered Species Youth Art Contest. The competition, an integral part of the 11th annual national Endangered Species Day celebration, provides school children in kindergarten through 12th grade an opportunity to learn about threatened and endangered wildlife while expressing their support for conservation efforts through creative artwork.

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Kentucky arrow darter by David Starovoytov, grand prize winner of the 2015 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Credit: David Starovoytov
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The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is awarded $1 million to acquire and protect the 1,114-acre Great Bay Estuary-Harvey Forest and Wetlands. Credit: Courtesy of NHDES
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Service Announces Over $20 Million in Grants to Conserve Coastal Wetlands

February 2, 2016

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced over $20 million will be provided to 28 projects in 12 coastal states to protect, restore or enhance more than 10,000 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent upland habitats under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. State and local governments, private landowners, conservation groups and other partners will contribute over $20 million in additional funds to these projects.

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The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is awarded $1 million to acquire and protect the 1,114-acre Great Bay Estuary-Harvey Forest and Wetlands. Credit: Courtesy of NHDES
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Siberian tiger. Credit: John and Karen Hollingsworth
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Lumber Liquidators Sentenced for Illegal Importation of Hardwood and Related Environmental Crimes

February 1, 2016

Virginia-based hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators Inc. was sentenced in federal court and will pay more than $13 million in criminal fines, community service and forfeited assets for illegal importation of hardwood flooring. Much of the flooring was manufactured in China from timber that was illegally logged in far eastern Russia in the habitat of the last remaining Siberian tigers and Amur leopards in the world. The case was jointly investigated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agents and Homeland Security agents as part of Operation Oakenshield.

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Siberian tiger. Credit: John and Karen Hollingsworth
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Turquoise parakeet. Credit: Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
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Service Seeks Comments on a Proposal to Remove Two Australian Parakeets from the Endangered Species List

January 21, 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the public comment period on a proposed rule to remove the scarlet-chested parakeet and the turquoise parakeet from the list of endangered species. The agency is taking this action to offer interested parties an opportunity to comment on whether removing these species is still warranted and to ensure our determination is based on the best information available.

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Turquoise parakeet. Credit: Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
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Northern pintails gather on a marsh at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Steve Emmons / USFWS
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Refuge Manager Views Wildlife Through Photographer's Lens

January 21, 2016

A photographer himself, Steve Emmons, refuge manager for two of the five refuges within Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, has focused on bringing photographers to the refuge by building a system of photo outlooks that draw in professional and amateur shutterbugs alike. “We have people coming in from Maine, Florida, even Europe”, says Emmons.

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Northern pintails gather on a marsh at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Steve Emmons / USFWS
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Director Dan Ashe signs the agency’s revised Native American Policy at a ceremony attended by tribal representatives from across the continent. Credit: Kayt Jonsson / USFWS
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Revised Policy Strengthens Service–Native American Tribal Collaboration for Conservation of Shared Natural Heritage

January 20, 2016

Native American leaders and Service officials today celebrated completion of the agency’s revised policy guiding government-to-government relations between tribes and the agency. Sixteen tribes worked with Service representatives for more than two years to revise the policy, which in Service Director Dan Ashe’s words “will foster and nurture relationships with tribes and honor the mutual trust of guardianship we hold for decades to come.” 

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Director Dan Ashe signs the agency’s revised Native American Policy at a ceremony attended by tribal representatives from across the continent. Credit: Kayt Jonsson / USFWS
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Winter has arrived at Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges. Credit: Jacob Randa / USFWS
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Celebrate the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Your National Wildlife Refuge

January 15, 2016

In honor of Dr. King, all National Wildlife Refuges, like most of your public lands, will waive admission fees on Monday January 18. There is at least one refuge in every state and one within an hour's drive of most major metropolitan areas. If Monday doesn’t work for you, most refuges have no entrance fee, so any day is a good time to visit a refuge.

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Winter has arrived at Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges. Credit: Jacob Randa / USFWS
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Northern long-eared bat with white-nose syndrome. Credit: Steve Taylor, University of Illinois
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Protections Finalized for Threatened Northern Long-Eared Bats

January 13, 2016

In an effort to conserve the northern long-eared bat, the Service announced a final rule today that uses the flexibilities of the Endangered Species Act to protect areas affected by white-nose syndrome, the primary threat to the bat. The rule will also minimize regulatory requirements on activities by landowners, land managers, government agencies and others within the species’ range that do not impact northern long-eared bat populations.

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Northern long-eared bat with white-nose syndrome. Credit: Steve Taylor, University of Illinois
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Rough-skinned newt Credit: Teal Waterstrat (USFWS) Credit: Teal Waterstrat / USFWS
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Service Helps Protect Native Salamanders from Deadly Fungus

January 12, 2016

To help prevent a fatal fungus from killing native salamanders, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing an interim rule to list 201 salamander species as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act. The fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, also known as Bsal or salamander chytrid, is carried on the skin of various salamander species and poses an imminent threat to U.S. native salamander populations. The fungus is not yet known to be found in the United States, and to help ensure it remains that way, the Service is publishing an interim rule that will take effect on January 28, 2016. 

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Rough-skinned newt Credit: Teal Waterstrat (USFWS) Credit: Teal Waterstrat / USFWS
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Snow geese at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Credit: Marvin De Jong
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Super Bird Fests at National Wildlife Refuges

January 12, 2016

New birder or old hand? No matter. It’s hard not to be moved by the sight of more birds erupting in flight than you’ve ever seen in your life. National wildlife refuges make great festival sites because so many of these special places are located along the country’s key migratory bird routes. Many festivals coincide with spring or fall migration. Here are some great refuge bird festivals to catch in 2016. The National Wildlife Refuge System protects natural habitat for America's treasured wildlife species.

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Snow geese at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Credit: Marvin De Jong
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A coyote in hoar frost at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. Credit: Tom Koerner / USFWS
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National Wildlife Refuges: Conserving the Future for all Americans

January 12, 2016

The refuge system provides unparalleled opportunities for people of all ages in every state to experience the great outdoors and all it has to offer, while ensuring we pass on our spectacular wildlife heritage to our children and grandchildren. Learn about some of the unique animals and plants that refuges protect and what else these places have to offer in the latest issue of Refuge Update.

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Photo Gallery: Snowy Winter Wildlife on Refuges »»

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A coyote in hoar frost at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. Credit: Tom Koerner / USFWS
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White pelicans at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Barbara Wheeler
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Service Statement on Illegal Occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

January 11, 2016

Thanks for your concern regarding the situation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. All FWS staff and volunteers are safe and accounted for. We hope this can be resolved peacefully and that the refuge will soon be safe for staff and visitors again. In the meantime, the refuge will remain closed until further notice. The FBI is the lead law enforcement agency moving forward. They will post latest updates here as they become available: http://www.flashalertbend.net/

White pelicans at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Barbara Wheeler
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West Indian manatee. Credit: S. Whitcraft / USFWS
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Service to Reclassify West Indian Manatee from Endangered to Threatened

January 7, 2016

The future looks a little bit brighter for the West Indian manatee, with populations recovering from historic lows. There is still more to be done to recover this fascinating mammal, but in recognition of the improvements so far, we have proposed downlisting it from Endangered to Threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). That means ESA protections will remain in place, but its listing status will better reflect its condition in the wild.

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West Indian manatee. Credit: S. Whitcraft / USFWS
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