New England Field Office
Conserving the Nature of New England

 

 

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WHAT'S NEW?


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Town of Orleans craft proposal to conserve piping plovers while increasing beach access for off-road vehicles

December 18, 2014

piping plover

A piping plover at the Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge, MA. 
Credit: Amanda Boyd/USFWS

As a result of the long-term success in conserving threatened piping plovers in Massachusetts, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the Town of Orleans and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to increase access for over-sand vehicles (OSV) while the town takes steps to avoid and make up for effects to plover chicks. The Service welcomes public comment on the town’s draft habitat conservation plan and the Service’s draft environmental action statement from December 19 through January 20, 2014.

Press release (PDF)
Town of Orleans habitat conservation plan (PDF)
Plan addendum (PDF)
Environmental action statement (PDF)
Appendix 1-7, Appendix 8-12, Appendix 13-20, Appendix 21-25, Appendix 26-28 (PDFs)


Final Restoration Plan Approved for 2003 Bouchard Barge-120 Oil Spill into Buzzards Bay

October 3, 2014

Nasketucket Shaw Cove parcel

Nasketucket Shaw Cove parcel
Credit: Jim Turek

The Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council for the Bouchard Barge-120 oil spill have released the Final Programmatic Restoration Plan (PRP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) for shoreline, aquatic and recreational use resources impacted by the 2003 spill in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the second of three anticipated plans to restore natural resources injured and uses affected by the 98,000-gallon spill that oiled roughly 100 miles of shoreline in Buzzards Bay. A $6 million natural resource damages settlement with the Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc. is funding the restoration, with $4,258,438 awarded to restore shoreline and aquatic resources and lost recreational uses. The plan recommends funding for more than 20 projects throughout Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

News release (accessed October 2014)
News story


Tune in to online information webcasts on the northern long-eared bat

August 14, 2014

northern long-eared bat

Some populations of the northern long-eared bat in the Northeast
have declined by 99 percent since symptoms of white-nose syndrome
were first observed in the winter of 2006-2007.
Credit: USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold three public information webcasts August 19-21 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.

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.

Meeting advisory
More on the northern long-eared bat


Comment period reopened for listing northern long-eared bat as endangered

July 1, 2014

Northern long-eared bat

Northern long-eared bat
Credit: NPS/Steven Thomas

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the comment period for 60 days, through August 29, 2014, on a proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The Service has also extended the agency’s deadline to April 2, 2015, to make its final decision on whether to list the species. The Service proposed to list the bat as endangered on October 2, 2013, citing white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of bats, as the greatest threat to the species.

News release
More


Proposal would help southern Maine landowners conserve rare rabbit

June 30, 2014

New England cottontail

New England cottontail
Credit: Peter Paton

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.

Questions and answers
Federal Register notice with instructions to comment
Draft conservation agreement with assurances and associated National Environmental Policy Act document
More on the New England cottontail


$1 million grant tops off funding for Muddy Creek Estuary Restoration Project on Cape Cod

January 27, 2014

American black duck

The Muddy Creek project will improve water quality and the health of the salt marsh and other coastal wetlands, shellfish habitat and wildlife habitat,
benefitting species including hard shell clam, American eel, alewife, blue crab, white perch, American black duck (pictured), and common eider,
as well as species at the base of the food web, including mummichog and Atlantic silverside fish.
Credit: USFWS

Final funds have been secured to protect 12 acres of coastal open space and restore over 55 acres of tidal wetlands by re-constructing the Route 28 crossing of Muddy Creek between Harwich and Chatham, Massachusetts, today announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Last Thursday, the Service awarded a $1 million National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grant to the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game's Division of Ecological Restoration. Combined with other partner contributions and $3.4 million of Hurricane Sandy Mitigation and Resiliency funding announced by the Service last October, this grant will allow the restoration project to proceed through final design and construction. Partner match contributions will provide additional funding for the project, which will not only restore coastal wetlands, but will also permanently protect five open space parcels adjacent to Muddy Creek.

News release


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore migratory fish to the upper Quinnipiac River

October 31, 2013

Clarkes Brothers dam

The Service aims to restore migratory fish to the river by removing
obsolete dams such as the old Clarks Brothers dam in Southington, Conn., (above)
or by installing "ladders" to help fish travel upstream.

Northern long-eared bat

The Service also hopes to increase public use of the river by maintaining the
Upper Quinnipiac River Canoe Trail and updating a guide to the trail.

Settlement funds of $800,000 will fund two conservation projects to restore the Quinnipiac River and enhance public recreation and education on the river, the Service announced today in a final restoration plan for migratory fish and birds impacted by contamination from two Superfund sites in Southington, Conn.

News release
Restoration plan


Endangered status proposed for northern long-eared bat

October 18, 2013

Northern long-eared bat

This northern long-eared bat has visible symptoms of white-nose synrdome.
Credit: University of Illinois/Steve Taylor

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


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

September 27, 2013

Red knot

The bird is one of the longest-distance migrants in the animal kingdom. With wingspans of 20 inches,
some knots fly more than 9,300 miles from south to north every spring and repeat the trip in reverse every autumn.
Credit: Gregory Breese/USFWS

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


New Hampshire, Vermont excluded from proposed revised critical habitat designation for Canada lynx

September 26, 2013

Canada lynx

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to revise the critical habitat designation for the Canada lynx (Lynxcanadensis) in the contiguous United States, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The proposal would designate approximately 41,547 square miles as critical habitat within the boundaries of five critical habitat units in the states of Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Wyoming.

Despite evidence of reproduction by a small number of lynx in northern New Hampshire and northern Vermont over the past few years, the Service does not propose designating critical habitat in these areas because they do not meet the definition of occupied at the time of listing in 2000. Additionally, we have determined that habitats there are unlikely to support persistent lynx populations over time, and that these areas are not essential to the conservation of the lynxdistinct population segment (DPS).

The Service seeks public and peer-review comments on whether lands in northern New Hampshire and northern Vermont are essential for the conservation of the DPS, and, if so, why.

Learn more


Officials approve second round of funding for Housatonic River Watershed Restoration in Connecticut

August 20, 2013

Great Meadows Marsh

One of the seven restoration projects includes work at Great Meadows Marsh in
Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. Construction of tidal channels and removal of berms
will increase tidal exchange on the marsh and help control invasive species such as common reed.

Credit: USFWS

Authorities will use about $2 million from the Housatonic River settlement to fund seven projects that will increase fish habitat, restore marshes and identify possible stream restoration projects. Funding comes from a settlement with General Electric in 2000 to restore, rehabilitate or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources and recreational uses of the Housatonic River that were injured by the release of PCBs from the GE facility in Pittsfield, Mass. The original restoration plan, released in July 2009, awarded about $7 million to 27 projects for aquatic natural resources, riparian and floodplain natural resources, and recreational use of natural resources.

News Release
DOI news post with links to news articles
More information (Connecticut DEEP)


Officials Approve Final Restoration Plan for Third Round of Housatonic River Watershed Restoration Program

June 27, 2013

State and federal environmental authorities invite community members to share potential ideas and understand the project selection process for the third round of funding from the General Electric/Housatonic River Natural Resource Damage (NRD) Assessment and Restoration case settled in 2000.

The Massachusetts SubCouncil of the Housatonic River Natural Resource Trustees, comprising the Executive Office of Energy and Environment Affairs (EEA), represented by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), will host an information session on Monday, August 5, 2013, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Lenox Library, 18 Main Street. The session will discuss potential land acquisition projects before the Housatonic River NRD Land Protection for Habitat Conservation Request for Responses (RFR) is expected to be issued in August 2013.

Press Release


Five major Connecticut River hydropower projects in MA, VT and NH begin relicensing process

Cabot Station and fishways at the Turners Falls project in Massachusetts.

Cabot Station and fishways at the Turners Falls project in Massachusetts.
Credit: USFWS

UPDATE: March 21, 2013: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service submitted comments and research requests for the scoping process. Read those here and here.

January 11, 2013: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is collaborating with other federal and state agencies, as well as other organizations, on the upcoming 2018 relicensing of the Turners Falls, Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage, Vernon, Bellows Falls and Wilders projects. The five-year process began in early October. The projects collectively impact more than 175 miles of the river, which supports four endangered species and other sea-run fish, including American eel, American shad and river herring.>

Fact Sheet (PDF - 737KB)
Project Notice (PDF - 1022KB)
More on Connecticut River dams
Visit the TransCanada and First Light websites for more information.


Defendants pay $4.25 million settlement for restoring natural resources at Industri-plex Superfund site in Woburn, Mass.

February 27, 2013

Black ducks, as well as great blue herons and kingfishers, were impacted by the pollution.

Black ducks, as well as great blue herons and kingfishers, were impacted by the pollution.
Credit: Irene Hinke-Sacilotto

State and federal officials have received a $4.25 million settlement from the Pharmacia Corporation and Bayer CropScience Inc. for damages to natural resources at the Industri-plex Superfund site in Woburn, Mass. From the late 1850s to the 1960s, companies manufactured various products at the site, including sulfuric acid, arsenic insecticides, organic chemicals, munitions, and glue. Hazardous substances disposed there degraded wetland, river and lake habitat used by a variety of wildlife, including fish, turtles, amphibians and migratory birds. Trustees will begin developing a plan to use settlement funds for restoring injured resources. 

More


Officials propose projects for Connecticut's second round of Housatonic River settlement funds

February 12, 2013

Shady Maple Farm

Shady Maple Farm, which is now protected through a conservation easement.
Credit: Trustees of Reservations

State and federal environmental authorities propose to use approximately $2 million from the 1999 Housatonic River settlement to fund seven projects that will increase fish habitat, restore marshes and analyze possible stream restoration projects. The public is invited to learn more about the proposal on February 19 at 7 p.m. at the Kent Town Hall. Funding comes from a 1999 settlement with General Electric to restore, rehabilitate or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources and recreational uses of the Housatonic River that were injured by the release of PCBs from the GE facility in Pittsfield, Mass. The original restoration plan, released in July 2009, awarded about $7 million to 27 projects for aquatic natural resources, riparian and floodplain natural resources, and recreational use of natural resources.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Fact Sheet (PDF - 3.60MB)
Notice of Availability


$1 million will protect 65 acres of Nasketucket Bay in Mass.

January 29, 2013

Common tern

The protection afforded by this grant will support Buzzards Bay's globally significant nesting populations of terns.
Credit: Kirk Rogers/USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that a $1 million grant will conserve and restore coastal wetlands and their fish and wildlife habitat in Massachusetts. An additional $460,000 will be provided by partner contributions. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and Buzzards Bay Coalition will use the funds to permanently protect 65 critical acres of coastal saltmarsh and uplands along the shoreline of Nasketucket Bay. This project is part of a larger effort to protect more than 400 acres of vital coastal and estuarine lands along the bay. Nasketucket Bay provides excellent habitat for shellfish, fin fish and coast-dependent birds. The grant is part of $20 million that will fund 24 projects across the nation through the 2013 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants Program.

National news release


Officials release final plans to restore piping plovers impacted by Bouchard Barge 120 oil spill

January 10, 2013

Piping plover

Piping Plover Credit: Bill Byrne

The Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council for the Bouchard Barge 120 oil spill today released a final restoration plan and environmental assessment for state and federally threatened piping plovers impacted by the 2003 spill in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The plan describes the injuries resulting from the 98,000-gallon spill that oiled roughly 100 miles of shoreline, including beaches where piping plovers feed and nest. To help restore piping plovers, the trustees will use $715,000 from the settlement to implement an enhanced management program at selected breeding sites on private and public land in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The program consists of a three-part approach, including targeted predator management, increased enforcement of local beach ordinances on plover-nesting beaches, and public outreach and education. Sites will be chosen based on landowner interest and permission, benefits to piping plovers, proximity to the spill location and other criteria.

Final piping plover restoration plan (PDF - 2.02MB)
News Release
Fact sheet (PDF)


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services proposes two projects to restore migratory fish to the Upper Quinnipiac River

December 20, 2012

Sudbury River wayland

Quinnipiac River looking west into the Quinnipiac River Gorge,
as seen from "Red Bridge" in South Meriden, CT.
Credit: Arthur Dutra IV

The Service released a draft restoration plan to restore migratory fish and birds impacted by contamination from two Superfund sites in Southington, Conn. The plan proposes to fund two projects, one restoring migratory fish to the upper Quinnipiac River in Southington and Cheshire, and the second maintaining the Quinnipiac River Canoe Trail from Southington to Meriden.

Draft restoration plan (PDF - 1.85MB)
News release
Stories in the Record-Journal: Quinnipiac River to benefit from Superfund cash, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks public comment on projects to restore Q River


Sudbury River area will benefit from projects funded by natural resources restoration settlement

Sudbury River wayland

Work will soon begin on 11 projects for the wildlife, people and landscape of the Sudbury River watershed, state and federal officials announced today. The projects will be supported by the $3.7 million settlement reached in 1998 by parties for natural resources harmed by mercury and other contaminants from the Nyanza Chemical Superfund site in Ashland, Mass. Funds are allocated in the final restoration plan and environmental assessment for the Sudbury River watershed.

News release
Restoration plan (pdf)


Review will find if rare songbird needs Endangered Species Act protection

Bicknell's thrush

The Bicknell's thrush, among the rarest of eastern
North America's songbirds, nests at or near the
highest elevations of mountains in New England
and New York.
Credit: T.B. Ryder

The Bicknell’s thrush may need protection under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today, following an initial review of a petition seeking to list it as threatened or endangered. The Service will now begin an extensive status review for this songbird to determine if adding the species to the federal list of threatened and endangered wildlife is warranted. One of the most secretive thrushes in North America, the Bicknell’s thrush has one of the most limited breeding and wintering ranges of any bird on the continent.

News release


Draft Environmental Assessment/Restoration Plan for Piping Plovers
Impacted by Bouchard Barge 120 Oil Spill

Photo of Nyanza site

Credit: USFWS

The Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council for the 2003 Bouchard Barge 120 oil spill in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, released a draft restoration plan and environmental assessment for piping plovers impacted by the spill. The plan is the first of three anticipated plans to restore natural resources of Buzzards Bay and nearby areas using the $6 million settlement with Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc. With the $715,000 designated to restore piping plovers, the trustees propose to implement an enhanced management program at breeding sites in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. A public information meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, at 7 p.m. at Heritage State Park on Davol Street in Fall River, Mass.

The public is invited to comment on the draft restoration plan and environmental assessment (pdf -1.17MB) through August 1.

For more information, contact Molly Sperduto at molly_sperduto@fws.gov or (603) 223-2541.

More Resources:
News Release
Fact Sheet


Agency Seeks Project Ideas

Photo of Nyanza site

Credit: USFWS

The Service is preparing a draft restoration plan to restore migratory birds and fish impacted by contamination from two Superfund sites in Southington, CT: the Solvents Recovery Service site and the Old Southington Landfill.

Hazardous waste disposed at the sites, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and metals, as well as remedial activities to clean up the sites, degraded and, in some cases, destroyed wetlands and the Quinnipiac River. As a result, the quality and availability of foraging habitat for birds, fish and other wetland-dependant species was reduced. A variety of birds use the area, including great blue and green herons, American black ducks, wood ducks, yellow warblers, tree swallows and Eastern kingbirds. The locations are also important for American eels, brook trout, painted turtles and other aquatic wildlife.

In settlements with the responsible parties, the Service received about $800,000 to restore impacted natural resources. The Service is currently seeking restoration project ideas and welcomes input from the public. Please utilize the project information form (pdf - 1.17MB) to submit restoration project ideas. Submissions are due by May 18, 2012.

Information regarding potential restoration projects, as well as the process for evaluating and selecting proposals is provided in the attached public meeting presentation (pdf - 4.79MB).

For more information, contact Molly Sperduto, USFWS, New England Field Office, at molly_sperduto@fws.gov or 603-223-2541, ext. 20.


Officials invite public comment on restoration of contaminated Massachusetts site

Photo of Nyanza site

Credit: USFWS

Federal and state agencies encourage feedback on a $3.7 million plan to restore the pollution-damaged Sudbury River watershed containing the Nyanza Chemical Superfund site in Ashland, Mass. The draft plan seeks to restore wildlife and habitat, as well as protect new land and increase public access. The draft restoration plan and its assessment (PDF-1.98 MB) are available for comment through Jan. 23, 2012.

Boston Globe story
More


Public invited to meet on Buzzards Bay oil spill restoration

Worker cleans up oil on Barney's Joy Beach in South Dartmouth

A worker cleans up oil on Barney's Joy Beach in South Dartmouth following the Buzzards Bay, Mass., oil spill in 2003.
Credit: USFWS

Informational meetings regarding restoration planning for the 2003 oil spill in Buzzards Bay, MA., will be held on September 21 at Massachusetts Maritime Academy and September 22 at Heritage State Park from 6 to 9 p.m. The Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council invites the public to learn about the development of restoration plans and to offer input on ideas to address the natural resources injured when the Bouchard B-120 barge spilled 98,000 gallons into the bay. An informational poster session will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a formal presentation at 7 p.m. and a question and answer session.

The trustees include the following:

    • Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (represented by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection),
    • Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management,
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Admirals Hall, Harrington Building
101 Academy Drive
Buzzards Bay, MA 02532
Heritage State Park
Davol Street
Fall River, MA 02720


Agreement aimed at protecting NH bunny habitat

Cottontail

New England cottontail.
Credit: Linda Cullivan

New Hampshire landowners will be encouraged to conserve New England cottontail habitat under a proposed agreement between the Service and the state. Cottontail habitat has declined by 86 percent in the past 50 years, a major reason the bunny is a candidate for Endangered Species Act protection. The state hopes to see an increase of 3,000 to 5,000 acres managed for the cottontail.

Permit application (pdf 2.24 MB)
Draft agreement (869 KB)
Draft environmental action statement (54 KB)
Federal Register notice
News release (17 KB)
More info


Manhan River Environmental Assessment

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed the 30-Day Comment Period for an Environmental Assessment with
a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Manhan River Dam Fish Passage Project in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
The Service's response to submitted comments is provided below.

Questions on the proposed project can be addressed to Melissa_Grader@fws.gov.

Response to Comments Received on Manhan River EA (pdf 350 kb)
Manhan River Environmental Assessment (4.75 MB)
Manhan River Environmental Assessment - Appendices (2.3 MB)
Manhan River Environmental Assessment - Finding of No Significant Impact (673 KB)
Manhan River Environmental Assessment - Press Release (767 KB)


Housatonic River Basin Natural Resources Restoration Plan

The Connecticut Trustee SubCouncil for the GE/Housatonic River NRDAR project is proud to
announce the availability of the Housatonic River Basin Final Natural Resources Restoration Plan,
Environmental Assessment, and Environmental Impact Evaluation for Connecticut.

Housatonic River, Massachusetts
The Housatonic River’s natural resources were injured
as a result of PBC contamination. Stantec photo.

Housatonic River Basin Final Natural Resources Restoration Plan, Environmental Assessment, and Environmental Impact Evaluation for Connecticut. (2.3 MB)


Update on white-nose syndrome in bats.

WNS little brown bat
Little brown bat with
white-nose syndrome
USFWS photo


Other links:
USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Pennsylvania Game Commission Link on WNS


What should you do if you find dead or dying bats, or observe signs of White-Nose Syndrome?

Files in PDF format will require Acrobat Reader to access the content. If you do not have a copy, please select the link [or click the image] to take you to the Adobe website where you can download a free copy. Get Adobe Acrobat Reader

 

 

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Last updated: February 28, 2013