Facebook icon Twitter icon Flicker icon You Tube icon

Open Spaces

A Talk on the Wild Side.

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.


How Will You Leave Your Legacy?

One of the latest trending themes in the Fish in Wildlife Service is for employees to answer the question “How will you leave your legacy?”

The many answers can be found by searching the #LeaveYourLegacy across our various social media sites.

Every 3 years the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes an employee, or group of employees, for collaborating with partners to promote ecosystem sustainability while meeting the requirements for our nation’s ever changing transportation needs. This recognition is called the Environmental Stewardship Excellence Award. In order to be considered for the award, an individual or group has to be nominated, and then a panel of judges assesses the nominations and selects a winner.


A Special ESA Photo Essay, Just For You!

As you know, the Endangered Species Act is turning 40 this year.

As our gift to you, this week we present a glorious photo essay, highlighting some of the states and species we've featured on Open Spaces so far.


Protecting Our Waters: The mussels of Virginia's Clinch and Powell Rivers

(Photo: Gary Peeples/USFWS)


Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel: Journey to Recovery

(Photo: USFWS)


Illinois's Unique Places and Species

(Photo: P. Burton/USFWS)


Whoopers Return to Louisiana After 60 Years

(Photo: Sara Zimorski, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries)


A Rocky Mountain Success Story

(Photo: Colorado Division of Wildlife)

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. Stay tuned!

Kids Get Creative to Save Wildlife

By Claire Hood, USFWS

The threats that face wildlife are often global in scale—poaching, habitat destruction, disease, and climate change, to name a few.

While these problems may seem overwhelming, each person can make a difference in helping to conserve plants and animals, including kids. Over the last several months, the International Affairs Program has heard from children across the country.

save_nautilisU.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Assistant Director of International Affairs, Bryan Arroyo, meets with Josiah Utsch, co-founder of www.savethenautilus.com, to thank him for his conservation work. (Photo: USFWS)

In March, we led the United States delegation and traveled to the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Bangkok, Thailand.


Federal Wildlife Canine Helps Law Enforcement Team Close Poaching Case

By Tina Shaw, USFWS

Our law enforcement officers work every day to uphold all sorts of conservation laws, permits and regulations on refuge lands across the Midwest.

Sure, you may know that they use GPS technology, surveillance and other high-tech tools to get the job done, but did you know that they have another highly sophisticated tool?


Yes! National wildlife refuges have been using trained federal wildlife canines for more than 20 years across the country for everything from search and rescue to finding and retrieving hidden game.

NateMeet 'Nate,' a member of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife law enforcement team. (Photo: Dustin Schelling/USFWS)

Our most recent canine success story comes from the law enforcement team at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois.


Bald Eagles Recover from Sea to Shining Sea

By Brynn Walling, USFWS

From sea to shining sea -- that’s the range of the American Bald Eagle.

And the recovery of this bird is one of our greatest success stories to date.

In 1782, when the bald eagle was named our national symbol, the eagle population was approximately 100,000. Then, in the mid-1800’s, waterfowl and shorebird populations began to decline. Since the bald eagle is at the top of the food chain, this had a major effect on their population too. There was a fight for food.

bald_eagle(Photo Couresy Arthur Nelson)

In 1940 the bald eagle was threatened with extinction. Congress stepped in and passed the Bald Eagle Protection Act, protecting them from poaching and making it illegal to kill a bald eagle.


Bringing Environmental Education to Diverse Audiences

“What are we really accomplishing running 20,000 students through the refuge each year?”

Beth Ullenberg, supervisory visitor services manager at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge questioned the value of field trips.

So Minnesota Valley Refuge initiated a Refuge Partner Schools Program, one of nine programs described in a Special Report: Bringing Environmental Education to Diverse Audiences.


Village elders teach older children how to set and haul nets for whitefish at Selawik Refuge, AK.
(Photo: Susan Georgette/USFWS)

The special report not only gives the public a good insight into the range of environmental education programs offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but it also shares innovative approaches that staff on national wildlife refuges can adapt or adopt for their own communities.


More Entries