Ecological Services
Northeast Region
Endangered Species News and Highlights

slabside pearlymussel
Slabside pearlymussel Credit: Jeff Powell/USFWS

Two freshwater mussels added to endangered species list with designated critical habitat in VA

September 25, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the fluted kidneyshell and the slabside pearlymussel as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. These two mussels are found only in portions of the Cumberland and Tennessee River systems in Virginia and four other states. The Service is also designating about 1,380 miles of stream channel in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia as critical habitat for these mussels. Link to .

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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
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


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.

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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


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


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)


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.

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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.


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.


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



Diamond darter
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently identified a total of 123 river miles that would be necessary to the recovery of the diamond darter, a West Virginia fish that the agency proposed to protect under the ESA. Credit: Stuart Welsh/USGS

Federal endangered species agencies propose to simplify review for habitat proposals under ESA

August 24, 2012

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service, the two federal agencies responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act, jointly proposed to simplify and clarify one of the processes under the ESA. The proposal regards how the Services analyze the impacts of identifying habitat important to the recovery of species, called critical habitat in the ESA. By improving the clarity and consistency of regulations, the Services can continue to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the ESA.

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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.

News release
More information


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


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.

More on the monkshood


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.

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.


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.

More on plovers


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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piping plover on Massachusetts beach
A piping plover on a Massachusetts beach. Credit: Amanda Boyd/USFWS

Biologists check on piping plovers at Duxbury Beach, Mass.

New England field staff met with the state and beach association on their management of piping plovers at Duxbury Beach. The partners dedicate significant resources toward plover and tern conservation.

More on plovers


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.

More on endangered species consultation


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.

More information



NYSDEC biologist Lance Clark paddling on the Chenango River.
NYSDEC biologist Lance Clark paddling on the Chenango River. Credit: USFWS

Surveys for hellbender salamander continue in NY

The Service's New York Field Office and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation surveyed the Chenango River for possible hellbender habitat for summer surveys. Very few hellbender sightings have been reported from this river, but biologists are hopeful hellbenders are present, even despite the heavy flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee late last summer.

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Great Works Dam
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
Blog post
Press release
Other materials


Bog turtle habitat
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.


Blacksburg Country Club settles with U.S. on 2007 fish kill in Montgomery County, Virginia

The U.S., represented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recently settled natural resource damage claims against the Blacksburg Country Club for injuries to natural resources caused by release of hazardous substances from its golf course in Blacksburg, Va., in 2007. An estimated 10,335 fish, including 169 Roanoke logperch -- a freshwater darter protected under the Endangered Species Act -- were killed.

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New England cottontail
New England Cottontail
Credit: David Tibbetts/USFWS

R.I.'s Patience Island gets rare new resident

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state Department of Environmental Management and others helped transfer New England cottontails in March from the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge in Rhode Island to Patience Island in Narragansett Bay. The rabbits continued to do well through mid-April. Additional females at the Roger Williams Park Zoo have given birth, and the zoo continues to expect more litters.

Learn more about the captive breeding program


spectaclecase
A mature and juvenile spectaclecase mussel found during a mussel survey. Spectaclecase mussels are gone from more than half of their historical range. Credit: Tamara Smith/USFWS

The sheepnose and spectaclecase freshwater mussels listed as endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the sheepnose and the spectaclecase, two freshwater mussels found in river systems in the eastern half of the United States, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Threats to both the sheepnose and the spectaclecase include loss and degradation of stream and river habitat due to impoundments, channelization, chemical contaminants, mining and sedimentation.

Read the news release


snuffbox
The snuffbox and other freshwater mussels need clean water and healthy habitats.
Credit: Mike Hoggarth/USFWS

The rayed bean and snuffbox join other mussels as endangered species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed two freshwater mussels – the rayed bean and the snuffbox – as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. The two mussels are found in river systems in the eastern United States. They have disappeared from more than half of the streams where they used to live. Freshwater mussels need clean water, and their decline often signals a decrease in water quality.

Read the news release


Atlantic sturgeon
Credit:USFWS

Protecting the future for tiger beetles

The Virginia Field Office held a combined recovery meeting for the Puritan and northeastern beach tiger beetles. Both beetles are highly threatened by shoreline development and have only small populations remaining in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and along the Chesapeake Bay.

More on the Puritan tiger beetle
More on the northeastern beach tiger beetle


Atlantic sturgeon
Credit:USFWS

NOAA lists five Atlantic sturgeon populations under Endangered Species Act

NOAA's Fisheries Service announced today a final decision to list five distinct population segments of Atlantic sturgeon under the Endangered Species Act. The Chesapeake Bay, New York Bight, Carolina, and South Atlantic populations of Atlantic sturgeon will be listed as endangered, while the Gulf of Maine population will be listed as threatened. It has been illegal to fish for, catch or keep Atlantic sturgeon for more than a decade.

Learn more


Image of Endangered Species Bulletin cover
On September 26, 2011, the Black-footed Ferret Recovery Program celebrated the 30th anniversary of an effort to restore to the wild what was once one of most endangered animals in the United States. Credit: Kimberly Tamkun/USFWS

Endangered Species Bulletin showcases 2011 recovery highlights

The Endangered Species Act provides a safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. Looking back on 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud of the remarkable successes of this landmark conservation law. The latest edition of the Endangered Species Bulletin looks at some of the exciting events and incredible achievements from 2011, and the many groups and individuals that helped make them happen.

Press release
Learn more


Karner blue butterfly
Credit:Amanda Dillon

Rare butterfly continues on road to recovery

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission announced that the wild Karner blue butterfly population doubled in 2011 to an estimated 2,182 adults on 200 acres in the Albany area preserve. The commission also released an additional 1,715 butterflies that were raised in captivity.

Learn more


Eastern small-footed bat with white-nose syndrome
Eastern small-footed bat with white-nose syndrome.Credit: Ryan von Linden / New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

North American bat death toll exceeds 5.5 million from white-nose syndrome

On the verge of another season of winter hibernating bat surveys, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and partners estimate that at least 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats have now died from white-nose syndrome (WNS). Biologists expect the disease to continue to spread. WNS is decimating bat populations across eastern North America, with mortality rates reaching up to 100 percent at many sites. First documented in New York in 2006, the disease has spread quickly into 16 states and four Canadian provinces. In response, the Service has been leading an extensive network of partners in implementing the national WNS plan to provide a framework of coordination and management, develop science-based protocols and guidance, as well as fund numerous research projects and improve our basic understanding of the dynamics of the disease.

News Release

Listen to a radio interview on White Nose Syndrome developments


small whorled pogonia
Credit: USFWS

Agencies explore method to boost rare orchid in New Hampshire

The Service and the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau thinned tree saplings at the site of one of the state's largest small whorled pogonia populations. Researchers are interested to see the effects of managing understory on a population demonstrating evidence of decline.


Image of Robbins' cinquefoil
In 2002, the Service announced the recovery of Robbins' cinquefoil, a rare plant once on the brink of extinction. Found only in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, this plant went from a population of 3,700 in 1980 to more than 14,000 plants at its delisting.
Credit: USFWS

Happy Birthday Endangered Species Act!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is celebrating the Endangered Species Act's 38th birthday. Enacted on Dec. 28, 1973, the ESA works not only to prevent the loss or harm of endangered and threatened species, but to also preserve the ecosystems upon which these species depend. In the Northeast, the ESA has enabled the recovery of the Robbins' cinquefoil plant, and it has aided the improvement of purple bean freshwater mussel, Delmarva fox squirrel and Lee County Cave isopod populations.

Read the history of the ESA


Lynx
Male Canada lynx captured with trail camera in fall 2011.
Credit: Peter Abdu and Cameron Ehle

Canada lynx documented in northern New Hampshire

New Hampshire Fish and Game biologists have confirmed the presence of four Canada lynx in northern New Hampshire. The four lynx appeared to be kittens, which suggests that the wild cats are expanding their breeding population across the border in Maine.

Read more


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

Students learn about disease devastating North America's bat populations

Service biologist Susi vonOettingen from the New England Field Office visited Saint Anselm's College in Manchester, N.H., to give a guest lecture on the bat disease white-nose syndrome.

Learn more about white-nose syndrome


Service advises beachfront maintenance in New Jersey

Avalon Borough, N.J., is looking to maintain its beach using backpassing, which would
involve trucking sand alongshore from two beachfront borrow areas to a renourishment area. Avalon, home to nesting piping plovers, plans to backpass up to 100,000 cubic yards of sand each year through 2017. The Service recently released a draft biological opinion for the operation.


Agencies invite public to open-house sessions on incidental trapping of Canada lynx

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invite the public to attend three informal sessions to learn about the permit process, exchange information on techniques to avoid incidental trapping of lynx, and provide feedback on the draft plan and assessment.

Learn more.


Lynx
Credit: USFWS

Wildlife agencies announce request for lynx permit

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a permit to authorize incidental take of federally protected Canada lynx resulting from the state-regulated trapping program. The Service invites the public to comment on MDIFW's draft incidental take plan, a requirement for the permit. The Service also invites comment on its draft environment assessment for MDIFW's application.

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Service holds annual roseate tern meeting

Federal and state agencies, non-governmental agencies and academia met to discuss pursuing research in the bird's South American wintering grounds, investigating staging behavior and movement in Massachusetts and seeking methods to investigate flight patterns to inform wind development assessments in areas of roseate tern habitat.


Male Atlantic salmon
Atlantic salmon showing the kype (hook) in the lower jaw, a characteristic of the male during spawning season. The kype, which is reabsorbed at the end of the spawning season, is used in battle with rival mates.
Credit: E. Peter Steenstra/USFWS

Helping Atlantic salmon reach their historic habitat in Maine

The Service's Maine Field Office is working with Maine Audubon and other partners to hold training sessions for construction firms and towns that are interested in aiding fish passage through streams. The office hopes that some projects will help Atlantic salmon reach historic habitat.


Indiana bat
The threatened and endangered Indiana bat.
Credit: Susi von Oettingen/USFWS

Service reaches out to New York schools

Long-time volunteer Nelson Babcock of the New York Field Office moved their Indiana bat exhibit to the Norwich school district and stream restoration exhibit to Hamilton Central Schools. Both educators use the office's exhibits in their lesson plans and rotate four exhibits each year.


Red knot in Mispillion Harbor
Red knot in Mispillion Harbor, Delaware
Credit: Gregory Breese/USFWS

Service Releases Annual List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released its Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly appraisal of the current status of plants and animals considered candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act. “The candidate list offers the Service and our partners a unique opportunity to address the threats to these species through voluntary conservation efforts on public and private lands,” said Service Director Dan Ashe.

Read the news release
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spotted darter
Male spotted darters have beautiful red spots and blue undersides that signal "Pick me!" to prospective females.
Credit: USFWS

Eleven species do not warrant Endangered Species Act protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced there is not enough substantial information that 11 species from a petition for 404 southeastern species may warrant protection as threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. One of those species, the spotted darter, is found in the Northeast—in New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

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Ozark hellbender
Biologists continue to research the decline of the eastern hellbender in some areas of the Northeast.
Credit: Ken Roblee/New York Department of Environmental Conservation

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists Ozark hellbender as endangered and protects hellbenders in international trade

The Service today designated the midwestern Ozark hellbender as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act and also finalized its decision to list the Ozark and eastern hellbenders in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. CITES is an international agreement to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered or extinct as a result of trade. Collection of hellbenders in the U.S. is a growing concern, and listing hellbenders in CITES will enlist the help of 174 other countries to curb unauthorized international trade.

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Atlantic salmon in the Gulf of Maine are an endangered species
Credit: USFWS

Maine resident charged for keeping endangered Atlantic salmon

A 30-year-old Durham, Maine, man has been charged by the Maine Warden Service with illegally catching and keeping an Atlantic salmon taken from the Androscoggin River.

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Karner blue butterfly
Credit: Phil Delphey/USFWS

Endangered butterfly population doubles in New York

The wild Karner blue butterfly population in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve doubled from about 1,000 in 2010 to more than 2,100 in 2011. About 1,715 adult butterflies were also released into 113 newly restored acres of the Preserve.
Learn more about the preserve.

Learn more about the preserve


Photo of gray wolf
Project partners from The Nature Conservancy, Mathews County, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the homeowners' associations discuss the plans for the offshore breakwater system.
Credit: USFWS

Public and private partners protect Virginia’s shore for people and wildlife

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the Bavon Beach community and many other partners to conserve shoreline habitat for the threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle and to help residents protect private property and maintain their coastal community in Mathews County, Va. The partners are working to develop and fund the construction of a breakwater system that will guard, restore and replenish the beach, which has continued to morph and narrow as the Chesapeake Bay rises.

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American eel
Credit: USFWS

American Eel May Warrant Protection Under the Endangered Species Act

The American eel may need federal protection as a threatened or endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today, following an initial review of a petition seeking to protect the species under the Endangered Species Act.

Read more
Learn about the American eel


Photo of gray wolf
The wolf's recovery in parts of the U.S. is due to its listing under the Endangered Species Act, which led to increased research, protection, management and education.
Credit: USFWS

Service invites further comment on endangered status of gray wolf

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the reopening of the comment period on the May 5, 2011, proposed rule to delist the gray wolf population in the Western Great Lakes and revise the listing to remove all or parts of 29 eastern states where the listed species did not historically occur. The action will allow for additional public review and the inclusion of any new information.

Read the news release
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Puritan tiger beetle
The Puritan tiger beetle, measuring under half an inch, was federally listed as threatened in 1990.
Credit: USFWS

Girl Scouts and landowners move Puritan tiger beetle closer to recovery

Chesapeake Bay landowners will partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy to protect more than 450 acres of cliff and shoreline habitat through a $2.4 million federal grant for the threatened Puritan tiger beetle, the Service announced today.

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Biologists with beetles
Biologists collect information on beetles.
Credit: USFWS

Tiger beetles surveyed in Massachusetts

Service staff recently surveyed Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge and found more than 220 northeastern beach tiger beetles. Twenty of the threatened beetles were marked, and a number of previously marked beetles were also found. Habitat is improving at this site, and the population seems to be increasing.

Learn more about this beetle


Two carpentry students work together on a wooden trap
Two carpentry students work together on a wooden trap.
Credit: USFWS

Conserving the New England cottontail

Students at Chariho High School in Rhode Island built wooden traps for the Service and partners to use to find where the rare New England cottontails still exist.

Watch the video
Learn more about the rabbit


Indiana bat
The Indiana bat is one of ten endangered and threatened species that would be included in the NiSource habitat conservation plan and incidental take permit.
Credit: Andy King/USFWS

Service announces possible impacts of draft expansive habitat conservation plan

A draft evaluation of a multi-species, multi-state habitat conservation plan and permit for take of species under the Endangered Species Act is available for a 90-day comment period. The HCP was developed by NiSource Inc., a natural gas distribution company, as it seeks an incidental take permit for operating and maintaining its network of pipelines in 14 northeastern, Midwest and southeastern states.

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Small whorled pogonia
Small whorled pogonia
Credit: Ben Kimball

Study will help manage threatened orchid

Research supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on small whorled pogonia in New Hampshire suggests that canopy thinning within or next to pogonia populations may promote long-term conservation of the species. Biologists removed unwanted vegetation from a population in East Alton, N.H., to double the amount of light reaching the federally threatened orchid species. The number of orchid stems and seed capsules significantly increased, and in an area where vegetation was not managed, the number of orchid stems declined and reproductive effort was unchanged.

Read the the Northeastern Naturalist article (PDF - 2.22MB)
Learn more about the plant


Line drawing of Virginia northern flying squirrel
Line drawing of Virginia northern flying squirrel.
Credit: Robert Savannah

Federal regulations updated for Virginia northern flying squirrel under the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final rule to comply with a court order that reinstated the regulatory protections under the Endangered Species Act for the Virginia northern flying squirrel, more commonly known as the West Virginia northern flying squirrel. The court order had legal effect upon its filing in March, but this final rule is necessary to update the Code of Federal Regulations. West Virginia northern flying squirrels are listed and protected as endangered throughout Virginia and West Virginia.

Read the news release
Learn more about the species


Cottontail released after recorded for tracking purposes in Rhode Island.  Credit:  Southern New England - New York Bight Coastal Program/USFWS
Cottontail released after recorded for tracking purposes in Rhode Island
Credit: Southern New England - New York Bight Coastal Program/USFWS

Service and New Hampshire will partner with landowners to restore New England cottontail habitat

An agreement between the Service and the State of New Hampshire will help restore habitat on private and state-owned lands for the New England cottontail, which was named a candidate for Endangered Species Act protection in 2006. Under this agreement, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will work with private landowners on restoration plans for the next 50 years.

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Line drawing of West Virginia flying Squirrel.  Credit:  Robert Savannah/USFWS
Line drawing of West Virginia flying squirrel
Credit: Robert Savannah/USFWS

West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel Update: Delisting Lawsuit

On August 28, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the Virginia northern flying squirrel, more commonly known as the West Virginia northern flying squirrel (WVNFS).

A lawsuit challenging the final rule was filed, and on March 25, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated and set aside the 2008 delisting rule.

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Photos of recovery champions
Photos of recovery champions.
Credit: USFWS/NH Fish and Game

Service recognizes endangered species Recovery Champions from the Northeast Region

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the 29 recipients of the 2010 Recovery Champion award, four of which are in the Northeast. The award recognizes Service employees and their partners-in-mission for conserving threatened and endangered species in the U.S. This year’s Northeast recipients are Mark McCollough of the Service, Heidi Holman and Lindsay Webb of the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game, and Steven Fuller of the Wildlife Management Institute.

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2010 Art Contest Grand Prize Winner: Drawing of polar bear and beluga whale, Carter Chroeder Anchorage, AK.  Credit:  Endangered Species Coalition
Drawing of eastern cougar. Credit: Mark McCollough, USFWS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concludes eastern cougar is extinct

The Service has completed an extensive five-year status review of the endangered eastern cougar and concluded that no information supports its continued existence. Biologists believe the species has likely been extinct for 70 years. Many people report cougar sightings in the East, but evidence of these sightings suggests that these animals are other subspecies, often of South American origin or from growing western populations. The Service intends to prepare a proposal to delist the eastern cougar.

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2010 Art Contest Grand Prize Winner: Drawing of polar bear and beluga whale, Carter Chroeder Anchorage, AK.  Credit:  Endangered Species Coalition
2010 Art Contest Grand Prize Winner: Drawing of polar bear and beluga whale, Carter Chroeder Anchorage, AK. Credit: Endangered Species Coalition

Service Announces Launch of 2011 National Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Coalition, Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Ogden Museum of Southern Art/University of New Orleans announce the launch of the 2011 national Endangered Species Day art contest. The competition offers young people an opportunity to learn about endangered species and express their knowledge and support through artwork. Endangered Species Day, taking place on May 20, 2011, recognizes the conservation programs nationwide aimed at protecting America's threatened and endangered species.

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Biologists work with endangered mussels. Credit: USFWS
Biologists work with endangered mussels.Credit: USFWS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes endangered species protection for two freshwater mussels

The Service has proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the sheepnose and the spectaclecase, two freshwater mussels found in river systems in the eastern U.S. These mussels occupy less than half the number of streams where they once occurred. Threats include loss and degradation of habitat due to impoundments, channelization, chemical contaminants, mining and sedimentation. The decline of freshwater mussels often signals a decline in the water quality of their habitat.

Learn more about the spectaclecase and the sheepnose.


Last updated: September 27, 2013