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Sigmas tour Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Emile Pitre
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A Vital Partnership Takes Root, And Urban Kids Will Benefit

April 23, 2015

One year ago today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a historic partnership with Phi Beta Sigma, one of the nation's oldest and most prominent African-American fraternities. It is one of the Service' many efforts to help urban youth across the nation both experience the natural world and explore future careers in wildlife conservation.

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Sigmas tour Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Emile Pitre
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The lushness of summer at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS
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Portland-Vancouver Refuges Will Receive $1 Million for Community Engagement

April 22, 2015

The Portland-Vancouver National Wildlife Refuges will receive $1 million in funding to engage urban communities and youth in conservation and outdoor recreation announced U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. The four refuges – Tualatin River, Ridgefield, Steigerwald Lake, and Wapato Lake – have formed the Portland-Vancouver Urban Wildlife Conservation Program, and teamed up with the regional Intertwine Alliance, a coalition of private firms, public agencies and nonprofit organizations. Together they will offer new outdoor opportunities for area residents.

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The lushness of summer at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS
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Trout lily blooming at the new Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge. Credit:Gary Peeples / USFWS Credit: Peeples / USFWS
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New National Wildlife Refuge Established to Protect Some of Appalachia's Rarest Places

April 22, 2015

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Jim Kurth announced the establishment of America's 563rd refuge – Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. The new refuge is devoted to the conservation of southern Appalachian Mountain bogs, one of the rarest and most imperiled habitats in the United States. The Nature Conservancy donated an easement on a 39-acre parcel in Ashe County, which formally establishes the refuge.

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Trout lily blooming at the new Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge. Credit:Gary Peeples / USFWS Credit: Peeples / USFWS
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Male greater sage-grouse struts for female at a mating ground or "lek" near Bodie, California. Credit: Jeannie Stafford / USFWS
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Unprecedented Conservation Partnership Keeps Bi-State Sage-Grouse Off Endangered Species list

April 21, 2015

Thanks to the successful efforts of local, state and federal stakeholders, today Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Bi-State population of greater sage-grouse in Nevada and California has a bright future and does not require listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

Secretary Jewell joined USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, California Natural Resources Director John Laird and other partners to celebrate the success of proactive efforts to conserve key habitat and reduce many of the long-term threats to the bird.

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Male greater sage-grouse struts for female at a mating ground or "lek" near Bodie, California. Credit: Jeannie Stafford / USFWS
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This year's Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest grand prize winner, Kentucky arrow darter. Credit: by David Starovoytov.
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Winners Announced for 2015 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

April 20, 2015

Art of a Kentucky arrow darter by a sixth-grader from California received the Grand Prize in the 2015 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest. The contest engages school children grades K–12 in expressing their appreciation for our nation's most imperiled wildlife, and is an integral part of the 10th annual national Endangered Species Day.

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This year's Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest grand prize winner, Kentucky arrow darter. Credit: by David Starovoytov.
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Conservation leaders from Canada, Mexico and the United States sign the historic bat conservation Letter of Intent. Credit: Chris Tollefson / USFWS
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Bats to Benefit from Historic North American Agreement

April 17, 2015

For the first time in history, North American nations have formalized their shared interest in bat conservation. Last night, wildlife leaders representing Canada, Mexico and the United States signed a Letter of Intent that will promote monitoring, research and environmentally sustainable policies and practices that support bats and their habitats. The signing was a highlight of this week's annual meeting of the Canada/Mexico/U.S. Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management and comes at a time when bat populations across North America are increasingly threatened by the disease white-nose syndrome.

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Conservation leaders from Canada, Mexico and the United States sign the historic bat conservation Letter of Intent. Credit: Chris Tollefson / USFWS
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Winning 2015 Junior Duck Stamp art. Credit: Andrew Kneeland
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Wyoming Youth Wins Junior Duck Stamp Contest

April 17, 2015

Andrew Kneeland, 17, of Rock Springs, WY, won the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest today with his acrylic painting of a pair of wood ducks. The entry was among 24,000 submitted to the 53 state Junior Duck Stamp contests, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Proceeds from sales of the $5 Junior Duck Stamp support environmental education.

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Winning 2015 Junior Duck Stamp art. Credit: Andrew Kneeland
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Girl Scouts and conservation leaders celebrate monarchs at the San Diego Bay NWR. Credit: Kayt Jonsson / USFWS
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North American Conservation Leaders Plant Milkweed, Grow Conservation Strategies for Saving Monarch Butterfly

April 16, 2015

With help from two Girl Scout troops, conservation leaders from the United States, Canada and Mexico’s wildlife agencies yesterday planted 80 native milkweed plants at the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, creating habitat for monarch butterflies. The 20th annual meeting of the Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management brought representatives from the three nations to San Diego, CA, to discuss multiple conservation issues, highlighting the importance of the monarch butterfly and efforts to protect the species and its habitat.

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Director's Blog: A Small Step for the Monarch – a Giant Leap for Conservation »»

Girl Scouts and conservation leaders celebrate monarchs at the San Diego Bay NWR. Credit: Kayt Jonsson / USFWS
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Biological Science Technician Tiffany Opalka-Myers helps out with a sea lamprey treatment on the St. Mary's River in upper Michigan. Credit: Joanna Gilkeson / USFWS
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Service Prepares to Battle Sea Lampreys

April 13, 2015

Sea lampreys are a voracious invasive species that found their way to the Great Lakes many years ago and cause problems for important fish species, such as lake trout and pacific salmon. To restore the Great Lakes ecosystem and revive the fisheries, the United States and Canada have reduced sea lampreys by about 90 percent from historic highs, and the Service's Sea Lamprey Control Program is getting ready for another year.

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Biological Science Technician Tiffany Opalka-Myers helps out with a sea lamprey treatment on the St. Mary's River in upper Michigan. Credit: Joanna Gilkeson / USFWS
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Fort Huachuca in Arizona and Naval Air Station Patuxent River-Atlantic Test Ranges in Maryland. Credit: Huachuca photo by Michael Wystrach. Credit: Courtesy of Arizona Land and Water Trust and Patuxent photo by NAS Patuxent River Air Operations
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Sentinel Landscape Partnership to Protect Habitat, Ensure Military Readiness at Arizona, Maryland Bases

April 8, 2015

The Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Interior today designated as Sentinel Landscapes Fort Huachuca (Arizona) and Naval Air Station Patuxent River-Atlantic Test Ranges (Maryland). These Sentinel Landscape Partnerships support efforts to promote working lands, protect wildlife habitat and ensure readiness at military bases across the country.

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Fort Huachuca in Arizona and Naval Air Station Patuxent River-Atlantic Test Ranges in Maryland. Credit: Huachuca photo by Michael Wystrach. Credit: Courtesy of Arizona Land and Water Trust and Patuxent photo by NAS Patuxent River Air Operations
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Ms. Laske's class watches the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory webcast. Credit: Courtesy Letitia Laske.
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High-Schoolers, Teacher Learn about Wildlife Forensics

April 6, 2015

Last Month, the Service's Forensics Laboratory held a live, behind-the-scenes webcast to give people a look at wildlife forensics, a key weapon in the war against wildlife crime. The webcast was of particular benefit to Minnesota biology teacher Letitia Laske who is in her first year of teaching wildlife forensics to juniors and seniors.

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Ms. Laske's class watches the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory webcast. Credit: Courtesy Letitia Laske.
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Gray wolf. Credit: Gary Kramer / USFWS
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Wolf Population in Northern Rocky Mountains Holds Steady

April 3, 2015

As of December 31, 2014, there were at least 1,657 wolves in 282 packs (including 85 breeding pairs) in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. An additional 145 wolves in 31 packs (including 13 breeding pairs) were estimated in Oregon and Washington. Wolf numbers continue to be robust, stable and self-sustaining in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The annual population report is conducted as part of the Service's work to monitor the wolf population to ensure that it continues to exceed recovery goals under professional state management.

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Gray wolf. Credit: Gary Kramer / USFWS
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Bison call Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge home. Credit: USFWS
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And the Winner is ...

April 2, 2015

Throughout March, USA TODAY asked readers to pick the Best National Wildlife Refuge. The votes are in and the top 10 have been announced. The winning refuge impressed visitors from all over the country with its diversity of wildlife, including bison, elk and deer, and of habitats, such as open mixed grass prairie, forest and rock outcroppings. Can you guess which refuge this is?

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Bison call Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge home. Credit: USFWS
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Natural Weir Fish Passage Project. Credit: Jennifer Lapis / USFWS
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Native American Tribes Receive $4.2 Million for Conservation Projects

March 27, 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced nearly $4.2 million in Tribal Wildlife Grants to Native American Tribes in 13 states. The awards will support 22 fish and wildlife conservation projects that benefit a wide range of wildlife and habitat, including species of Native American cultural or traditional importance and species that are not hunted or fished.

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Natural Weir Fish Passage Project. Credit: Jennifer Lapis / USFWS
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African elephant. Credit: Gary M. Stoltz / USFWS
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Decisions on Import of Sport-Hunted Trophies Support Conservation of Rhinos and Elephants

March 26, 2015

Based on extensive assessments of the associated conservation and management programs, the Service finds that the import of two sport-hunted black rhinoceros trophies from Namibia will benefit conservation of the species, while the import of any elephant sport-hunted trophy from Zimbabwe will not. Under the Endangered Species Act, the Service authorizes imports for sport-hunted trophies of elephants and rhinos only when hunting in the country of origin is well-regulated, sustainable and benefits conservation of the species in question. 

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African elephant. Credit: Gary M. Stoltz / USFWS
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