Ecological Services
Northeast Region
News and Highlights

northern long-eared bat
This northern long-eared bat has visible symptoms of white-nose synrdome. Credit: University of Illinois/Steve Taylor

Endangered status proposed for northern long-eared bat

October 18, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Northeast populations of the bat, found across all 13 states in the region, have declined by 99 percent since symptoms of the disease white-nose syndrome were first observed in 2006. The Service also determined that the eastern small-footed bat, which has not shown drastic decline at winter hibernacula, does not warrant listing. Comments and information from the public are encouraged through Dec. 2, 2013.

News release
More information


red knot
The bird is one of the longest-distance migrants in the animal kingdom. With wingspans of 20 inches, some knots fly more than 9,300 miles from south to north every spring and repeat the trip in reverse every autumn. Credit: Gregory Breese/USFS

Service Proposes to List Red Knot as a Threatened Species Under the Endangered Species Act

September 27, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a proposal to list the rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa), a robin-sized shorebird that annually migrates from the Canadian Arctic to southern Argentina, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. After an exhaustive scientific review of the species and its habitat, Service biologists determined that the knot meets the definition of threatened, meaning it is likely to become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The knot, whose range includes 25 countries and 40 U.S. states, uses spring and fall stopover areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Changing climate conditions are already affecting the bird’s food supply, the timing of its migration and its breeding habitat in the Arctic. The shorebird also is losing areas along its range due to sea level rise, shoreline projects, and development.

News release
More information, including photos, video and questions/answers


Alpine property
View of Alpine Motorsports property. Credit: USFS

Restoration effort moving forward with land acquisitions as part of 
$21 million Palmerton Zinc natural resource damages settlement

May 24, 2013

State and federal environmental officials announced today that two land purchases have been made to benefit the wildlife, people and landscape of the Kittatinny Ridge.

The two purchases are the Moreton and Alpine Motorsports tracts east of Palmerton in the Aquashicola Creek watershed. Funds for these purchases came from the Palmerton Zinc natural resource damages settlement, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Monroe County Open Space Program, Audubon PA, Blue Mountain Preservation Association, Lehigh Gap Nature Center and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary with the land acquisition expertise of the Wildlands Conservancy.

News Release


Fence
Partners marked the millionth foot of fencing with a decorated post. Credit: USFWS

Partners celebrate 1 million feet of conservation fence in West Virginia

May 20, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Trout Unlimited, working in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency, West Virginia Conservation Agency, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, numerous non-governmental organizations and many landowners, have installed more than 1 million feet of conservation fence throughout the state of West Virginia. Conservation fencing projects provide a "win-win" for farmers, wildlife, and agencies across the landscape. Livestock exclusion fencing is a conservation tool that helps to keep nutrients on the farm and reduces nutrient input into streams and upland forest throughout the watershed.

News release
Photos
More about the W.V. Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program


rabbitsfoot mussel
A Rabbitsfoot Mussel Credit: Dick Biggins/USFWS

Service estimates economic impacts of critical habitat designation for rabbitsfoot mussel

May 8, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has analyzed the economic impacts of designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act for the rabbitsfoot freshwater mussel in Pennsylvania and 11 other states. The agency invites public comment on the draft economic analysis, which shows that across all 12 states, administrative costs to federal and state agencies could be $4.4 to $5.9 million over a span of 20 years; some of that cost may be incurred by local governments and businesses. In 2012, the Service identified just over 120 river miles in Pennsylvania as essential to the conservation of the rabbitsfoot mussel. Critical habitat helps ensure that federal agencies and the public are aware of the mussels' habitat needs and proper consultation is conducted by federal agencies when required by law. It does not set up a preserve or refuge and only applies to situations where federal funding or a federal permit is involved. The rabbitsfoot has been extirpated from approximately 64 percent of its historical range, including West Virginia.

Press release
2012 press release
Critical habitat proposal, economic analysis


Diamond darter
Diamond darter. Credit: USFS

Service estimates economic impacts of critical habitat designation for West Virginia fish

March 28, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has analyzed the economic impacts of designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act for the diamond darter. The agency today released a draft economic analysis concluding that costs related to the proposed critical habitat for the diamond darter would be narrow and mostly administrative. Additionally, the designation would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, such as county governments, small businesses and organizations. In July 2012, the Service proposed that the darter be protected as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and that a total of 123 river miles be established as critical habitat in West Virginia and Kentucky.

For more information, contact John Schmidt, acting field office supervisor, 304-636-6586 x 16.

Questions and answers
Federal Register Notice
Economic analysis
2012 news release


A female West Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus) that was found by U.S. forest service biologists during annual monitoring of nest boxes in November 2012. Credit: Kristopher Hennig, AmeriCorps with the USFS
A female West Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus) that was found by U.S. forest service biologists during annual monitoring of nest boxes in November 2012. Credit: Kristopher Hennig, AmeriCorps with the USFS

West Virginia northern flying squirrels are again considered recovered throughout Virginia, West Virginia

March 4, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has published a final rule to reinstate removal of the Virginia northern flying squirrel, more commonly known as the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, from the endangered species list under the Endangered Species Act. A Nov. 13, 2012, court order reversed a 2011 district court’s decision that the Service erred in delisting the squirrel. This final rule is necessary to update the Code of Federal Regulations to reflect the court order.

Final rule in Federal Register
More on the squirrel


Black ducks, as well as great blue herons and kingfishers, were impacted by the pollution.
Black ducks, as well as great blue herons and kingfishers, were impacted by the pollution. Credit: Irene Hinke-Sacilotto

Defendants pay $4.25 million settlement for restoring natural resources at Industri-plex Superfund site in Woburn, Mass.

February 27, 2013

State and federal officials have received a $4.25 million settlement from the Pharmacia Corporation and Bayer CropScience Inc. for damages to natural resources at the Industri-plex Superfund site in Woburn, Mass. From the late 1850s to the 1960s, companies manufactured various products at the site, including sulfuric acid, arsenic insecticides, organic chemicals, munitions, and glue. Hazardous substances disposed there degraded wetland, river and lake habitat used by a variety of wildlife, including fish, turtles, amphibians and migratory birds. Trustees will begin developing a plan to use settlement funds for restoring injured resources.

More


Common Tern, Petit Manan Island, Maine Coastal Islands NWR. Credit: Kirk Rogers/USFWS
Shady Maple Farm, which is now protected through a conservation easement. Credit: Trustees of Reservations

Officials propose projects for Connecticut's second round of Housatonic River settlement funds

February 12, 2013

State and federal environmental authorities propose to use approximately $2 million from the 1999 Housatonic River settlement to fund seven projects that will increase fish habitat, restore marshes and analyze possible stream restoration projects. The public is invited to learn more about the proposal on February 19 at 7 p.m. at the Kent Town Hall. Funding comes from a 1999 settlement with General Electric to restore, rehabilitate or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources and recreational uses of the Housatonic River that were injured by the release of PCBs from the GE facility in Pittsfield, Mass. The original restoration plan, released in July 2009, awarded about $7 million to 27 projects for aquatic natural resources, riparian and floodplain natural resources, and recreational use of natural resources.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Fact Sheet (PDF - 3.60MB)
Notice of Availability


Common Tern, Petit Manan Island, Maine Coastal Islands NWR. Credit: Kirk Rogers/USFWS
The protection afforded by this grant will support Buzzards Bay's globally significant nesting populations of terns. Credit: Kirk Rogers/USFWS

$3.3 million in grants will conserve coastal wetlands in ME, Mass. and NJ

January 29, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that $3.3 million in grants will go to four critical projects conserving and restoring coastal wetlands and their fish and wildlife habitat. An additional $2.5 million will be provided by partner contributions. The grants are part of $20 million that will fund 24 projects across the nation through the 2013 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants Program. Funds in Maine will go to removing Veazie dam and restoration on the Penobscot River, acquiring land on White Island within Casco Bay Estuary and protecting a portion of Wilson's Cove in the same estuary through a conservation easement. In Massachusetts, funds will permanently protect 65 acres in Nasketucket Bay, and in New Jersey, funds will help the state acquire more than 600 acres in Cumberland County.

National news release

More on Maine
More on Massachusetts
More on New Jersey


Quinnipiac River looking west into the Quinnipiac River Gorge, as seen from
Quinnipiac River looking west into the Quinnipiac River Gorge, as seen from "Red Bridge" in South Meriden, CT. Credit: Arthur Dutra IV

Service proposes two projects to restore fish, enhance recreation in Conn.'s Upper Quinnipiac River

January 3, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a draft restoration plan to restore migratory fish and birds impacted by contamination from two Superfund sites in Southington, Conn. The plan proposes to fund two projects, one restoring migratory fish to the upper Quinnipiac River in Southington and Cheshire, and the second maintaining the Quinnipiac River Canoe Trail from Southington to Meriden. Written comments will be accepted through January 31, 2013.

News release


Review will find if cave-dwelling invertebrate needs federal protection

November 13, 2012

The Heller Cave springtail, a small cave-dwelling invertebrate known only from one Pennsylvania cave, may need protection under federal law as a threatened or endangered animal. This announcement, called a 90-day petition finding, is the first step in the Service's scientific process to determine whether the springtail warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Service was petitioned in October 2011 by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Juniata Valley Audubon Society to list it under the ESA. For the next step, the Service seeks biological information on the springtail. Information will be used in an extensive status review that will determine whether the Service will propose extending ESA protection to the Heller Cave springtail.

More


The first stone is removed from Bartlett Rod Shop Company Dam in Pelham, Mass
The first stone is removed from Bartlett Rod Shop Company Dam in Pelham, Mass. The removal is mostly funded by the natural resource damages settlement. Credit: Meagan Racey/USFWS

More than $353,000 goes to three projects restoring Connecticut River damaged by Holyoke Coal Tar wastes

November 2, 2012

Three river restoration projects are under way after state and federal environmental officials awarded the projects with $353,000 from a 2004 settlement for coal tar contamination to the Connecticut River in Holyoke. The funds will support the removal of a dam on a Connecticut River tributary, the completion of a structure to move fish around a dam on a second tributary, and the monitoring of rare freshwater mussels in the Connecticut River and its tributaries. Projects will benefit a variety of wildlife, including Atlantic salmon, American eel and sea lamprey.

News release


Hannah Morrison - Bow High School intern
Hannah Morrison - Bow High School intern.
Credit: Biodiversity Research Institute

Service receives award from NH high school for hosting intern

October 22, 2012

The Service's New England Field Office will receive on October 30 a 2012 Gold Circle Award for supporting an intern from Bow High School in Bow, N.H., and providing an introduction to the agency and its mission to conserve fish and wildlife.


Merganser at Onandaga Lake
Merganser at Onondaga Lake.
Credit: Biodiversity Research Institute

Bats, birds of NY's Onondaga Lake have high mercury contamination

October 22, 2012

The Service's New York Field Office recently released two reports documenting significant mercury contamination in the bats and birds around Onondaga Lake, a Superfund site, meaning a federally designated abandoned hazardous waste site. The reports will help assess damages to the landscape and wildlife, a step in the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program.

Reports


The crowd watches as an excavator removes the first piece of Bartlett Rod Shop Company Dam
The crowd watches as an excavator removes the first piece of Bartlett Rod Shop Company Dam. Credit: USFWS

Officials and communities kick off dam removal in Pelham, Mass.

October 22, 2012

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff joined partners on October 17 at the Bartlett Rod Shop Company Dam on Amethyst Brook, which feeds into the Fort River and eventually the Connecticut River. The removal of the dam will re-open a half mile of coldwater habitat for the American eel, sea lamprey, eastern brook trout and other fish, and it will also restore natural river functions that benefit freshwater mussels, including the endangered dwarf wedgemussel. The majority of the project was funded by $158,091 from a 2004 settlement between federal and state environmental agencies and the Holyoke Water Power Company and the City of Holyoke Gas and Electric Department for damages to natural resources from coal tar contamination. The Service, through its Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, provided an additional $40,000 and technical assistance.

News release


Community members and partners on a tour of the former site of Hopewell Mills Dam, which is now under restoration
Community members and partners on a tour of the former site of Hopewell Mills Dam, which is now under restoration. Credit: Russ Cohen

Partners celebrate completed dam removal in Taunton, Mass.

October 22, 2012

Federal and state environmental officials, local partners and community members gathered October 19 to celebrate the recent removal of the Hopewell Mills Dam on the Mill River in eastern Massachusetts. The removal, benefiting river herring, shad and American eels, is the first step in a project to reconnect 30 miles of tributaries by removing three dams on the Mill River and providing a structure to pass fish across a fourth dam. The Service's New England Partners For Fish and Wildlife Program has been on the team completing planning, design and implementation of the project.

Blog


Restoration planning continues for rare rabbit
Partners meet with a landowner in a USDA-NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife project. Credit: USFWS

Restoration planning continues for rare rabbit

October 22, 2012

Partners met in October at Clarence Fahnestock State Park in New York to discuss identifying potential private landowner partners for habitat management and to visit a USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service Working Lands for Wildlife project in Dutchess County.


An example of a round culvert that restricts fish movement
An example of a round culvert that restricts fish movement. Credit: USFWS

Biologists check if Maine culverts allow fish passage

October 22, 2012

Staff from the Service's New York and Maine field offices assessed three culverts in the Gulf of Maine to and found that two of the road-stream pipes needed improvements to pass endangered Atlantic salmon and other fish. Biologists usually recommend removing round culvert pipes and replacing them with three-sided culverts or bottomless culverts (arches) to provide fish passage.

More about fish passage and culverts (PDF-1.25MB)


gilt darter
A gilt darter, a minnow-like fish that was last caught in New York State in 1937. Credit: USFWS

Biologists will bring rare darters back to NY's Allegheny River

October 15, 2012

Several Service offices, New York and Pennsylvania state agencies, and the State University of New York at Cobleskill captured 425 gilt darters the first week of October, and the team expects to release the darters in November after disease testing. The project will help restore the historic fish community in the upper Allegheny River.

More about gilt darters


Service biologists train consultants, Army Corps staff
Participants at the workshop in Auburn, N.Y.
Credit: USFWS

Service biologists train consultants, Army Corps staff

October 15, 2012

The Service's New York Field Office provided two workshops to 50 environmental consultants and 20 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff in the last week of September. The group covered the Endangered Species Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the wind energy guidelines, as well as bog turtle, freshwater mussels and Indiana bat issues.


restored wetlands
Areas previously covered in debris and fill have been restored, enhancing wildlife habitat and increasing food control for the nearby Pawtuxet River. Credit: USFWS

Wetlands restored and trail underway in Coventry, RI

October 15, 2012

The Service awarded funds to help restore almost two acres of wetlands and to create trails throughout the 56-acre conservation area at Sandy Bottom Road in Coventry, R.I. Wetlands work was completed this summer, and volunteers have begun work on the trail. The Service awarded $143,000 to this project from a natural resource damage settlement at Picillo Farm Superfund Site, and the funds were supplemented by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Office of Water Resources.

More


Fish get better downstream access on Winnipesaukee River in NH

October 15, 2012

The Service's New England Field Office and Fisheries Program staff collaborated with the state and owners of six hydroelectric projects to tweak operations such that river herring and American eels can more safely move down the Winnipesaukee River. During rain and high flow events, the projects shut down at night to protect eels and herring.


Cabot Station and fishways at the Turners Falls project in Massachusetts.
Cabot Station and fishways at the Turners Falls project in Massachusetts. Credit: USFWS

Five hydroelectric dams on Conn. River up for relicensing

October 15, 2012

The Service will collaborate with state and federal agencies, as well as other organizations, on the upcoming relicensing of the Turners Falls, Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage, Vernon, Bellows Falls and Wilders projects. The five-year process began in early October. The projects collectively impact more than 175 miles of the river, which supports four endangered species and other sea-run fish, including American eel, American shad and river herring.

More on Connecticut River dams


Salmon River below the Chasm Hydroelectric Project.
Salmon River below the Chasm Hydroelectric Project. Credit: USFWS

Service to recommend water flow safe for fish at N.Y. hydroelectric project

October 15, 2012

The Service's New York Field Office monitored water flow this summer at the Chasm Hydroelectric Project, located on a reach of the Salmon River that is home to wild brook trout. The Service will make recommendations to the project so that flows will allow fish and other aquatic animals to survive between spills from the project.

More New York hydroelectric projects


Green Island Power Project.
Green Island Power Project. Credit: USFWS

New facilities will pass fish through Hudson River dam

October 15, 2012

As part of the licensing settlement for Green Island Power Project near Troy, N.Y., the facility will add six structures to pass fish upstream and downstream of the project, including three ladders for American eels; two Denil-style ladders for blueback herring, alewife, and shad; and an innovative downstream screen system. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a new 50-year license to the project on August 17. All structures should be completed within three years and will be monitored for effectiveness.

More


Leedy's roseroot, a cliffside wildflower.
Leedy's roseroot, a cliffside wildflower.
Credit: Phil Delphey

Researchers gather baseline data for invasive plant control in NY

October 15, 2012

The New York Field Office and a graduate student from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry collected information this summer to help evaluate the impacts of the invasive Japanese knotweed on the threatened Leedy's roseroot, found only in Minnesota and along Seneca Lake in New York. The baseline data will be used for comparison following invasive plant control next year, 2013.

More on Leedy's roseroot


Northeastern bulrush, an endangered wetland plant.
Northeastern bulrush, an endangered wetland plant. Credit: U.S. Forest Service

Biologists visit NY's only population of northeastern bulrush

October 15, 2012

The Service's New York Field Office, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New York Natural Heritage Program visited in September the single population of the endangered northeastern bulrush plant, which is in a privately owned wetland within a hemlock hardwood forest. The group discussed coordination options to preserve the population.

More about northeastern bulrush (PDF - 683KB)


Officials meet to identify environmental restoration projects on Mill River, Mass.

October 15, 2012

The Service and state, academic and organizational partners met as the Mill River Work Group to identify and rank potential habitat restoration and land protection projects that would benefit the endangered dwarf wedgemussel and other types of freshwater mussels.

More


Houghton's goldenrod
Houghton's goldenrod. Credit: Charles Peirce, Michigan Wildflowers

Researchers gather baseline data for invasive plant control in NY

October 15, 2012

The Service's New York Field Office joined Bergen Swamp Preservation Society staff and graduate students from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry to collect seeds of the threatened Houghton's goldenrod plant. The students plan to use the seeds to restore native plants on agricultural wastelands in Madison County, New York. The study could result in a second population of the goldenrod in the state.

More on Houghton's goldenrod


Nonquitt Marsh in Dartmouth, Mass.
Nonquitt Marsh in Dartmouth, Mass. Credit: USFWS

Marsh restoration in coastal Mass. to benefit piping plovers

October 15, 2012

Work at the Nonquitt Marsh in Dartmouth, Mass., will target removal of invasive plants, including bittersweet and rosa rugosa, to improve the food and breeding habitat for resident and migratory birds, including the threatened piping plover. The Service's New England Field Office will develop a plover management plan with Massachusetts Audubon Society and landowners.

More about piping plovers


Students at Cato Library Summer Program explore the bat exhibit.
Students at Cato Library Summer Program explore the bat exhibit. Credit: USFWS

Biologists teach students and parents about bats

October 15, 2012

The Service's New York Field Office staff discussed the importance of bats with elementary students in the summer program at the local Stewart B. Lang Memorial Library in Cato, N.Y., and with children in the Lime Hollow Nature Center Summer Program in Cortland, N.Y. Radio telemetry has shown that endangered Indiana bats use wetlands around Cato. About 70 people attended across both the late-August events.

Library and Nature Center websites.


The bat booth at the Syracuse state fair.
The bat booth at the Syracuse state fair.
Credit: USFWS

State fair goers learn about bats

October 15, 2012

Thousands of people at the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse stopped by the booth put together by the Service's New York Field Office and the New York State Parks to promote the importance of bats to the environment.


Restoration plan for Herring River in Mass. moves forward

October 15, 2012

The Herring River Restoration Committee, which includes the Service's New England Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, has developed a restoration plan for the Herring River in Wellfleet and Truro, Mass. The 1,100-acre project on outer Cape Cod has the potential of becoming the largest tidal restoration project in the Northeast. On October 12, the National Park Service released an evaluation of the plan, called a draft environmental impact statement, that includes alternatives for the project. The Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, as cooperating agencies, have worked closely with Wellfleet and Truro towns, and the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration in preparing the statement.

More
Environmental impact statement


NY town restores stream damaged by Irene

October 15, 2012

The Service's New York Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program worked with the Town of Oneonta to stabilize a 1,200-foot section of the Charlotte Creek in Otsego County. In its manually guided channel through the town's playing fields, the stream was vulnerable to Tropical Storm Irene and other flooding events, but the stream now follows a self-regulating, natural meandering pattern under thick forest.

Similar projects


Service proposes to protect fluted kidneyshell and slabside pearlymussel under the Endangered Species Act

October 3, 2012

Current evidence suggests that the fluted kidneyshell and slabside pearlymussel are in danger of becoming extinct in the foreseeable future, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today. As a result, the Service has proposed to protect the species under the Endangered Species Act and is seeking new information from the public and the scientific community that will assist the agency in making a final determination. The fluted kidneyshell and slabside pearlymussel are found only in portions of the Cumberland and Tennessee River systems of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia. The Service is proposing to list them both as endangered and designate critical habitat.


Planting native shrubs for New England cottontails
Planting native shrubs helps create habitat for the New England cottontail, which uses thickets, young forest and shrubland for its home. These young forests are generally less than 25 years old.
Credit: USFWS

$1.6 million will support community-based projects improving the health of Long Island Sound

October 1, 2012

State and federal officials recently announced $1.6 million in 35 grants awarded to state and local government and community groups in New York and Connecticut under the Long Island Sound Futures Fund. When leveraged by $3 million contributed by the recipients themselves, a total of $4.6 million will support conservation projects opening 50 river miles and restoring 390 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat ranging from lakes and beaches to meadows and rivers. Projects range from removing invasive plants at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge to managing 20 acres in Stonington, Conn., for New England cottontails and other wildlife in young forests. This public-private grant program pools funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and Wells Fargo.

More
Fact sheet
Project descriptions


Volunteers placing freshwater mussels
Volunteers placing oyster, Cumberlandian combshells and snuffbox freshwater mussels into the Powell River. Credit: Gary Peeples/USFWS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, students and other volunteers release mussels in Tenn.'s Powell River

September 27, 2012

The Service, Virginia Tech, Lincoln Memorial University, and several other partners released more than 6,500 endangered mussels on Tuesday into the Tennessee stretch of the Powell River. The release represents the largest recovery effort for the three species, and all were raised at Tech’s Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Center in Blacksburg, Va. The Powell River is one of the nation’s most diverse, with nearly 100 types of fish and 35 types of mussels, but it has long faced threats from pollution. Its restoration has been supported by the Service’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration program, which uses non-taxpayer funds to restore natural resources damaged by oil spills or releases of hazardous substances.

Blog post, photos and more



Clifford Branch dam removal
Clifford Branch dam during removal.
Credit: Conor Bell/USFWS

Dam Removal Will Open Brook Trout Stream in Frederick County, Maryland

September 13, 2012

Federal and local officials kicked off the removal of Clifford Branch dam on September 11, a project that will open three miles of habitat for brook trout, Chesapeake Bay watershed’s only native trout. The dam once provided drinking water for the City of Frederick but has been out of use and a restriction on water levels and fish movement. Following the dam removal, restoration work will return the stream to a natural, stable and self-maintaining state.

More information



map of project area and Flanders Stream watershed
Project area and Flanders Stream watershed
Click map to enlarge

Restoring fish access to 535 acres of lake habitat

September 12, 2012

Town of Sullivan, ME

Gulf of Maine Coastal Program will complete a 5-year project on Flanders Stream that will restore access to 535 acres of lake habitat, and 3 miles of riverine habitat for native amphibians and reptiles, as well as sea-run alewives, American eel, brook trout and sea lamprey. GOMCP biologist, Sandra Lary, has spent several years assessing, planning, designing, permitting, funding, and partnering for this project.

Full story
Download "Maine Stream Crossings: New Designs to Restore Continuity"


Sudbury River wayland

Sudbury River area will benefit from projects funded by natural resources restoration settlement

September 4, 2012

Work will soon begin on 11 projects for the wildlife, people and landscape of the Sudbury River watershed, state and federal officials announced today. The projects will be supported by the $3.7 million settlement reached in 1998 by parties for natural resources harmed by mercury and other contaminants from the Nyanza Chemical Superfund site in Ashland, Mass. Funds are allocated in the final restoration plan and environmental assessment for the Sudbury River watershed.

News Release
Restoration plan (pdf)


stream survey technicians measure a culvert
Stream survey technicians measure a culvert
Credit: Mao Teng Lin/USFWS

Stream Restoration Initiative (on Maine Public Broadcasting Network)

August 31, 2012

Every time a road crosses a stream, a bridge or culvert makes that crossing possible. Alex Abbott, a fish passage specialist with Gulf of Maine Coastal Program, describes why it's important to have the right size and type of culvert, and why it's critical to install it properly.

Hear the story on MPBN
Download "Maine Stream Crossings: New Designs to Restore Continuity"


Biologists begin follow-up research on hormones in fish at Vt. refuge

August 27, 2012

The newly developed Indian River Hydropower Project on the Westfield River in Russell, Mass., is collecting information on flows released at the dam and their impacts on habitat and water quality. The Service, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department of Environmental Protection will use data to develop a permanent flow requirement.


juvenile eastern hellbender
Juvenile eastern hellbender, America's largest aquatic salamanders.
Credit: Noelle Rayman/USFWS

Survey shows hellbender salamander reproducing in Allegany River watershed

August 27, 2012

New York field staff worked with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Seneca Nation of Indians to conduct a hellbender survey in the Allegany River watershed during the beginning of August. The discovery of two individuals, one 2-year-old salamander and an adult, suggest successful reproduction is occurring in the watershed.


installation of rock riffle
Carl Schwartz, private lands coordinator, directs contractor installation of rock riffle.
Credit: M. Naley

Restoration begins at NY's AuSable River

August 27, 2012

Close to 3,000 feet of the AuSable River are being reconstructed using toewood and rock riffles. Trout Unlimited, AuSable River Association, Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District, Rivermede Farm, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are supporting the project with time, materials, and/or funding to complete the project. This project has been in the planning stage with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, TU and the Corps of Engineers for more than 15 years. Using the Service's design, the project will be completed in four weeks at a fraction of the original estimated price.


cyclers
Cyclists along new bike trail. Credit: USFWS

Partners celebrate bike trail in New Milford, Conn.

August 27, 2012

A new mile-long bike trail provides access to the scenic Housatonic River and its corridor for fishing and picnicking. The natural resource damage settlement for General Electric helped fund the trail and additional work to remove invasive plants and place bluebird boxes in the area. Trustees for the settlement have sought to restore public recreational opportunities in addition to aquatic and riparian habitats impacted by PCB contamination.

More


Pennington Gap Greenway stream restoration site
The Pennington Gap Greenway stream restoration site. Credit: USFWS

Sen. Jim Webb's office visits Virginia restoration projects

August 27, 2012

Staff from the Service's Virginia field office took one of Sen. Webb's staff on a tour of restoration projects for the Lone Mountain Processing, Inc., Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration case. The 1996 release of six million gallons of coal slurry into the Powell River watershed damaged threatened and endangered fish and mussels and aquatic habitat for more than 20 miles downstream. Other animals, such as bats and migratory birds, may have been affected by contaminants accumulating through the food chain.

Featured projects include: Stone Creek Tipple restoration site, a project designed to restore, protect, and enhance riparian habitat and provide opportunities in Lee County for community use and outreach; Pennington Gap Greenway stream restoration site, a project designed to protect and enhance riparian habitat through 700 feet of streambank stabilization along the North Fork Powell River; and acid mine drainage restoration site, a project water quality in the Powell River drainage.

More


Biologists check flow study at new hydropower project in Mass.

August 27, 2012

Biologists from the Service's New England and Chesapeake Bay field offices deployed equipment at Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Swanton, Vt., that will collect valuable information on water quality for the research.


Virginia big-eared bat
Both endangered Virginia big-eared (above) and Indiana bats may be injured by turbines as they travel across the ridge tops and high plateaus where wind farms are placed.
Credit: Jeff Hajenga/WVDNR

West Virginia energy company requests Endangered Species Act permit from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

August 23, 2012

The Service has released the second draft habitat conservation plan for a wind project in the Northeast. Beech Ridge Energy developed the plan for its permit application addressing impacts to the endangered Indiana bat and Virginia big-eared bat at its project in Greenbrier and Nicholas counties, West Virginia. The Service invites comment on its draft environmental assessment of the project, Beech Ridge Energy's permit application and the company's draft habitat conservation plan, a requirement for the permit. The plan would cover 25 years of operations of 67 wind turbines, construction and operations of an additional 33 turbines, and decommissioning of the turbines at the end of the permit period.

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Indiana bat
Healthy, hibernating Indiana bat
Credit: Ann Froschauer/USFWS

$1.3 million in grants will support land acquisition and conservation planning for endangered species in W.Va. and Penn.

August 14, 2012

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced August 14, 2012, two grants to support conservation planning in Pennsylvania and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered animals in West Virginia. In Preston County, West Virginia, $700,000 will help acquire habitat for the threatened flat-spired three-toothed land snail and the endangered Indiana bat. In Pennsylvania, $600,000 will support state agencies' efforts to address forest land management activities on state lands to benefit the Indiana bats and other bats. Awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, the grants are part of $33 million to fund projects in 21 states benefiting numerous species, from the Peninsular bighorn sheep to Kirtland's warbler.

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Bicknell's thrush
The Bicknell's thrush, among the rarest of eastern North America's songbirds, nests at or near the highest elevations of mountains in New England and New York.Credit: T.B. Ryder

Review will find if rare songbird needs Endangered Species Act protection

August 14, 2012

The Bicknell’s thrush may need protection under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today, following an initial review of a petition seeking to list it as threatened or endangered. The Service will now begin an extensive status review for this songbird to determine if adding the species to the federal list of threatened and endangered wildlife is warranted. One of the most secretive thrushes in North America, the Bicknell’s thrush has one of the most limited breeding and wintering ranges of any bird on the continent.

News release


Karner blue butterfly
Credit: Phil Delphey/USFWS

Warm seasons disrupt Karner blue butterfly cycle in N.Y.

Albany Pine Bush Conservation Director Neil Gifford recently spoke to the local paper on the impacts that the unusually warm weather has had on the Karner blue butterfly population at the preserve. A generation of butterflies that typically remains in eggs through winter has already hatched, and biologists are unclear on whether this generation will have time to lay eggs for next year's generation.

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diamond darter
The diamond darter is a member of the perch family, but differs from most other perch by their smaller size and more slender shape.
Credit: Stuart Welsh/USGS

West Virginia fish may become protected under Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed that the diamond darter be protected as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and that a total of 123 river miles be established as critical habitat in West Virginia and Kentucky. This small fish, named for its sparkling reflections, could once be found along the southern Appalachians, but years of changes from dams and channeling restricted this native fish to one stream along the Elk River in West Virginia. Coal mining, oil and gas development, erosion, timber harvesting and poor wastewater treatment could make river waters unlivable for the diamond darter. The designation of critical habitat is for purposes of consultation with other federal agencies.

News release


Leedy's rose root
Leedy's roseroot is a threatened cliffside wildflower, found today in only six locations in two widely separated states.Credit: USFWS

Research and invasive plant control will help rare plant

New York field staff met with researchers from the SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry, The Nature Conservancy, Finger Lakes Land Trust and local land stewards at the Leedy's Preserve and Conservancy Preserve in Glenora, N.Y., to provide assistance and review site conditions for upcoming efforts to control the invasive Japanese knotweed that grows thickly along the base of the cliff habitat used by Leedy's roseroot.

More about Leedy's roseroot


fishway
Hydropower projects can inhibit fish migration, warm waters, break up habitat and eliminate places for spawning. Credit: USFWS

Fishway improved at N.Y. hydropower project

The Service and New York state inspected the recently modified downstream fishway at Waterloo Hydro on the Seneca River. The modifications to the passage sluice provide a much gentler passage than the previous design. Additional modifications are needed, including alteration of the gate to provide a surface release, an additional weir near the top of the sluice, a notch in the last weir, and adjustments to some of the weir heights.

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monkshood
The northern monkshood is noted for its very distinctive, blue hood-shaped flowers.
Credit: USFWS

Survey initiated for wild northern monkshood in New York

Service biologists met with the Olive Natural Heritage Society to discuss site conditions and access to the threatened wild northern monkshood populations in New York. These populations are located entirely within the Catskill Forest Preserve and are scattered across a variety of terrain and accessibility. The group re-censused the population at Peekamoose Gorge, a refrigerated talus ravine with ice and markedly cool temperatures present throughout the summer months. Historically, this population has been the largest in New York with over 400 plants, but initial 2012 data shows a marked decrease in numbers and heavy impact from deer browse.

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Phragmites
Phragmites, or common reed, is a tall grass that aggressively invades wetlands.
Credit: Eric Schrading/USFWS

Biologists survey success of invasive plant control in N.J.

The Partners program assessed seven marsh wetland areas that were treated for invasive phragmites (common reed) plants along the Mullica River in Ocean County. All project sites had between 50 and 70 percent reduction in the invasive plants, which were replaced with 12 different native types of plants.

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piping plover
The trustees propose to implement an enhanced management program that will effectively improve the plover population at breeding sites in the two states. Credit: USFWS

Public meeting held for eastern Mass. piping plover restoration

The natural resource trustees, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal and state agencies, gave a presentation in Fall River, Mass., on July 10 to discuss the draft restoration plan for piping plovers impacted by a 2003 oil spill in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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Yellowfin madtoms
Yellowfin madtoms look like miniature catfish but have a stronger sting. Their sensitivity to water quality makes them good indicators of river health. Credit: Conservation Fisheries, Inc. Credit: USFWS

Rare fish released in Powell River

Conservation Fisheries, Inc., released 220 yellowfin madtoms in mid June in Southwest Virginia's Powell River as part of the partnership to restore the river and its wildlife that suffered a coal slurry spill in 1996 that spread more than 20 miles downstream. The madtoms, a threatened minnow-sized fish, will add to the reintroduced population raised in captivity. The efforts are supported by a natural resource damage settlement.

More on the coal slurry spill
More on Conservation Fisheries, Inc.


terns nesting
Roseate terns nest in shelters on Bird Island in Buzzards Bay. Credit: Susi von Oettingen/USFWS

Communities get $6.6. million for restoration projects in Mass.

The New England field office joined its federal and state partners on June 18, 2012, for the New Bedford Harbor Round IV restoration kick-off event to celebrate the funding of six projects restoring natural resources damaged from decades of toxic PCB pollution in New Bedford Harbor.

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piping plovers
Piping plovers feeding on a beach.
Credit: Gene Nieminen/USFWS

Checking on Cape Cod's piping plovers

New England biologists visited four different plover nesting sites at the end of June—Torrey Beach and Chapin Beach in Dennis, North Island Beach in Chatham and Seagull Beach in Yarmouth. At Torry, they helped Massachusetts Audubon place signs and rope off areas with nesting plovers and common terns. At Chapin Beach, they observed a graduate student's work with plovers that will hopefully determine possible impacts of a turbine. In Chatham, they reviewed new habitat for the plovers on the National Seashore. At the last beach, Yarmouth, they observed five pairs of plovers and their chicks. The town there has provided enforcement of dog walking regulations when needed.

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Indiana bat
Threats to the Indiana bat include fragmentation, degradation, and destruction of forested summer habitats.
Credit: Susi von Oettingen/USFWS

Biologist helps road planners protect endangered bats

New Jersey field staff met with the Department of Transportation and associated contractors to discuss tree clearing and trimming next to New Jersey Route 15. Conservation actions were recommended to prevent adverse impacts to Indiana bats.

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Monitoring of rare plant in N.J. continues

New Jersey field staff work with Columbia University to monitor the Kneiskern's beaked rush, a grass-like plant found only in New Jersey.

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A variety of partners from the state and local organizations help complete surveys.
A variety of partners from the state and local organizations help complete surveys.
Credit: USFWS

Rare snail surveys continue in N.Y.

The New York field office is working with the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to survey for Chittenango ovate amber snails throughout the summer. In the first week of June, they had a record count of 75 within the survey area, which accounts for about half the snail population. Biologists are finding new snails and recaptures from previous surveys.

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dwarf wedgemussels
The dwarf-wedge mussel is relatively small, rarely exceeding 1.5 inches in length.
Credit: USFWS

Agencies coordinate to protect endangered freshwater mussels

New England field staff met with Massachusetts state agencies, the Town of Whately, Mass., the Corps of Engineers and FEMA to discuss surveys for endangered dwarf wedgemussels in a site where the town seeks to protect a well from erosion and flooding of the Mill River.

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Karner blue butterfly
The Karner blue butterfly, an endangered species, is a small butterfly that lives in oak savannas and pine barren ecosystems from eastern Minnesota and eastward to the Atlantic seaboard. Credit: Joel Trick/USFWS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Grid announce conservation plan and endangered species permit for two butterflies

The Service has issued a 50-year incidental take permit to National Grid for impacts to the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly and state-protected frosted elfin butterfly during its gas and electric operations in New York. The Service has also approved National Grid's habitat conservation plan, a requirement for the permit. The plan will cover operations, maintenance and construction activities, as well as conservation efforts, associated with the company's facilities in the eastern and central sections of the state.

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Lake Ontario
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restored these wetlands by cutting channels in Cattail Marsh at Delaney Bay, which is near where the St. Lawrence River exits Lake Ontario. Credit: USFWS

Much support for northern N.Y. wetland restoration

The International Joint Commission rolled out the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Water Level Regulation Plan to restore wetlands that suffered degradation during 50 years of water level fluctuations. Efforts will benefit a variety of fish and wildlife, as well as boating, hydropower and vacation opportunities.


Ralph Tiner
Ralph Tiner has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1977, and he is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Insect Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Credit: USFWS

Wetlands ecologist receives award for significant service

As regional wetlands coordinator, Ralph Tiner has advanced wetland conservation and science not only in the Northeast, but also on a national level. Earlier this year, one of his publications was recognized among the 30 most influential publications in wetland science over the past 30 years. On June 11, Tiner was awarded the Department of Interior Superior Service Award for his contributions in leadership, coordination and expertise to his field and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Wetlands Inventory program.

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little brown bat
Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome in Greeley Mine, Vermont, March 26, 2009.
Credit: Marvin Moriarty/USFWS

Biologists band N.H. bats

The New England field office assisted in research for white-nose syndrome by examining wings of surviving little brown bats in a healthy colony in Charlestown, N.H., in late June. This was the third year of trapping, banding and examining adult and young little brown bats. The landowner joined the Service, New Hampshire Fish and Game, and Boston University biologists during the evening trapping.

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little brown bat with white-nose syndrome
Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome.
Credit: Marvin Moriarty/USFWS

Service helps doctoral research on WNS

New England field staff helped a Boston University doctoral candidate in research on bats impacted by white-nose syndrome in a private barn in Hancock, N.H.

More on BU research


Land trust releases N.Y. conservation report

The Finger Lakes Land Trust has assessed the Upper Susquehanna watershed for conservation priority areas. Threats to the region from sprawling development patterns, alterations of creeks and wetlands and natural gas development are growing. New York field staff provided information to help develop the report.

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A variety of partners from the state and local organizations help complete surveys.
A variety of partners from the state and local organizations help complete surveys.
Credit: USFWS

Rare snail surveys continue in N.Y.

The New York field office is working with the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to survey for Chittenango ovate amber snails throughout the summer. In the first week of June, they had a record count of 75 within the survey area, which accounts for about half the snail population. Biologists are finding new snails and recaptures from previous surveys.

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group photo
Group photo from Envirothon. Credit: Envirothon

New England staff helps school environmental competition

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked with New Hampshire Fish and Game to design and hold the wildlife section of the 2012 New Hampshire Envirothon in May. The Canon Envirothon is North America's largest high school environmental education competition and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Each year, the Envirothon touches and positively influences the lives of more than 500,000 young people across the country. The New England office has been involved in it for 17 of those 25 years.

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OSM director viewing mussels in Indian Creek
OSM director viewing mussels in Indian Creek. Credit: USFWS

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Director Dons Chest Waders in Indian Creek

On May 24, 2012, after a week of visiting with stakeholders in Appalachia's coalfields, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) Director Joseph Pizarchik and OSM staff joined biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) on the banks of Indian Creek in Cedar Bluff, Virginia. The group discussed OSM's role in overseeing mining activities and the importance of ensuring maintenance of water quality in southwestern Virginia, the nation's top hotspot of aquatic biodiversity. Director Pizarchik donned chest waders to assist Service biologists in the creek as they searched for the federally listed endangered tan riffleshell and other freshwater mussels. The Director's visit served to reinforce OSM's continuing commitment to VDGIF, the Service, and others to support recovery efforts for the large number of federally listed aquatic species living beneath the surface of streams in the upper Tennessee River basin.


Great Works Dam
The Great Works Dam, 1,000 feet of concrete, timber and cribwork, is the second dam closest to the sea. The first, the Veazie dam, will be removed next year. Credit: Bridget Besaw/Penobscot River Restoration Trust

Penobscot River Restoration Project begins removal of Great Works Dam

Demolition of the Great Works Dam begins today, a major step toward freeing the Penobscot River to flow from Old Town, Maine, to the Gulf of Maine for the first time in generations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Penobscot River Restoration Trust, and public and private partners will celebrate the beginning of the removal of this dam with all-day activities including a press conference and luncheon. This historic event is a key component of the innovative Penobscot River Restoration Project aimed at reviving native fish populations, renewing cultural traditions, and creating economic and recreational opportunities, all while maintaining existing hydropower production along the largest river within Maine.

Event details
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Photo of Blind Bay restoration project
Restoring bog turtle habitat. Credit: USFWS

Partners connects bog turtle habitat in N.J.

Eric Schrading with the Service's New Jersey Field Office worked at the end of April with a private landowner and the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority to restore close to a mile of land between two bog turtle wetlands and develop a wooded corridor for travel and protection.


vernal pool
Creating a vernal pool, a temporary body of water used by many types of wildlife for food and breeding. Credit: USFWS

Restored wetlands will help waterfowl, rare sparrow and other birds

The New Jersey Field Office worked with NRCS's Wetland Reserve Program to restore 278 acres of degraded wetlands in Downe Township in Cumberland County. The Service helped with a number of activities, including restoring vernal pools and removing obstructions to water flow. Returning tidal flow will restore habitat for the saltmarsh sparrow that nests in nearby healthy marsh.


terns nesting
Roseate terns nest in shelters on Bird Island in Buzzards Bay. Credit: Susi von Oettingen/USFWS

Volunteers kick off restoration at Mass. island

A team from the Old Bedford Village Development Corp. met the last weekend in April for the annual cleanup of Palmers Island in New Bedford. The event marked the start of restoration planning that will use a portion of funds from the last installment of a $20 million natural resource damage settlement reached in 1991 for the discharge of wastes into the harbor from the 1940s to the 1970s.

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Last updated: October 24, 2013