Maine Field Office - Ecological Services
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News Archive


Red knot

Service Proposes to List Red Knot as a Threatened Species Under the Endangered Species Act

September 27, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a proposal to list the rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa), a robin-sized shorebird that annually migrates from the Canadian Arctic to southern Argentina, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. After an exhaustive scientific review of the species and its habitat, Service biologists determined that the knot meets the definition of threatened, meaning it is likely to become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The knot, whose range includes 25 countries and 40 U.S. states, uses spring and fall stopover areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Changing climate conditions are already affecting the bird’s food supply, the timing of its migration and its breeding habitat in the Arctic. The shorebird also is losing areas along its range due to sea level rise, shoreline projects, and development.

News release
More information, including photos, video and questions/answers


Canada lynx

Additional Maine lands identified as essential for lynx conservation

September 20, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to revise the critical habitat designation for the threatened Canada lynx by designating about 41,547 square miles as critical habitat within the boundaries of five critical habitat units in Maine and five western states.

The proposal includes about 11,162 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. All areas proposed as critical habitat were naturally occupied bylynx when the species was listed as threatened in 2000. 

The Service used the best scientific data available as well as information from state, federal and tribal agencies and from academic and private organizations to develop this proposal. Based on this, the Service first determined which lands were essential to the conservation of the lynx by defining the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species and delineating the specific areas that contain those features, as well as recent verified records of lynx presence.

An informational public meeting will be held on Monday, November 4, 2013, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the George W. Stearns High School auditorium at 199 State Street, Millinocket, Maine, 04462. Public comments will be accepted until December 26, 2013.

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Piping plover chick

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bulletin: Consultation on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging projects in Wells and Scarborough, Maine

UPDATE: August 9, 2013: Portland Press Herald: "Wildlife agency OK with Wells Harbor dredging: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it is satisfied the project won't harm three endangered shorebirds."

August 8, 2013: In response to inaccurate statements in a story ("Plight of plovers halts dredging of Wells Harbor") published in the Portland Press Herald today (August 8, 2013), the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like to clarify the agency's role in reviewing dredging projects in Wells and Scarborough, Maine.

The Service is consulting with the Army Corps of Engineers because the projects may affect piping plovers, roseate terns and red knots, which are shorebirds protected under the Endangered Species Act. Our shared goal is to avoid or minimize adverse effects the projects may have on these species.

Our consultations with the Army Corps of Engineers are productive, cooperative and on schedule. The consultation process will be done in time for the Army Corps to complete the Wells and Scarborough projects this fall and winter.

As of this week, we have the important biological information we need from the Army Corps to complete our work. We will complete the evaluation within about two weeks.

The Service is not trying to stop or delay the dredging projects, and we have not suggested that they require an environmental impact statement. In fact, we believe that the projects will increase sandy beach areas that will benefit piping plovers.

The Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies to consult with the Service to ensure that the actions they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species. In this case, we believe that appropriate measures can be put in place so that the projects will meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, and that we'll agree with the Army Corps that these projects are not likely to adversely affect the three protected shorebird species.

The Army Corps and the Service are fulfilling their responsibility to consult under the Endangered Species Act – a process that occurs hundreds of times between the Service and federal agencies in Maine each year.


Steve Koenig, 2012 Recovery Champion, and Laury Zicari
Credit: USFWS
Steve Koenig, 2012 Recovery Champion, and Laury Zicari

2012 Recovery Champion

On June 6, 2013, Laury Zicari, Field Supervisor of the Maine Field Office, presented Steve Koenig with the 2012 Recovery Champion Award.  Recovery Champion awards are given each year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recognize outstanding work in advancing the recovery of threatened and endangered species of plants and animals.  Steve, Executive Director of Project SHARE since 2001, has made substantial contributions to the recovery of the endangered Atlantic salmon in Maine.  Steve has been particularly effective in fostering collaborations with private landowners to accomplish stream restoration work in a number of Downeast Maine watersheds, including the Machias River.  Congratulations to Steve from the staff of the Maine Field Office!


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to adopt FERC's evaluation of dam removals in Penobscot River restoration

UPDATE: On Sept. 7, 2012, the Service noted its intent to proceed with providing funding to the Penobscot project. This follows an evaluation of its impacts on the human environment and is explained in the Service's "finding of no significant impact." (pdf)

The Service announced August 3 that the agency will adopt the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) existing environmental assessment for the Veazie, Great Works and Howland Projects to surrender their licenses. Surrender of the licenses involves removal of Veazie and Great Works Dams and construction of a nature-like fish bypass around the Howland Dam, which are key elements of the Penobscot River Restoration Project. The public can comment on this through August 20, 2012, by visiting: http://www.regulations.gov and searching docket number
FWS-R5-ES-2012-N098.

 


Credit: USFWS
Canada lynx

Wildlife agencies announce request for lynx permit

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIF&W) has applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a permit to authorize incidental take of federally protected Canada lynx resulting from the State regulated trapping program. The Service invites the public to comment on MDIF&W's draft incidental take plan, a requirement for the permit. The Service also invites comment on its draft environment assessment for MDIF&W's application.

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Last updated: March 20, 2014
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