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Stories from the Home Page

Thanks to local partners, the Service now protects this spectacular 102.5-acre coastal peninsula as part of the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Credit: © Bergman Photography
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Service Charts Course for Growth of the National Wildlife Refuge System

January 16, 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the final strategic growth policy for the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Refuge System is the nation’s largest and most diverse collection of public lands and waters dedicated to wildlife conservation. It also offers visitors unparalleled opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation.

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Thanks to local partners, the Service now protects this spectacular 102.5-acre coastal peninsula as part of the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Credit: © Bergman Photography
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Between 1970 and 1992, rhino populations declined 96%. Credit: USFWS
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Another Win for Operation Crash: Auction House, Owner Plead Guilty to Wildlife Trafficking

January 14, 2015

Elite Decorative Arts and the company's president and owner pleaded guilty to wildlife trafficking and being part of a smuggling conspiracy that sold rhinoceros horns and objects made from rhino horn, elephant ivory and coral. "As this guilty plea demonstrates, ivory and rhino horn trafficking is not just a problem for other countries to solve," says Service Director Dan Ashe, noting that U.S. citizens are contributing to the problem. Operation Crash is a continuing effort, led by the Service, to find and stop those engaged in the illegal killing of rhinoceros and the unlawful trafficking of rhinoceros horns.

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Between 1970 and 1992, rhino populations declined 96%. Credit: USFWS
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A narwhal tusk is actually a tooth. Credit: Glenn Williams / National Institute of Standards and Technology
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Man Faces Prison for Trafficking in Narwhal Tusks

January 13, 2015

A New Jersey man found guilty of illegally importing and trafficking in narwhal tusks and associated money laundering crimes was sentenced to 33 months in prison. He also must forfeit $85,000, several narwhal products and pay a fine of $7,500. "The significant penalties imposed…send a powerful message to any individual that decides to engage in the trade of illegal wildlife," said the Service's Edward Grace, Deputy Assistant Director for Law Enforcement. Narwhals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and laws related to international trade. 

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A narwhal tusk is actually a tooth. Credit: Glenn Williams / National Institute of Standards and Technology
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Snowy owls have been sighted this winter at the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Courtesy of Bob Weaver
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Special Little Places in the Refuge System

January 8, 2015

Small places always have mattered to the National Wildlife Refuge System. The January/February issue of Refuge Update focuses on a handful of refuges that are small in acreage but big in impact, including Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. This 242-acre refuge five miles from Newport, RI, provides excellent resting, feeding and nesting habitat for migratory birds, no matter what the season is.

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Snowy owls have been sighted this winter at the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Courtesy of Bob Weaver
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Reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area of Arizona and New Mexico began in March 1998. Credit: Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team
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Service Finalizes Changes to Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Rule

January 8, 2015

The Service has finalized rules under which the Mexican wolf reintroduction program is conducted in Arizona and New Mexico. The revision expands the area in which Mexican wolves can be released, disperse and be managed. Changes also increase management flexibility to conserve one of the nation's rarest mammals, and provide for greater responsiveness to the needs of local communities and to address problem wolf behavior. Additionally, the Service has classified the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies under the Endangered Species Act.

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Reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area of Arizona and New Mexico began in March 1998. Credit: Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team
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The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is being awarded $970,500 to acquire, permanently protect and manage as a state natural area, 244 acres of coastal estuarine habitat within the Sand Lake estuary in Tillamook County. Credit: Chris Swenson / USFWS
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Service Announces over $21 Million in Grants to Conserve Coastal Wetlands

January 7, 2015

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced over $21 million will be provided to 25 projects in 13 coastal and Great Lakes states to protect, restore or enhance more than 11,000 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 $35 million in additional funds to these projects.

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The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is being awarded $970,500 to acquire, permanently protect and manage as a state natural area, 244 acres of coastal estuarine habitat within the Sand Lake estuary in Tillamook County. Credit: Chris Swenson / USFWS
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Jim Kurth, Deputy Director for Operations. Credit: USFWS
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Veteran Refuge Chief Jim Kurth Appointed As Service's New Deputy Director for Operations

January 7, 2015

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced the appointment of Jim Kurth as the agency's new Deputy Director for Operations. Kurth, a 35-year veteran of the Fish and Wildlife Service, will assist Director Ashe in managing day-to-day operations and provide additional key executive leadership for the agency.

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Jim Kurth, Deputy Director for Operations. Credit: USFWS
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In the winter, bald eagles – sometimes numbering in the hundreds – can be seen at the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Credit: Courtesy of Stan Bousson
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Winter is Prime Time for Viewing Eagles on National Wildlife Refuges

January 6, 2015

Few birds match America’s majestic bald eagle for inspiring awe. Winter is prime viewing season for these incredible raptors, which often are more visible against the backdrop of the season’s sparse landscape. Head to a national wildlife refuge to try to spot an eagle on your own or, better still, head to one of these refuges for an organized tour.

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In the winter, bald eagles – sometimes numbering in the hundreds – can be seen at the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Credit: Courtesy of Stan Bousson
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Approximately 20,000 people per year enjoy the unique experience of viewing elk from a sleigh on the National Elk Refuge .Credit: Lori Iverson / USFWS. Credit: Lori Iverson / USFWS.
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Where to Ski, Tromp or Glide this Winter at a National Wildlife Refuge!

December 29, 2014

Wander a real winter wonderland. Find thrills exploring scenic nature trails by snowshoe, ski or sled at a national wildlife refuge. Some refuges lend you the equipment free! Here are some favorite winter activities and some great refuges to do them in.

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Approximately 20,000 people per year enjoy the unique experience of viewing elk from a sleigh on the National Elk Refuge .Credit: Lori Iverson / USFWS. Credit: Lori Iverson / USFWS.
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Monarch butterfly on New England Aster at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Greg Thompson/USFWS Credit: Greg Thompson/USFWS
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Service Initiates Status Review of Monarch Butterfly under the Endangered Species Act

December 27, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it will be conducting a status review of the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act. Monarch butterflies migrate vast distances, a journey becoming more perilous for many because of threats along their migratory paths and on their breeding and wintering grounds. The Service is requesting scientific and commercial data and other information through a 60-day public information period until March 2, 2015.

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Monarch butterfly on New England Aster at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Greg Thompson/USFWS Credit: Greg Thompson/USFWS
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The new maps affect parts of Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Credit: USFWS
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New Maps Help Protect Coastal Areas

December 23, 2014

The Service has added 11 maps to the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System, which helps save taxpayer dollars and reduce the intensity of development within hazard-prone and ecologically sensitive coastal areas.  The new maps correct errors affecting property owners and add eligible undeveloped areas to the system. 

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The new maps affect parts of Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Credit: USFWS
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Sales of the stamp have raised more than $2.5 million for conservation. Credit: USFWS
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Sending Holiday Cards this Year? Choose a Stamp that Supports Wildlife Conservation

December 23, 2014

Still working on your cards? You have a unique opportunity to contribute to the conservation of endangered species around the globe by purchasing the Save Vanishing Species Stamp for your holiday mailings. The stamps are available for sale at post offices and online, with funds going to help conserve some of the world's most threatened species. Even if you’re a real go-getter and your cards were done weeks ago, the Save Vanishing Species Stamp is a wonderful way to mail other cards, letters, even bills.

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Sales of the stamp have raised more than $2.5 million for conservation. Credit: USFWS
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Duck Stamp dollars have been used to acquire and permanently protect more than 6 million acres of vital National Wildlife Refuge System habitat. Credit: USFWS
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Increasing the Price of the Duck Stamp Benefits All Americans

December 19, 2014

President Obama approved bipartisan legislation yesterday that raised the price of the Federal Duck Stamp. This new law, supported by hunters, will enable the Service to conserve tens of thousands of acres of important wildlife habitat every year. Service Director Dan Ashe says it shows “we’re still capable of great things as a nation.”

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Duck Stamp dollars have been used to acquire and permanently protect more than 6 million acres of vital National Wildlife Refuge System habitat. Credit: USFWS
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A greater sage-grouse male struts at a lek (dancing or mating ground) to attract a mate. Credit: Jeannie Stafford / USFWS.
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Sage-Grouse Rider Won’t Stop Unprecedented Conservation Effort to Save Greater Sage-Grouse

December 17, 2014

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said today that while disappointing, the sage-grouse rider in the FY15 Omnibus Bill will not stop the Service’s efforts “to conserve the sagebrush landscape and the Western way of life.” Rather, the Service and its many partners will continue work to avert the need to list the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

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A greater sage-grouse male struts at a lek (dancing or mating ground) to attract a mate. Credit: Jeannie Stafford / USFWS.
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If you have never visited a national wildlife refuge before, one of the fee-free days would be the perfect opportunity to see what you’ve been missing, like these pelicans at sunset from J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Credit: Photo courtesy of Al Hoffacker. Credit: Photo courtesy of Al Hoffacker.
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National Wildlife Refuges Announce Fee-Free Days for 2015!

December 15, 2014

Get outside and enjoy some of the country's most magical places – America's national wildlife refuges will offer free admission on these days in 2015. The fee holidays are scheduled each year to encourage Americans to visit their public lands and enjoy firsthand the natural and cultural experiences they have to offer. There's at least one refuge in every state…and one within an hour's drive of most major metropolitan areas.

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If you have never visited a national wildlife refuge before, one of the fee-free days would be the perfect opportunity to see what you’ve been missing, like these pelicans at sunset from J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Credit: Photo courtesy of Al Hoffacker. Credit: Photo courtesy of Al Hoffacker.
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