1/12/2016 Listing Salamanders as Injurious Due to Risk of Salamander Chytrid Fungus To help prevent a deadly fungus from killing native salamanders, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published an interim rule list 201 salamander species as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act. The fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, also known as Bsal or salamander chytrid, is carried on the skin of various salamander species. Bsal has caused major die-offs of salamanders in Europe and poses an imminent threat to U.S. native salamander populations. The fungus is not yet known to be found in the United States, and to help ensure it remains that way, the Service is publishing an interim rule that will take effect on January 28, 2016. At that time, the importation and interstate transportation of the listed species will be prohibited. The rule also opens a 60-day public comment period (please see the rule in the Federal Register for instructions on how to submit a public comment).
News Release (pdf): “Service Lists 201 Salamander Species as Injurious to Help Keep Lethal Fungus Out of U.S." January 12, 2016
Interim Rule (pdf): in Federal Register on January 13, 2016
Please see the first page of the Interim Rule for instructions on how to submit public comments. The comment period ends on March 14, 2016.
10/16/2015 Important Notice: The New York Field Office would like to join the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in reminding the public to avoid entering caves and mines during the winter in order to protect bat populations.
Bats are under extreme pressure from white-nose syndrome and any disruption of their hibernation could prove fatal. More information is available in the NYSDEC press release and at www.whitenosesyndrome.org/.
9/18/2015 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Initiates Status Review of three NYS species The northern bog lemming, regal fritillary, wood turtle, and 20 species not known to occur in New York State are now being reviewed for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
The Service seeks the best scientific and commercial data available from all sources for the thorough reviews. Organizations or individuals can submit information starting September 18, 2015 through the following Federal Register dockets: northern bog lemming (FWS-R5-ES-2015-0103), regal fritillary (FWS-R6-ES-2015-0078), wood turtle (FWS-R5-ES-2015-0122)
More information is available in this press release.
Credit: USFWS/Ann Froschauer
8/18/2015 New Research Published on Contaminants in Bats Contaminants of emerging concerns are a new group of chemicals that pose a risk to human health and the environment, and include polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), pharmaceuticals and personal care products. A new study shows that some contaminants of emerging concerns are accumulating in the tissue of bats. These contaminants have the potential to affect hibernation, immune system functions, and their ability to respond to white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease causing population-level impacts to bats.
The study was authored by NYFO's Anne Secord and Dan Gefell, et al., and is available here.
7/13/2015 Notice of Availability, Final Restoration Plan Addendum for Cortese Landfill Superfund Site The Final Restoration Plan Addendum presents a preferred alternative consisting of Upper Delaware River stream habitat restoration that compensates for impacts to natural resources caused by contaminant releases and remedial activities associated with the Site. The FWS issued the Cortese Landfill Superfund Site Draft Restoration Plan Addendum for public review on March 27, 2015, and accepted public comments through April 27, 2015. The notice of availability was published in the Sullivan County Democrat newspaper and on the FWS New York Field Office website. No comments were received.
The Final Restoration Plan Addendum for Cortese Landfill Superfund Site is available here.
7/1/2015 Great Lakes Piping Plovers are Back in New York! Exciting news! For the first time since 1984, multiple piping plovers are on Lake Ontario. Two pairs have been observed on state land along the eastern shore of the lake and efforts are being made to ensure that the endangered birds are not disturbed.
6/19/2015 Incidental Take Statements Update The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services), are finalizing the regulations governing Incidental Take Statements (ITSs) for endangered species. The final rule published in the Federal Register on May 11, 2015, and is effective on June 10, 2015.
More information can be found http://www.fws.gov/endangered/improving_ESA/ITS.html
4/1/2015 Northern Long-Eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis) Protected Under Endangered Species Act Service Protects Northern Long-eared Bat as Threatened Species under Endangered Species Act with Interim 4(d) Rule
More species information
4(d) rule explanation
3/23/2015 Notice of Availability, Draft Restoration Plan Addendum for Cortese Landfill Superfund Site The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), on behalf of the Department of Interior (DOI) as the sole natural resource trustee, announces the release for public review of the Draft Restoration Plan Addendum for the Cortese Landfill Superfund Site (Site). As a result of remedial activities and the offsite migration of Site-related contaminants, wetland and riverine habitat, in the Upper Delaware River watershed, were destroyed and/or degraded. Adversely affected natural resources include waterfowl, wading birds, hawks, woodpeckers, swallows, migratory songbirds, invertebrates, reptiles, and amphibians. In addition, the section of the Upper Delaware River watershed near the Site hosts the largest population of wintering bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in the Northeast. The riverine habitat provides feeding and/or spawning habitat for forage fish, American shad (Alosa sapidissima), striped bass (Morone saxatilis), and American eel (Anguilla rostrata). The funds available from this settlement for restoration activities total approximately $100,000. The restoration project proposed in the Draft Restoration Plan Addendum involves Upper Delaware River stream habitat restoration.
The original 2007 Final Restoration Plan for the Site presented a number of restoration projects and the preferred alternative involved wetland habitat restoration within the Upper Delaware River watershed. However, the project proponent for the preferred alternative is no longer able to conduct the restoration project. The Draft Restoration Plan Addendum presents a preferred alternative consisting of a restoration project that compensates for impacts to natural resources caused by contaminant releases and remedial activities associated with the Site. Written comments regarding the Draft Restoration Plan Addendum must be submitted on or before April 26, 2015. Submit comments to: Amy Roe, Environmental Quality Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New York Field Office, 3817 Luker Road, Cortland, New York 13045 or by email: Amy_Roe@fws.gov
The Draft Restoration Plan Addendum for Cortese Landfill Superfund Site is available here.
2/13/2015 $400,000 Settlement on Superfund Site The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced a $400,000 settlement with Honeywell International, Inc. and Amphenol Corporation to mitigate natural resource damages resulting from the release of hazardous substances at the Richardson Hill Road Landfill Superfund site in the towns of Sidney and Masonville in Delaware County, New York. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) contributed to fish and wildlife impacts. PCBs were also in Herrick Hollow Creek at levels causing the New York Department of Health to advise residents not to consume fish from that creek. $300,000 will be allotted to restoring and replacing fish and wildlife resources. For more information, read the press release.
Credit: Rusty Keeler
2/9/2014 Festival of Fire and Ice Around 750 people joined us for the Festival of Fire and Ice at the NYFO co-sponsored Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone! NYFO Supervisor David Stilwell and Outreach Coordinator Andrea Bruns helped plan and facilitate the event, a celebration that invited children of all ages to excavate snow mountains, craft bird feeders, sip hot chocolate, and enjoy an afternoon spent outside. Don't miss these festivities next winter!
1/15/2015 Endangered Species Act 4(d) Rule Proposed for Northern Long Eared Bat The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a 4(d) rule under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), a species we are considering for protection under the ESA. We are also reopening the comment period on our proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered. Public comments can be submitted through March 17, 2015. More information can be found at the Service's northern long-eared bat website.
1/21/2016 Seeking public comment on proposed Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge The USFWS has proposed a brand new National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in the Northeast! The proposed Great Thicket NWR would focus on providing shrubland and young forest for species like the New England cottontail, American woodcock, and many others that rely on this habitat type.
We’re looking for comments from YOU on the draft land protection plan for Great Thicket. To see the full draft plan and learn more about the proposed refuge or how to submit comments, visit http://www.fws.gov/northeast/refuges/planning/lpp/greatthicketLPP.html
1/14/2016 Northern Long-eared Bat Final 4(d) Rule The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a final rule today that uses flexibilities under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to tailor protections to areas affected by white-nose syndrome during the bat’s most sensitive life stages. The rule is designed to protect the bat while minimizing regulatory requirements for landowners, land managers, government agencies, and others within the species’ range.
1/4/2016 Service Releases 2015 List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act Protection The Service today released the Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly status appraisal of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act protection. Two species were removed from the list, and two changed in priority from the last review, conducted in December 2014, including the whitebark pine and Hirst Brothers' panic grass. There are now 60 species recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection.
10/7/2015 American Eel Population Remains Stable The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the American eel is stable and does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. Nonetheless, for the species’ long-term stability, the agency recommends continuing efforts to maintain healthy habitats, monitor harvest levels, and improve river passage for migrating eels.
More information is available here.
10/1/2015 First-ever Release of Captive-reared Chittenango Ovate Amber Snails (COAS) On October 1, 2015 approximately 200 of the threatened snails were released into the species' only known habitat to augment the wild population. The released snails were hatched and raised in a lab at the State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry by graduate student Cody Gilbertson.
9/11/2015 New England Cottontail Listing Not Warranted The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces that listing of the New England cottontail is not warranted.
The 12-month finding can be found here.
More information can be found here.
8/5/2015 Threatened Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail Coaxed into Captive Reproduction This threatened species has gained a new security against extinction with the successful establishment of a captive breeding population. Press Release (pdf)
Learn more about this Chittenango ovate amber snail at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/nyfo/es/coas.htm
7/1/2015 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct Status Review of two NYS species After an initial assessment of 31 plant and animal species petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act, Blanding's Turtle and Spotted Turtle along with 19 species found outside of New York are now being reviewed for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
The Service seeks the best scientific and commercial data available from all sources for the thorough reviews. Organizations or individuals can submit information starting July 1 through the following Federal Register dockets: Blanding's turtle (FWS–R3–ES–2015–0041), spotted turtle (FWS–R5–ES–2015–0064)
More information is available in this press release.
6/19/2015 Proposal to Delist Eastern Cougar The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has published a proposed rule to delist the eastern cougar due to extinction. The public comment period is open until August 17, 2015.
5/26/2015 Niagara River Area of Concern Heron and Osprey Nesting Success and Productivity Monitoring Work Plan for monitoring heron and Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nesting success and productivity and the Year 1 Final Report have been finalized. 2014 was the first of five annual survey events that will be conducted at an intensive level within the NR AOC and represents a full census of every known location that supports nesting Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Great Egret, and Osprey species within the AOC. The study provides the baseline on which future survey events will be evaluated and offers a foundation for future comparisons with other studies locally and in the region. Year 2 surveys began in April 2015.
3/20/2015 USFWS Seeking Comments on Amended NiSource Habitat Conservation Plan The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on a request by NiSource to add the northern long-eared bat to its multi-species, multi-state incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act. The northern long-eared bat is proposed for listing under the Act. Comments are due 4/20/2015. For more information about the NiSource incidental take permit and HCP as well as information about the requested amendment to add the northern long-eared bat, you may call or write, Karen Herrington at Karen_Herrington@fws.gov (phone: (850) 348-6495), or Tom Magnuson at Tom_Magnuson@fws.gov (phone: (612)713–5467). Copies of documents pertaining to the NiSource incidental take permit and habitat conservation plan are available here. Send written comments via U.S. mail to the Regional Director, Midwest Region, Attn: Thomas Magnuson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437-1458, or by electronic mail to permitsR3ES@fws.gov.
2/20/2015 Walleye Spawning Riffle Installed The New York Field Office's Partners for Fish and Wildlife equipment operator Carl Adams, working with Montezuma NWR equipment operator Jeff Graves, installed a spawning riffle for a unique population of walleye on a tributary to Lake Ontario. Work was slowed by sub-zero temperatures with deep snow and thick ice, but the frozen ground helped with access for the trucks delivering rock. Funding for the project and the monitoring was provided by the Fish Enhancement, Mitigation, and Research Fund. The State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry will conduct the monitoring of the walleye response.
2/12/2015 Bat Survey Biennial winter bat surveys are underway across much of the U.S., including New York! NYFO Biologists Robyn Niver and Justin Ecret joined the survey efforts led by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in order to help collect data at one site. During this winter, biologists quickly and quietly enter sites and take photographs of the bats to count back in the office. By learning more about current bat populations, we will be more prepared to protect our furry friends.
1/7/2015 Monarch 90-day Finding: Federal Register Link.
This finding contains two petitions, an August 2014 petition to list the plexippus subspecies of the monarch butterfly as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and a delisting petition for the California gnatcatcher. Public Comment Period through March 2, 2015.