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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Marvelous Millerbird Recovery

By Brynn Walling, USFWS

Aloha! Today we are taking you to the Hawaiian Islands so that you can get to know your species! Specifically, we are talking about the Nihoa millerbird. This species was listed as endangered in 1967, preceding the Endangered Species Act. Since then, a translocation project has been implemented to help the existing population flourish.

(Check out this video of the millerbird!)

Millerbirds are small birds, only about 5 inches long. The females tend to be slightly smaller than the males. They have dark olive and olive brown feathers with white bellies.

Until recently, Millerbirds could only be found on the Nihoa Island. Their population has ranged from 30 – 800 over the last 100 years. Since all of the birds lived in only one location, this increased their chance of extinction. A translocation project was put into place to help conserve Nihoa millerbirds and expand their range and secure their future. Two separate translocations were completed. In 2011, 24 birds were moved to Laysan Island. The next year, 26 more birds were taken to the island.

This translocation project has been successful thus far. Not only has it helped the Millerbird population, but has increased the Hawaiian ancestral knowledge as well. In fact, Nihoa has become a popular name among the Hawaiian residents!

Find out more about the history of the Hawaiian Island and the millerbirds role throughout by watching this great video:

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!

Making the Outdoors More Accessible — and Fun — for All Americans

By: Joan Moody, senior public affairs specialist, DOI

Mud Pond Trail has attracted a lot of accolades for a short trail in the White Mountains Region of New Hampshire little more than half a mile long.  Located in the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Mud Pond became a tiny part of the nation’s first National Blueway — the huge Connecticut River watershed — in May 2012.

Gall
Hubert Gall REALLY enjoys the universally accessible Mud Pond Trail in New Hampshire. Photo by Ursula Gall.

A year later, on May 31, 2013, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis honored Mud Pond and other trails in the country as national recreation trails, adding a total of 650 miles to the National Trails System.   

But what visitor Hubert Gall and his family love most about Mud Pond Trail is the universal accessibility for those in wheelchairs, like Hubert. "A concerted effort involving volunteers and government oversight is making it possible for physically impaired individuals to get back in touch with nature," Gall says.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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

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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)

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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.”

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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.

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

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

Maine
We are the Penobscot River
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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
nc_mussels
Service biologist John Fridell uses a clear bottomed viewer to search for Appalachian elktoes in Tuckasegee River. (Photo: Gary Peeples/USFWS)

Oregon
The Oregon Chub Makes Its Way Upstream Towards Recovery
chub1
 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)

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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.”

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