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A Talk on the Wild Side.

The Mysterious Case of the Missing Mussel

by Joe Bartoszek, Ph.D., Resource Contaminant Specialist, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office

The western pearlshell, once abundant in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River in southeastern Washington, can no longer be found. Although the cause for their disappearance is not known, the long-lived mussel (some individuals have been aged at more than 100 years) may have suffered from releases of contaminants from the Hanford Department of Energy site.
pearlshell Pearlshell mussel collected from the Eel River, CA. (Photo: Dr. Chris Barnhart)   

The Hanford Natural Resource Trustees would like to understand what happened to mussels in the river by testing potential sensitivity to contaminants released from the site, particularly hexavalent chromium (the contaminant made famous in the Erin Brockovich movie).


Special Delivery: Wildlife!

Caution: Saving a species may require heavy lifting – literally picking up wild animals and moving them long distances.

Big animals. Small animals. Skittish, furtive or aggressive animals. Regardless, the same biological rules apply: To better the odds of survival, rare species need more than one population base and the widest gene pool possible.

This spring, Northwesterners got a glimpse of the challenges involved when our staff netted, sedated and trucked 49 endangered Columbian white-tailed deer from Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-Tailed Deer to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, 60 miles southeast in Washington state.

deer_moveA Columbian white-tailed deer in transit at Julia Butler Hansen Refuge in Washington. (Photo: USFWS)

The deer were moved to protect them from the threat posed by an eroding dike between the Columbia River and Hansen Refuge: If the dike failed, flooding might otherwise wipe out the species. A few deer were even flown a short distance by helicopter, suspended by slings.


Boost for Beetles: An ESA Success Story

By Brynn Walling, USFWS

We not only protect threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, but we also strive to prevent species from being put on the list. A great example of this recently took place in Kentucky.

Kentucky is known for its extensive cave systems. Within these caves lives four beetle species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Those species are the greater and lesser Adams cave beetle, beaver cave beetle and surprising cave beetle.


Greater Adam cave beetle (Photo: M. McGregor/Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources)


Hot Fun in the Summertime -- At Your National Wildlife Refuges!

Longer days and warm nights mean many people are looking to spend as much time as possible outdoors this summer -- and we don't want you to overlook your national wildlife refuges as you plan summertime excursions!

yellow_flowersTake in views like this one, captured at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. 
(Photo: USFWS)


Conservation in any Language

By: Stacy Shelton, USFWS

A year ago, Jason Holm opened an email that was like so many he’d seen in his long public affairs career: A national wildlife refuge manager was sharing a television news piece on the refuge’s bird festival.

The Pacific Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with Univision to develop this Spanish language public service announcement.

But this time, Holm couldn’t understand what was said. The reporter, from the Spanish language network Univision, was interviewing a Spanish-speaking volunteer at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, an urban refuge in Portland, Oregon.

“We realized there is this whole other conversation going on that we weren’t involved in,” said Holm, the Assistant Regional Director for External Affairs in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Region. “We spend a lot of time talking about relevance, and struggling to reach people, and here’s this entire untapped audience. All we had to do is let them know we are here.”


ESA At A Glance: Another Photo Essay Just For You!

By Brynn Walling, USFWS

This week, we're bringing you more great images and success stories.

And don't forget to check out this interactive map, which allows you to keep up with plants and wildlife in your neck of the woods. Also, visit our 40th anniversary page to track all of our great success stories throughout the year.

U.S. Breeding Population of Wood Storks: Back from the Edge
A low-flying wood stork at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.
(Photo: Tom MacKenzie/USFWS)

A Strong Partnership Protects Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers
A piping plover with identifying colored leg bands help biologists gain valuable information.
(Photo: Mary Bomberger Brown)

We are the Penobscot River
A project at Sedgeunkedunk Stream in Orrington has reconnected sea-run fish in this stream to 1,300 acres of pond habitat. 
(Photo : USFWS)

North Carolina
Putting mussels on the path to recovery in North Carolina
Service biologist John Fridell uses a clear bottomed viewer to search for Appalachian elktoes in Tuckasegee River. (Photo: Gary Peeples/USFWS)

The Oregon Chub Makes Its Way Upstream Towards Recovery
 Oregon chub. (Photo: USFWS)

Each week, throughout this ruby anniversary year of the Endangered Species Act, we’ll highlight stories of conservation success in every state across the country.

High-Yo Silver, Away! Lone Ranger Forge Comes to the Rescue of Endangered Florida Panthers

By Ken Warren, USFWS

Most associate the term "Lone Ranger" with a fictional crime-fighting, masked man in the Old West who wondered what Kemosabe really meant.

However, folks in the know about Florida panther conservation just might start associating the term with “Lone Ranger Forge,” a critical tract of land secured May 16, 2012, in efforts to build a natural migration corridor for Florida panthers and other wildlife.

About 60 Florida panther proponents gathered in LaBelle, Fla. May 16, 2013 at the Interagency Florida Panther Corridor and Wetlands Restoration Forum. They were there to celebrate American Wetlands Month and the first anniversary of when we joined with partners to acquire and protect the 1,278-acre tract, then known as “American Prime.”

lone_rangerWith the Caloosahatchee River in the background, (from left) Connie Cassler, Larry Williams and Craig Aubrey of the South Florida Ecological Services Office take a break from touring Lone Ranger Forge to share a moment with Florida rancher, Dwayne House (second from left).  Mr. House owns the protected property, which is  a critical part of the natural corridor needed for Florida panthers and other wildlife. (Photo: USFWS)


Meet the Pacific Region 2012 Federal Wildlife Officer of the Year

By Megan Nagel, USFWS

Saving osprey, rescuing orphaned raccoons, making sure boaters are being safe, checking on hunters and educating visitors to the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex . . . National Wildlife Refuge System Federal Wildlife Officer Richard Bare accomplishes a lot in a typical day at work.

officer_bareOfficer Bare received a call that these baby raccoons were orphaned after their mother was hit by a car. He transported them to a wildlife rehabilitation facility. (Photo: USFWS)

“My typical day? There is no typical day!” laughs Officer Bare. “Our mission is to help and protect the resource. One of my favorite things to do is talk with people and educate visitors to the refuge. I think as a federal wildlife officer, that’s one of the most important things I do.”


Celebrating a Successful Recovery for a Snail

By Brynn Walling, USFWS

Slow and steady wins the race!

This week we announced some great news for the Magazine Mountain shagreen snail. In 1989 the snail was listed as a threatened species due to habitat loss and development affects to the land.

Now, 24 years later, the snail is the first ever invertebrate to recover and be removed from the Endangered Species Act!

snail_delist(What a success story! Photo: USFWS)

These snails have a dusky brown colored shell and can only be found in Logan County, Arkansas mainly on the Magazine Mountain. This is a major success story for Arkansas. 


Get a Rare Look Inside an 'Inaccessible' Refuge

By Cindy Sandoval, USFWS

We as an agency manage over 530 national wildlife refuges across the country. Most of the refuges are open to the public to visit and experience America’s plants and wildlife first hand.

There are, however, some refuges that are closed to protect wildlife and the habitat they need to survive.

One such refuge is Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge, within the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation, Pyramid Lake, Nev.

anahoWhile Service employees regularly visit this Refuge, it's closed to the public year-round. (Photo: Cindy Sandoval/USFWS)

Founded as a refuge in 1913, the desert shores of Anaho Island see Service staff, the occasional stranded boater, thousands of nesting birds ... and not much else.


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