Maine Field Office - Ecological Services
Northeast Region
Map of the state of Maine, pictures of Scarborough Marsh (Credit: USFWS), Piping plover (Credit: USFWS), Canada lynx (Credit: USFWS), and sketch of New England and Eastern cottontail rabbits by Mark McCollough, USFWS.

All images credit USFWS; sketch of New England and Eastern cottontail rabbits credit Mark McCollough, USFWS

Welcome to the Maine Field Office Web site

Our goal here is to provide you with information about what your U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Ecological Services Maine Field Office
is doing for you and for the fish and wildlife in our area of responsibility, the State of Maine.

Our mission is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants
and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Maine hosts exceptional biodiversity due to a number of factors, including diverse geographic and geologic features located in a transition zone between boreal and temperate habitats and species assemblages. At 33,315 square miles, the State is nearly as large as the rest of the New England states combined.  Maine is over 90 percent forested (17.7 million acres) and is the most extensively forested State in the United States.  Over 94 percent of the State's forest lands (16.7 million acres) are privately owned.  The largest tracts of undeveloped forestland in the eastern United States are found in the western, northern, and eastern areas of the State.  Maine also contains some of the most significant grassland, barrens, and agricultural lands in the Northeast. The State covers a wide range of latitude (320 miles north to south), with natural communities and plants characteristic of southern Appalachia found in the south transitioning to boreal communities in the north and subarctic communities at the highest elevations.

News and Updates

Service Revises Critical Habitat Designation for Canada Lynx Under the Endangered Species Act

Canada lynx

September 11, 2014

After more than a year of public input and scientific analysis, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has revised Endangered Species Act protections for the Canada lynx. The Service has finalized both a revised critical habitat designation for the species and a revised definition for what constitutes the contiguous U.S. distinct population segment (DPS) ­– the portion of the species’ North American range that is protected by the Act. 

The revised designation includes about 10,123 square miles of mostly private lands in northern Maine in portions of Aroostook, Franklin, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Somerset Counties. Timber harvest and management are the dominant land uses within this area. Tribal lands—96 square miles—and lands covered by the Maine Healthy Forest Reserve Program—943 square miles—have been excluded from the final designation in accordance with section 4(b)(2) of the ESA.

In revising the critical habitat designation, Service biologists used the best available science to determine which habitats contain the features needed to support lynx populations and which are essential to the conservation of lynx in the contiguous United States. 

Critical habitat is a term in the ESA that identifies geographic areas containing features essential to the conservation of a listed species and which may require special management considerations or protection. Designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge or preserve. A critical habitat designation does not impose restrictions on non-federal lands unless federal funds, permits or activities are involved.

News Release
Questions and answers
Federal Register

Agencies release revised plan, assessment for protecting Canada lynx affected by Maine trapping program

Maine to manage at least 4,785 acres for Canada lynx

Canada lynx

August 5, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is one step closer to making a decision on permitting Maine's state-regulated trapping programs for effects to the federally protected Canada lynx. The Service has released revised versions of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's incidental take plan and a corresponding draft environmental assessment of the plan for public review and comment through September 5, 2014.

The agencies previously released draft versions of these documents for public comment in November 2011, followed by three highly attended public information sessions. The Service received about 285 unique letters, 129 comment cards from public information sessions and 6,100 form letters commenting on issues from outreach and monitoring measures to lynx handling procedures and enforcement.

News release (PDF and web)

Proposal would help southern Maine landowners conserve rare rabbit

New England cottontail

June 30, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have drafted a 50-year agreement to restore New England cottontail habitat on private and state-owned lands in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Sagadahoc, Waldo and York counties in Maine. Under the proposed agreement, MDIFW would work with interested landowners to restore and manage up to 12,000 acres of young forest habitat.

The agreement, called a candidate conservation agreement with assurances, helps landowners voluntarily manage lands for rare species by assuring they will not be subjected to additional land use restrictions if the species is protected under the Endangered Species Act in the future. The New England cottontail has been a candidate for protection under the federal ESA since 2006 and is listed as endangered by the state of Maine. The draft agreement and associated documents are available for review and comment at

Questions and answers (PDF)
More on the New England cottontail

News Archive


Last updated: September 12, 2014
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