Facebook icon Twitter icon Flicker icon You Tube icon

Open Spaces

A Talk on the Wild Side.

Wilderness Act Turns 50

Fifty years ago today (Sept. 3) President Lyndon Johnson signed into law The Wilderness Act, which preserves lands that are some of our greatest national treasures. The lands are left in, or restored to, their natural state and man is just a visitor to them who leaves no imprint. As such, Wilderness offers unparalleled chances for solitude.

MORE: The Service Celebrates | Refuge Wilderness | 50th Anniversary

Andreafsky
Credit: USFWS

Can you imagine being the only one for as far as the eye can see, like this hiker in Andreafsky Wilderness in Alaska? (Well, except for the photographer.) More than half of the acreage in the National Wilderness Preservation System lies in Alaska.

[More]

‘eHarmony for Birds’: A Science – and an Art – to Saving Parrots

On Tuesday we learned that two Puerto Rican parrots were born in the wild in a natural nest cavity and later fledged –the first time this has happened outside El Yunque National Forest in more than 100 years. Puerto Rican parrots have always been found in El Yunque, but a second population was started in Río Abajo State Forest in the 1990s. And the nesting cavity was just outside Rio Abajo. With Puerto Rico and other partners, we have been working toward a self-sufficient parrot population in the wild for more than 40 years.

In celebration, Open Spaces reprints a story from last summer’s Fish & Wildlife News.

 

Puerto Rican parrots
The population of parrots was once estimated at a million but fell to less than 30. Credit: Tom MacKenzie/USFWS

 

At the Service’s Iguaca Aviary in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest, the science that is saving the rare Puerto Rican parrot from extinction is everywhere on display: in the wall of TV monitors that relay images from cameras hidden in each breeding pair’s nest cavity; in the sleek emergency care center, where sick birds can be quickly isolated and undergo surgery if needed; in the meticulous record-keeping on each bird’s history, behavior and genetics.

[More]

The Building Blocks of Women Scientists

Sarah Inouye-Leas built in LEGO. Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS. Taking a cue from toymaker LEGO, which recently introduced a Research Institute set featuring female scientists, folks in our Midwest Region dug out their LEGOs and created their own set of women scientists at the Service. Find new figures every day this week.

Biologists in Alabama Study Up for Bird Survey

Posting signs
Service biologist Matt Laschet and Kelly Reetz with Alabama Gulf State Park post educational bird signs on the beach. Credit: Dianne Ingram/USFWS

The Alabama Gulf Coast has always been an attractive destination for tourists and migratory birds alike, so the Service’s Alabama Ecological Services Field Office takes part in the annual North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS).  Although they are still compiling and analyzing the 2014 data, biologists learned a lot from last year’s survey.

In 2013, biologists conducted surveys on five 24.5-mile routes in Baldwin and Mobile counties with survey points every half-mile. More than 100 survey routes may eventually be completed annually in Alabama.

[More]

Firefighters Still Learning from Historic Fatality Fires

Firefighters
Service firefighters at Battlement Creek near Glenwood Springs, Colorado (from left to right): Jim Krizman,Neal Smith NWR; Iowa; Aaron Roper, Wichita Mountains NWR; Oklahoma; Bart Rye, St. Marks NWR, Florida; Andy Lopez, Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico; John Krueger, Texas Chenier Plain NWR, Texas; Andy Schell, Monte Vista NWR, Colorado; Reggie Forcine, Okefenokee NWR, Georgia; Justin Pyle, Klamath Basin NWR, California; Ted Mason, Fire Management Branch, Idaho; Geoff Wilson, Sheldon-Hart Mountain NWRC, Oregon; Russ Babiak, Fire Management Branch, Idaho; Ryan Sharpe, Merritt Island NWR, Florida.

Thirteen wildland firefighters, from 11 wildlife refuges in six regions and the Fire Management Branch headquarters office, came together over the summer for three days of field study near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, at the sites of two tragic wildfires to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the South Canyon Fire. 

They joined the South Canyon staff ride, May 19-20, sponsored by the interagency Rocky Mountain Training Center. The fire claimed the lives of 14 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and USDA Forest Service (USFS) firefighters on July 6, 1994, and has been the subject of numerous staff rides, a common on-the-ground learning tool for wildland firefighters. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service group then conducted its own staff ride on May 21 at the nearby Battlement Creek Fire site, where three USFS firefighters and an air tanker pilot perished in July 1976.

[More]

Commitment to Environmental Justice Leads Service to Study Anacostia River Fishing

Group fishing at the Bladensburg Waterfront Park
Group fishing at the Bladensburg Waterfront Park. Photo by Kim Lambert/USFWS | MORE PHOTOS

Approximately 17,000 people, many African American or Hispanic, eat fish they catch out of the Anacostia River each year, and often share their fish with hungry people, according to a study commissioned by the Anacostia Watershed Society.  But the watershed contains toxic hotspots caused by pollution such as PCBs, PHAs, metals and other compounds for local facilities.

As part of its commitment to Environmental Justice, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with Anacostia Watershed Society, University of Maryland College Park and the Anacostia Community Museum to study the patterns of urban anglers (subsistence, recreational and cultural) and fish contaminants in the Anacostia River region. 

[More]

How the Current Ebola Outbreak is Affecting On-the-Ground Conservation Work

[Guest blog from the Chimpanzee Conservation Center]

Chimpanzees
Staff and volunteers at CCC are trained with protocols to prevent disease transfer between chimpanzees and humans. Photo by C. Danaud/CCC

The Chimpanzee Conservation Center (CCC) is the only chimpanzee sanctuary in Guinea. The center is located in the Parc National du Haut Niger (PNHN), one of two national parks in the country and a priority site for the conservation of chimpanzees. The CCC currently rehabilitates and cares for 45 rescued chimpanzees. These orphaned chimpanzees are primarily victims of the pet trade and arrive at the CCC after being confiscated by the national authorities. 

The recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea and other countries in West Africa is a major concern to us here at the CCC. Not only is Ebola transferable between humans and animals, including chimpanzees, but we have been dealing with several additional challenges as a consequence of the recent outbreak. 

[More]

Open Spaces Comes Home

After a year-long visit to Tumblr, Open Spaces, the blog of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has returned to its home at fws.gov. We made some improvements to our blog, which we hope you like, and more are coming. 

We're Moving! But Not Saying Goodbye!

Hello, Open Spaces followers!

We're picking up and moving to Tumblr.

Please follow us on http://usfws.tumblr.com/ for the latest posts.

Meet the Species: Madtom

By Brynn Walling, USFWS

The peak flow of water in the Neosho River drainage in Kansas, occurs in June and July.  This is also the time that the federally protected Neosho madtoms (a fish) begin spawning.  That means that there are currently madtom eggs being fertilized in Kansas as we post this blog! 

madtomMadtom (Photo: USFWS)

Neosho madtoms are a federally threatened species in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. These catfish face habitat loss due to dam construction. They are also affected by deteriorating water quality due to zinc-lead mining, agricultural runoff, and increased urbanization and industrialization.  These small catfish only grow to be about 3 inches long and  are only found in 4 locations. Not only are they scarce due to small populations, but they are bottom-dwelling night feeders, so they are a hard fish to spot anyways.      

[More]

More Entries