Dakota skippers live in scattered, isolated patches of high quality
prairie in the Dakotas, western Minnesota and southern Canada.
Photo courtesy of Cale Nordmeyer/Minnesota Zoo
October 23, 2014
The Dakota skipper is now protected as threatened and the Poweshiek skipperling is protected as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today. Both species are butterflies that depend on prairie habitat and have suffered population declines due to loss and degradation of their native grasslands.
Found in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Canada, the Dakota skipper’s numbers have declined dramatically; it no longer occurs on almost 75 percent of the sites where it was previously found.
The Poweshiek skipperling, a butterfly of tallgrass prairies, has
experienced recent sharp population declines in most of its range.
Photo courtesy ofMinnesota Zoo/ Erik Runquist
September 23, 2014
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the public comment period on its proposal to designate critical habitat for the Dakota skipper and Poweshiek skipperling, two species of butterflies, under the Endangered Species Act, and on a proposed special rule for the Dakota skipper. The Service also released a draft economic analysis of the critical habitat designation. Comments on the proposed critical habitat designations and the economic analysis will be accepted through October 23, 2014. Comments on the special rule are accepted through October 7, 2014.
Tri-colored bat with symptoms of White-Nose Syndrome.
Photo courtesy of Darwin Brack
September 11, 2014
This week, the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosted the annual White-nose Syndrome Symposium in Missouri. Partners from state and federal agencies, conservation organizations and the academic community convened in St. Louis to share information and plan strategies for battling a disease that has devastated populations of cave-hibernating bats. First documented in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, white-nose has killed more than 5.5 million bats in the Northeast and Canada. In some areas, 90 to 100 percent of bats have died.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Offers Online
Information Sessions On Proposal
to List Northern Long-eared Bat as Endangered
Northern long-eared bat hibernating in a cave formation in Missouri.
Photo by Ann Froschauer/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
August 13, 2014
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold three public information webcasts in August to provide information and answer questions about our proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Webcasts will be Tuesday, August 19, at 1 p.m. Eastern; Wednesday, August 20, at 4 p.m. Eastern; and Thursday, August 21, at 7 p.m. Eastern.
People can join the 1-hour information sessions by calling a toll-free number and joining a web conference to view a presentation and participate in a facilitated question-and-answer session.
Northern Long-eared Bat: Six-month Extension on Listing Decision and Comment Period Re-opens
June 30, 2014
A notice for a six-month extension for the final listing determination on the northern long-eared bat published in the Federal Register on June 30, 2014. We are also reopening the comment period on the proposal to list the bat as endangered; the 60-day comment period ends on August 29, 2014. A final decision on listing the northern long-eared bat will be made no later than April 2, 2015.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces 2013 Endangered Species Recovery Champions
Residents of Missouri and Wisconsin
Among Those Honored
Adrian Wydeven (Wisconsin DNR) and Paul McKenzie (USFWS) are
recognized as Champions because of their exceptional contributions
to endangered species recovery.
Photo courtesy of Adrian Wydeven and by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
May 5, 2014
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recognized 55 individuals for their exceptional efforts to conserve and protect the nation’s rarest fish, wildlife and plants by designating them 2013 Recovery Champions. Among the award winners honored for their work this year were Service biologist Paul McKenzie of Columbia, Missouri, and Adrian Wydeven, a biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
“We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to these dedicated conservationists who are on the front lines fighting the battle against extinction,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Their spirit and determination is the application of Aldo Leopold’s counsel to ‘keep every cog and wheel,’ and they provide hope for all of us that our children and the generations that follow will be able to enjoy the same tremendous diversity of plants and animals that we do today.”
Eastern prairie fringed orchid leaves just starting
to emerge after an early spring burn.
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Kristen Lundh
May 5, 2014
We spent the day looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. The needle, emerging spears of eastern prairie fringed orchids in a sea of vegetation growing up after an early spring burn.
A spring burn was prescribed as the first step in managing invasive reed canary grass that had inundated this wet prairie in Iowa; a site that also supports a healthy population of eastern prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera leuchophaea). Controlling reed canary grass is complicated by the orchid population. A graduate student from Western Illinois University is studying the site to determine the impact of reed canary grass management and climate variability on this federally threatened orchid.
After seining a number of restored oxbow ponds, U.S. Fish and Wildife Service
biologists found that some endangered Topeka shiners, a native prairie fish,
survived drought and one of the coldest winters on record.
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Kristen Lundh
April 16, 2014
After one of the coldest and driest winters on record in North-central Iowa, biologists from the Rock Island Field Office seined restored oxbow ponds to determine overwinter survivability of Topeka shiners. During harsh, long winters fish kills can easily occur in lakes and ponds. When snow and ice cover the surface of a pond for a prolonged period of time sunlight is unable to reach the pond’s bottom, and plants begin to die. As the dead plants decay the oxygen in the pond is consumed by the bacteria decomposing the dead plants. Most fish cannot survive once dissolved oxygen levels get below a certain point. The prairie pothole region in Iowa had already suffered through two of the driest years on record in 2012 and 2013. Ponds and lakes in that area were already extremely low heading into the winter. This combined with the fact that it was so cold for so long made for very tough living conditions for fish. Fish kills were being reported all over the area, so biologists feared that restored oxbow ponds that were known to contain Topeka shiners last fall had also been affected.
Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and learn ways to make a better planet for fish, wildlife and their habitat.
Since 1970, Earth Day has been observed around the globe each spring as a day to raise environmental awareness and involve citizens and communities in creating a cleaner, healthier world.
While climate change is perhaps the greatest ecological challenge of our time, Earth Day reminds us that we all can take steps to help protect the environment, which touches the human spirit, contributes to human health and well-being and promotes a healthy economy.