Maine Field Office - Ecological Services
Northeast Region
 

News Archive


Service estimates costs for conservation of lynx in critical habitat

June 19, 2014

The agency invites review and comment of the draft economic analysis and environmental assessment for the proposed revised designation of critical habitat for the Contiguous U.S. Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Canada lynx under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service is also reopening the comment period on the September 26, 2013, proposed revised designation of critical habitat for the lynx DPS to allow all interested parties the opportunity to comment simultaneously on the revised proposed rule, the associated DEA, the draft environmental assessment, and the amended required determinations section. 

An economic analysis does not estimate the cost of overall conservation of the species. The analysis, as directed by the ESA, considers the economic impact of designating any particular area as critical habitat for the species. Critical habitat is not a reserve or wildlife refuge; these areas are essential for the conservation of the species and in which to focus overall conservation efforts for the species. These costs are usually related to consultation, administrative and project modification costs. Because all proposed critical habitat is occupied by lynx populations an most has been designated as critical habitat since 2009, consultation has already been occurring in these areas and incremental costs are expected to be minimal and administrative.

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JOINT STATEMENT: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continue coordination on storm mitigation project for Saco River and Camp Ellis Beach

March 20, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers met in Falmouth, Maine, on Wednesday, March 19, to collaborate in finding solutions to meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, which, under section 7, directs federal agencies to aid in the conservation of endangered species and requires them to evaluate and minimize the effects of their actions on endangered species.

The agencies made exceptional progress toward the timely conclusion of this interagency cooperation, referred to as section 7 consultation under the ESA, and expect to conclude consultation quickly. The Corps will provide the Service with clarification on existing project information within the next few weeks, and both agencies commit to continuing this close coordination until the ESA consultation is concluded.

Based on the outcome of Wednesday's meeting, the Service is confident it will be able to concur with the Corps' determination that the project is not likely to adversely affect listed species, helping the Corps both to meet its obligations under the ESA and to complete its requirements for seeking project funding.


Agencies Collaborating on the Storm Mitigation Project for Saco River and Camp Ellis Beach

March 7, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working together to complete requirements under the Endangered Species Act for the Storm Mitigation Project for Saco River and Camp Ellis Beach.

As we typically do with these kinds of complex projects, we work closely together to minimize adverse effects to wildlife protected under the Endangered Species Act, including piping plovers and red knots.

We are confident that we can work collaboratively with the Corps to help them meet their responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act so that the project can move forward.

We continue to meet to discuss the details of the project so that we can move forward on our consultation.  This will help the Service provide the best scientific advice on how to minimize impacts to species.

This project is a high priority for the Service.


northern long-eared bat

Endangered status proposed for northern long-eared bat

October 18, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Northeast populations of the bat, found across all 13 states in the region, have declined by 99 percent since symptoms of the disease white-nose syndrome were first observed in 2006. The Service also determined that the eastern small-footed bat, which has not shown drastic decline at winter hibernacula, does not warrant listing. Comments and information from the public are encouraged through Dec. 2, 2013. 

News release
More information


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: September 12, 2014
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