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.

A Man's Mission to Save a Magnificent Mollusk

The magnificent ramshorn has a coiled shell in the shape of a ram's horn, often reaching the size and weight of a dollar coin. The shell is brown, often with leopard-like spots. Credit: USFW

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...




The Raleigh Field Office (RFO) of the US Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased to announce the availability of our 2013 Accomplishments Report. The RFO could not do this alone; our partners and cooperators have been highlighted throughout the document. We graciously thank all the employees who contributed to the production of this report

The report is available at: http://www.fws.gov/raleigh/2013.html

Conservation in Action in the heart of North Carolina’s Piedmont

Smitherman Dam before and after it was removed.Link to video on Youtube

Smitherman’s Dam removal and Little River restoration project.

March 3, 2013 - The Smitherman’s Dam is gone. Phew! For decades, this structure prevented endemic mussels and diadromous species such as American Eel andAmer ican Shad from finding their native spawning habitat.

In this video, Roy J. Maness, Mayor of the City of Troy, shares childhood memories of playtime at Densons Creek and Little River. He talks about how this habitat restoration project is helping him protect the city’s natural heritage... Read more.

Click here to view the video about the Smitherman'' Dam Removal in Troy, North Carolina.

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

rusty read bird on sand with band on left leg.  Red knot rufared knot rufa (click on image to see this and other images)

September 27, 2013

Declining food supply and habitat are seen as threats for a remarkable
shorebird that migrates thousands of miles each year

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. The proposed rule will be available for 60 days of public comment...Read the complete story.

Over flowing over right half of the dam.Dam breaching point. Photo by Jacob Leech, Piedmont Conservation Council.

Click image to view the North Carolina Dam Demolition Team at work at the Lassiter Mill Dam.

North Carolina's Lassiter Mill Dam Removed

We are one step closer to a reconnected Uwharrie River.

August 30, 2013

As metal smashes rock and concrete, two track hoe excavators, one armed with a pneumatic jackhammer, chisel away to remove Lassiter Mill Dam in the Uwharrie River.  Loud mechanical noises are unusual in this part of Randolph County, nestled in the forests and pastures of the ancient Uwharrie Mountains.  But conservation-minded landowners accept these significant measures needed to restore the natural flow of water through their land.  Back in 1805, folks concerned about dam construction along the Uwharrie River said that due to the construction of the dam they were “deprived of the benefits that providence by nature has bestowed upon us!” ...Read the full story.

Photos by American Rivers

Photos of the North Carolina Demolition Team at work

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KomRp0FMpEM

Over 100 people attended public hearing in Morehead City, NC

Over 100 people attended the third public hearing for the proposed loggerhead critical habitat designation.

The Service is Listening

Public involvement underway for the proposal to designate critical habitat for the threatened loggerhead sea turtle-NW Atlantic Ocean.

August 17, 2013. Communities in South Carolina and North Carolina requested to speak to the Service in person about the proposed designation of critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle beaches within the NW Atlantic Ocean.   The proposal published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2013, and a draft economic analysis was also published in the Federal Register.

About 45 people attended the first meeting in Charleston, South Carolina; 75 to 80 people ttended in Wilmington, North Carolina and over 100 people participated in Morehead City, North Carolina. During the formal portion of the hearings, about 56 people spoke total. Read the full story...

Cover and title page for the Golden Sedge Draft Recovery Plan.  Click on image to access the document. Golden Sedge Draft Recovery Plan -Comment period open from 6/18/13 through 8/19/13 (PDF 769 KB)

Draft Recovery Plan for Endangered Golden Sedge Available

June 18, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites public comment on the Draft Recovery Plan for the golden sedge.

All eight known populations, which incorporate 21 currently known sites, of this plant are in the Northeast Cape Fear River watershed in Pender and Onslow Counties, North Carolina.  The golden sedge is a perennial, lasting for more than two growing seasons.  It is found in wet pine savanna habitat (equivalent to longleaf pine forest), in the transition zones between wet savannahs and hardwood forests and in wet soils near or in shallow drainage ditches.  Open to sparse canopy, patchy shrub layer, and dense herb cover are characteristics of the habitat where this endangered plant is found.... Read the complete story.

Golden Sedge Draft Recovery Plan (PDF 769 KB)

  1. Federal Register notice available for review
  2. Golden sedge fact sheet
  3. Photos

Landfill burning and smokePollutant sources, like this burning landfill adjacent to an eastern North Carolina
National Wildlife Refuge, can harm refuge plant, fish, and wildlife.

Buffers Protect North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges Against Impacts of Solid Waste Landfills

June 12, 2013

Eleven National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) are located in North Carolina, comprising over 400,000 acres of habitat for our nation’s wildlife.  Of those refuges, six are located within five miles of operational and closed landfills.  Because multiple landfill sites lie in close proximity to NWRs we manage in the public trust, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has a keen interest in mechanisms to avoid, detect and minimize the potential adverse impacts of landfills to sensitive areas (and NWRs in particular).  Our concern regarding the impacts of landfills on NWRs is longstanding and based on demonstrated impacts of landfill operations on North Carolina’s refuge resources. Studies dating back to 1989 conducted by the Service (Benkert 1989), the North Carolina Division of Water Quality (Effects from Dare County Landfills, 2000), and the U.S. Geological Survey (Winger et al. 2005) show impacts of landfill releases to canals that drain into Alligator River NWR...Read the complete story.

FWS Letter to NC DENR (June 19, 2013) (PDF) 860 KB

Interpretative sign with detailed graphics about engineering design of the rock arch rapids with before and after photosOverlooking the Cape Fear River at Lock and Dam #1, you can find information about the design and restoration. Photo by Joshua Raabe

Ribbon Cutting for the rock arch ramp fish way at Lock and Dam #1.

Thursday, May 30th –Today, an exciting milestone for conservation of the Cape Fear River is celebrated by many with a ceremony and the official release of the Cape Fear River Basin Action Plan for Migratory Fish.

To find out more about the restoration work at Lock and Dam #1 follow these links:

  1. US Fish and Wildlife Service
  2. NC Wildlife Resource Commission
  3. Cape Fear River Parthership
  4. Cape Fear River Watch


The Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership (ACFHP) is looking to collaborate on habitat protection project proposals for the 2013 NFWF Bring Back the Natives/More Fish pre-proposals that will benefit one or more of ACFHP’s sub regional priorities.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)’s Bring Back the Natives/More Fish program recently announced its 2013 request for proposals to restore, protect, and enhance native populations of sensitive or listed fish species, especially on lands on or adjacent to federal agency lands.  The complete Request for Funding Proposal is available here.

North Carolina Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act.

RCW by Carlton Ward Jr.

May 17, 2013
Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Recovery Hailed on Endangered Species Act’s 40th Anniversary

SOUTHERN PINES – As the country celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, Sandhills residents have the chance to see how well the act has worked in person.

Learn More...

New Wildlife and Habitat Risk Map for Wind Energy Projects Available for North Carolina

March 6, 2012Wind map tool.  Click on image to access the map.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released the North Carolina Wildlife and Habitats Risk Map for Land-Based Energy Projects. It compares levels of environmental risk associated with wind energy projects in North Carolina.  The map focuses on the eastern part of the state because the highest interest in wind energy development is currently in area.  The Service plans to provide a state-wide map in the near future.

With this map, we are making it easier for wind project developers to implement the voluntary Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines that were issued by the Department of the Interior on March, 23, 2012. Our aim is to give access to accurate, reliable and consistent information about wildlife, specifically species of concern and sensitive habitats.  This map is a tool to enhance cooperation between the public and private sector through Geographic Information Systems (GIS),” said Pete Benjamin, Field Supervisor for the USFWS Raleigh Field Office in North Carolina.

Learn More...

Direct Link to the Map (PDF) Updated ( 11/18/2013)

Service Begins Commemoration of 40th Anniversary Conmemoration

January 14, 2013Bald Eagle soaring through the sky.  Link to ESA 40th Anniversary Homepage

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will honor the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act with a year-long commemoration of the Act that has been so successful in stabilizing populations of species at risk, preventing the extinction of many others and conserving the habitats upon which they depend. A new dedicated web site spotlights the history and accomplishments of efforts to protect and recover America’s threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.

Water quality monitor installed at Mattamuskeet Lake in NC

Water quality monitoring equipment at Lake Mattamuskeet Lake. Credit: USGS

Continous Water Monitoring at Lake Mattamuskeet in North Carolina

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey to establish two automated water-quality monitoring stations at Lake Mattamuskeet to better understand the lake’s ecology.   Managers are concerned that submerged macrophyte populations have declined on the west side of the lake and we are helping determine the extent to which the decline may be due to poor water quality.

Learn more...

Heavy equipment restoring habitat for fish and mussel populations. Credit: Mark Cantrell/USFWS

Two Montgomery County Dams Removed from the Little River Basin

Prior to removing the dams, biologists searched for mussels in Densons Creek, Montgomery County, North Carolina. The mussel inventory was done in anticipation of the September, 12, 2012 removal of the decrepit Troy Reservoir No. 1 dam.

Finding and identifying mussels prior to dam removal gave biologists the chance to safeguard rare mussels from harm's way during, and it provides a baseline against which post-removal mussel populations can be compared. Two dam removals in two days by FWS cross-program team accomplish over 200 miles of fish passage and river restoration on the Little River and Densons Creek, in Montgomery County, NC to benefit state endangered freshwater mussels and rare fish.

View photos

Learn more...

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries Service Propose to Simplify Review Process for Critical Habitat Proposals under the Endangered Species Act


San Joaquin kit fox family sit among grasses. Credit: B.

San Joaquin kit fox family sit among grasses. Credit: B. "Moose" Peterson / USFWS


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, are jointly proposing to simplify and clarify the process through which impact analyses are conducted for designations of critical habitat under the ESA. By improving the clarity and consistency of our regulations, the Services can continue to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the ESA.

Learn more...


Social Media


Facebook Icon link to flickr

Featured Topics

Educational Resources


Last Updated: 12/10/13