Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America

Raleigh Field Office

Welcome to the Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office web site. We work to protect endangered and threatened species, migratory birds and migratory fish and their habitat in North Carolina. To accomplish our mission the Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office has these programs: Coastal, Environmental Contaminants, Endangered Species, Project Planning, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife.


Service Initiates Status Review of Monarch Butterfly under the Endangered Species Act

December 29, 2014


Three monarch butterflies upside down,  using straw-like proboscis to drink nectar.

Three monarch butterflies using their straw-like proboscis to drink nectar.

Photo credit: Lilibeth Serrano, USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be conducting a status review of the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service has determined that a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and Dr. Lincoln Brower to list a subspecies of monarch (Danaus plexippus plexippus) presents substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted. 

Monarch butterflies are found throughout the United States and some populations migrate vast distances across multiple generations each year. Many monarchs fly between the U.S., Mexico and Canada – a journey of over 3,000 miles. This journey has become more perilous for many monarchs because of threats along their migratory paths and on their breeding and wintering grounds. Threats include habitat loss – particularly the loss of milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s sole food source – and mortality resulting from pesticide use. Monarch populations have declined significantly in recent years.

The Service will now conduct a status review to determine whether listing is warranted. To ensure this status review is comprehensive, the Service is requesting information through a 60-day public information period.

Read the full story..


Dan River Coal Ash Spill Trustees release list of restoration project proposals submitted by the public in response to scoping document for restoration planning

December 8, 2014


coal ash contaminated river

February 2, 2014 coal ash spill to the Dan River, Rockingham County, NC.

Photo credit: Sara Ward, USFWS

Restoration is the goal of the Dan River Coal Ash Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) process.  Accordingly, the natural resource trustees (Trustees) for the February 2, 2014 Dan River coal ash spill (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality) sought public review and input on potential restoration opportunities outlined in the October 2014 Dan River Coal Ash Release Scoping Document for Restoration Planning.  The public comment period concluded November 14, 2014.  Public input received by the Trustees is provided in the List of Restoration Project Proposals Submitted by Public in Response to the Dan River Coal Ash Release Scoping Document for Restoration Planning released today.  The Trustees have not established a schedule for selecting restoration projects because of our need to complete the injury assessment (including studies in progress), evaluate restoration options and projects against the injuries, and resolve the damage claim.  The Trustees intend to release a Damage Assessment Plan for public review in early 2015 that documents the Trustees’ basis for conducting a NRDAR, and provides additional detail regarding the proposed approach for determining and quantifying natural resource injuries and calculating the damages associated with injuries related to the spill.  Our goal remains to begin restoration as soon as possible, either as a mutually agreeable early restoration effort or after the damage claim is resolved.  Restoration projects will compensate the public for the loss of the natural resources and services resulting from the coal ash spill in the Dan River. 

Service Receives Red Wolf Program Evaluation from WMI

Expects a decision regarding the future of the Program in early 2015

November 20, 2014

A bat with large ears resting on a rock

A red wolf. Photo: Becky Bartel, USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a 171-page, peer-reviewed evaluation of its Red Wolf Recovery Program’s non-essential, experimental population in five Eastern North Carolina counties.

Brief statements from Steve Williams, president of The Wildlife Management Institute; Leopoldo Miranda, assistant regional director for ecological services in the Service’s Southeast Region; and Gordon Myers, executive director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, are included below.

Read the full story...
Download our Questions and Answers (PDF)
Download Wildlife Management Institute's findings (PDF, 13.1 MB)
See all FWS documents referenced in the evaluation

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Reopens Comment Period On Proposal to List the Northern Long-eared Bat as Endangered

Northern long-eared bat. Photo by Steven Thomas, National Park Service.

Comments will be accepted through Dec. 18, 2014.   The Service is reopening the comment period to alert the public to additional information provided by state conservation agencies within the range of the species. 

Read the full story...


Federal and State Officials Request Assistance in Investigation of Gunshot Red Wolf

October 20, 2014

A red wolf at the Virgina Living Museum. Photo: USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are requesting assistance with an investigation involving the suspected illegal take of a radio-collared red wolf that was recently found dead. The federally protected red wolf was found with an apparent gunshot wound on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, east of Columbia, in Tyrrell County, North Carolina. Based on body condition and field sign, the actual date of death is estimated to be Sept. 26, 2014.

This is the third red wolf death of 2014 resulting from a suspected gunshot. The previous two suspected gunshot deaths occurred in January and March. A total of 10 wild red wolves were known to have died in 2014, including two struck and killed by vehicles, one died incidental to otherwise legal activities, one due to health reasons, three were confirmed or suspected gunshot deaths, and the causes of three incidents are currently unknown. Two of these cases are currently pending necropsies. The remaining wolf death for 2014 is undetermined.

Read the full story...

Dan River Coal Ash Spill Trustees seek public input on scoping document for restoration planning

View of Dan RiverThe Dan River in winter. Credit: USFWS

October 2, 2014

The natural resource trustees for the February 2, 2014 Dan River coal ash spill (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality) are seeking public review and comment on potential restoration opportunities in the Dan River watershed area. Read the full story

Dan River Scoping Document for Restoration Planning (PDF)


A Man's Mission to Save a Magnificent Mollusk

The magnificent ramshorn has a brown, coiled shell in the shape of a ram's horn, often with leopard-like spots. Credit: USFWS

June 23, 2014

As Hurricane Fran blasted North Carolina's coast in 1996, one man braved the flood waters to save a small, yet magnificent snail from washing away. Andy Wood rushed out into the storm to collect as many magnificent ramshorn (Planorbella magnifica) from the refuge he had built in his backyard—the last place on earth the rare snail was known to exist at the time. Wood made it back indoors with 25 snails and dumped them into his son's bedroom aquarium. Only 12 survived the event, leaving a handful of specimens to rebuild the species' last population. Read the full story published in the US Fish and Wildlife Service' s Spring-Summer edition of the Endangered Species Bulletin.


Loggerhead Sea Turtle Terrestrial Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle. USFWS photo

June 22, 2014

On July 10, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated about 685 miles of coastal beach habitat as important for the recovery of the threatened Northwest Atlantic Ocean population of loggerhead sea turtles, as directed by the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

News Release
Frequently Asked Questions regarding the terrestrial designation
Federal Register Notice for designation
Federal eRulemaking Portal for Docket #FWS-R4-ES-2012-0103
Index maps for designated terrestrial critical habitat locations - PDF - 2.4MB
UTM Coordinates for each designated critical habitat location - PDF - 650KB
GIS Shapefile - zipped - 72KB
Final Economic Analysis (FEA) - PDF - 2.01MB
List of Literature Cited in the final designation - PDF - 82KB
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service designated marine critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.


Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration for the Dan River Coal Ash Spill.


A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist collects sediment samples in the Dan River following the coal ash release. USFWS photo

June 9, 2014

To restore fish and wildlife resources affected by the Feb. 2, 2014, Dan River coal ash spill, the natural resource trustees have initiated the natural resource damage assessment and restoration (NRDAR) cooperatively with Duke Energy, the party responsible for the spill. The trustees—the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality—have also been an integral part of the response and cleanup of the Dan River coal ash spill. As technical support to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others, we have helped evaluate and reduce risks to the environment. The trustees are now continuing their work by conducting a NRDAR to evaluate the impact of the spill on natural resources and to ultimately restore the injured resources. Read the full story ...





Final Recovery Plan for the Golden Sedge now available.


Golden sedge. Photo by Dale Suiter, USFWS.

June 4, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the availability of the final recovery plan for golden sedge, a perennial plant federally listed as endangered.

All of the eight known populations, incorporating 21 known sites, of this plant are in eastern North Carolina’s Northeast Cape Fear River watershed in Pender and Onslow Counties.

“The golden sedge recovery plan provides direction and steps the Service and its partners can take to recover this plant,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “We are working with North Carolina Botanical Garden, The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Duke Energy, the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, and the Nature Conservancy on several efforts to benefit the sedge.” Read the full story ...

Golden Sedge factsheet

Golden Sedge ECOS profile

Recovery Plan

Outreach for the rufa red knot in North Carolina.

May 7, 2014

On May 6, 2014, interested citizens, government and non profit representatives, gathered in Morehead City to get the latest information from the Service about our proposal to protect the rufa red knot as a threatened species. We featured poster displays, a slideshow presentation and audience participation opportunities. 

There is still time to participate. Please visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2013-0097.

You can also mail or hand-deliver your comments to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0103; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

The Service proposed to list the knot on September 30, 2013.  During the initial comment period the Service received more than 560 individual comments and 19,000 form letters.   We plan to honor requests for another hearing in North Carolina.  Details about the second meeting are forthcoming. For more information, checkout these resources:



Video ( Youtube- link to the USFWS channel)

Fact sheet


Service reopens comment period on proposal to protect red knot under Endangered Species Act
Shorebird flies up to 18,600 miles a year on 20-inch wingspan

April 3, 2014

The rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa), a robin-sized shorebird that visits the U.S. on its annual journey between the tips of the Americas, is in trouble.

The knot’s population has declined by about 75 percent in some areas since the 1980s. 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 habitat along its range due to sea level rise, shoreline projects and development.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the comment period on its proposal to list the knot as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and will hold two public hearings. The Service proposed to list the knot on September 30, 2013, following an analysis of the best available data in more than 1,400 scientific documents. The public can provide comments on the proposed rule for 45 days through May 19, 2014. Comments provided during the first comment period need not be resubmitted, as those are already part of the administrative record.  

Read the full story...


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Last Updated: 12/10/13