Open Spaces : Endangered

What We Do to Protect Endangered Species – the Road to Recovery

The past two years have seen a herculean response by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and other agencies working with the scientific community to save the last wild and growing Franciscan manzanita; a plant thought to be extinct in the wild.

[More]

Tools of Conservation: Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund

Many of us already are aware of how strongly the health of threatened and endangered species is linked to our own well-being.   Clean air and water, recreational activities, and livelihoods are dependent on habitats that sustain these species.  So how can we ensure a healthy future for our community and protect treasured landscapes for future generations?

The task may be large, but it is a shared responsibility, as the fish, wildlife and plants across America belong to everyone.

Tubby Cove Boardwalk

We have a number of creative tools for actively engage states and landowners to find improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover threatened and endangered species in cost-effective ways.

What is an example of one of those tools?

[More]

Take a Photo Tour

If you didn't know, every region has a Flickr page with some great imagery - so does our National Digital Library (along with lots of other cool things).  Here's a quick photo tour of our regions. Enjoy!

These Mexican spotted owls, listed as threatened, rest in a canyon in Utah, in the Mountain Prairie Region. Rock walls with caves, ledges, and other areas provide protected nest and roost sites. 

Mexican Spotted OwlsPhoto Credit: Amie Smith

[More]

Recovery Success: The Lake Erie Watersnake

Today I get the opportunity to tell you all about a recovery success story.  The harmless and helpful Lake Erie waternake is being removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife – the 23rd species to be delisted due to recovery.  The watersnake population has exceeded the minimum recovery level initially established (5,555 snakes).  As of 2009 there were 11,980, with about 300 acres of inland habitat and 11 miles of shoreline protected for the snake since it was listed. 

[More]

The Cost of Invasive Species

Even if you’ve never heard the term ‘invasive species’, chances are they’ve affected you in one way or another.  Invasives are any non-native species or organism that cause harm to a non-native environment.  For example, you may have heard about the brown marmorated stink bug, introduced accidentally into Pennsylvania from Asia, which has descended on towns along the east coast.  With no natural predators, the insects are able to multiply, feeding on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, hurting farmers and their crops. 

Brown Marmorated Stink BugCredit: David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ

A widely referenced paper cites the cost of invasive species to be more than $120 billion in damages every year to the United States. 

I’ll say it again - $120 BILLION dollars in damages from invasive species.

[More]

Putting a Stamp on Conservation

The Federal Duck Stamp.  To be honest, before I started working here, I really didn’t know much about it.  Maybe you’re like me, and you don’t know there’s a national art contest to create the new Duck Stamp each year.   If you’re an artist, you may want to consider creating something for the contest.  While time might be running a little thin to submit something this year (entries must be postmarked by midnight on August 15th), maybe you’ll consider entering next year.

2011 Duck StampCurrent Duck Stamp, Artist: James Hautman

What’s the purpose of the Duck Stamp, though?  Of course art contests can be fun, but here’s what it is all about.  Aside from being required for hunting waterfowl, the Duck Stamp serves as a very important conservation tool.  Ninety-eight cents of every dollar generated from Duck Stamps goes directly to buy or lease wetlands for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System, making the Duck Stamp one of the best dollar-for-dollar investments in the future of America’s wetlands.

[More]

Endangered Species Spotlight: the Kirtland's Warbler

Kirtland's warbler singing a song on a Jack Pine in our Midwest Region.  Find more photos here.

As the principal federal partner responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA), we take the lead in recovering and conserving our nation's imperiled species; this includes winged fellows like the Kirtland's warbler, the subject of today's Endangered Species Spotlight. Our endangered species program regularly features profiles on these amazing creatures.  You can find the full stories on the Endangered Species site.

If you’re from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, there’s a chance you’ve seen the bright yellow belly or heard the sweet songs of the endangered Kirtland’s warbler. Their song is high pitched but soothing, a pulsating chirp that can faintly echo through the forest on a quiet day.

[More]

Teddy Roosevelt and the History of the National Wildlife Refuge System

Today, there are 553 refuges across the country, with at least one in every state, providing safety to more than 250 threatened or endangered plants and animals.  Have you ever wondered how we got there?

President Roosevelt, known for his love of nature and wildlife established Pelican Island as our first national refuge in 1903.  Though he didn’t know it at the time, Roosevelt had set the nation on the path to building the largest national Refuge System in the world. 

Throughout his presidency, refuges were established around the country, and by the time he left office in 1909, he had declared 53 refuges in 17 states and three territories.

[More]

Happy 235th America!

Bald eagle in Flight
Bald eagle soaring in flight from the USFWS Pacific Region Download.

We hope our series on climate change gave you a better understanding about how climate impacts nature across the country.  While that series is now over, the Open Spaces blog has just begun!  Visit often for new stories about what we’re doing in the Service to conserve and protect wildlife and their habitats.

In honor of our nation’s birthday, we dedicate today’s post to an American icon and one of our greatest conservation success stories in the Service: the bald eagle.  In our nation’s history, the eagle has always been a shining symbol of freedom and strength, but the story of this majestic bird has not always been as bright.

A little more than a half-century ago, the bald eagle was facing extinction.  Widespread use of DDT, loss of natural habitat, and overhunting were major factors contributing to a massive population decline of the eagle.  In 1967 it was declared an endangered species, and shortly after, the EPA banned the use of DDT. Successful efforts to restore eagle habitats and restrict hunting allowed populations of the birds to steadily increase, and on August 9th, 2007 the bald eagle was officially delisted and declared recovered, healthy and growing.

[More]

Last updated: June 21, 2012