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White River National Wildlife Refuge Renamed in Honor of Dale Bumpers


April 18, 2014

A black and white portrait of Senator Dale Bumpers

Senator Dale Bumpers. See full size.

St. Charles, Ark. – At a ceremony this afternoon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will officially rename the White River National Wildlife Refuge to the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge in a ceremony honoring the former Arkansas Governor and four-term U.S. Senator.

Congress voted to rename the refuge after Bumpers in January of this year.

“The Service is proud to recognize the many contributions Senator Bumpers has made to give many future generations the same opportunity to enjoy Arkansas’ natural beauty as we have had,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said before the ceremony. “He is a giant among conservationists and a visionary who followed an unconventional path to set aside some of Arkansas’ last wild places. It is fitting that he will be forever linked with the White River.”

Read the full story...
Arkansas and National Leaders Honor Dale Bumpers (quote sheet, PDF)

 


Public Comment to be Reopened on Proposed Critical Habitat for Two Federally Protected Mussel Species


April 17, 2014

A close-up of a Rabbitsfoot Mussel

A neosho mucket. Photo: Chris Barnhart.

Little Rock, Ark. – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced the Service will reopen the public comment in the near future on the proposed critical habitat and draft economic analysis for two federally protected mussel species found in 13 states, including Arkansas.

Ashe made the announcement today in Little Rock at a roundtable discussion on the Service’s proposed critical habitat for the federally threatened rabbitsfoot mussel and the federally endangered Neosho mucket. More than 40 people attended the meeting, including representatives from the Agricultural Council of Arkansas, Arkansas Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association, Arkansas Farm Bureau, Arkansas Forestry Association, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture, Association of Arkansas Counties, and the oil and gas industry, as well as several county judges and state representatives. Also at the meeting were the Service’s Southeast Regional Director Cindy Dohner and Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office Supervisor Jim Boggs.

The meeting was arranged by U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor’s office after the Senator invited Ashe to visit Arkansas to hear directly from citizens about their concerns over the proposed critical habitat. Staff from Sen. Pryor’s office as well as the offices of U.S. Sen. John Boozman and U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford also attended Thursday’s meeting.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Presents First Annual Fire Safety Award


April 16, 2014

Rocky Chesser stands smiling, holding his award

Rocky Chesser fom Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia accepts the first FWS National Fire Safety Award with Cindy Dohner, FWS Southeast Region Regional Director, and John Segar, FWS Fire Director at the National Interagency Fire Center at Boise, Idaho. Photo: Tom MacKenzie, USFWS.

In a formal ceremony on April 14, 2014, at its Southeast Region Office in Atlanta, Georgia, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) presented its first annual National Fire Safety Award to Rocky Chesser, a long-time maintenance and equipment supervisor with fire qualifications at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

“The Branch of Fire Management created the award to recognize outstanding leadership and service in wildland fire safety,” said John Segar, FWS Fire Director from the National Interagency Fire Center, who flew to Atlanta to present the award. “Rocky was chosen by an interagency panel for being key to ensuring a safe response to the 2011 Honey Prairie Fire.”

The 309,200-acre Honey Prairie Fire burned for nearly a year, from April, 2011 - April, 2012, affecting most of the 402,000-acre Okefenokee Refuge. At the peak of fire activity, there were 202 engines, 112 dozers, 20 water tenders, 12 helicopters, six crews, and a total of 1,458 personnel assigned. Over the duration of the fire, there were no fatalities or serious injuries, and firefighters were able to contain most of the fire inside the refuge.

“We are particularly proud of Rocky’s professionalism, leadership, and dedication to safe operations given the size and complexity of the Southeast’s fire program,” said Cindy Dohner, Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Region.  “He is known as the ‘voice of reason’ which is crucial when working with partners to tackle wildfires.”

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Michigan Aquarium Employee Sentenced for Illegal Trafficking of Marine Life


April 15, 2014

A close-up of a baby alligator being held by a USFWS law enforcement officer

A seized baby alligator illegally collected from Big Cypress National Preserve and later sold to undercover agents. Photo: USFWS.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Tracy Dunn, Acting Special Agent in Charge, NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, and Edward Grace, Deputy Assistant Director, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, announce that Joseph Franko, 35, of Romulus, Michigan, was sentenced today in Key West for conspiring to purchase, transport, harvest and sell sea fans, ornamental tropical fish and alligators, knowing the wildlife was taken, possessed, transported, sold, and intended to be sold in violation of the laws and regulations of the State of Florida, in violation of Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372(a)(2)(A), 3372(a)(4), and 3373(d)(1) and (2), all in violation of Title 18,United States Code, Section 371.

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Idaho Aquarium Sentenced for Illegal Trafficking of Marine Life


April 15, 2014

An aquarium

An aquarium containing products illegally collected or sold from the Florida keys. Photo: USFWS.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Tracy Dunn, Acting Special Agent in Charge, NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, and Edward Grace, Deputy Assistant Director, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, announce that Idaho Aquarium, Inc. (IAI), located in Boise, Idaho, was sentenced today in Key West for conspiring to harvest, transport, and sell spotted eagle rays and lemon sharks, knowing the marine life were taken, possessed, transported, sold, and intended to be sold in violation of the laws and regulations of the State of Florida, contrary to the federal Lacey Act, Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372(a)(2)(A), and 3373(d)(1) and (2), all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

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$7,500 Reward for Information on Bald Eagle Killing in Louisiana


April 11, 2014

A bald eagle on a branch has its wings out, ready to fly

A bald eagle prepares for flight. Photo: Rich Keen, RMA.

Verret, LA – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are investigating the killing of a bald eagle near Verret, Louisiana in St Bernard Parish.  The eagle was discovered on April 4, 2014, near the fire station on Highway 300 and Bayou Road.

A reward of up to $7,500 is being offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Humane Society of the United States for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the killing.

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2014 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Student Art Competition Winners Chosen!


April 9, 2014

A green-winged teal floats in green water

Green-winged teal acrylic painting by Bethany Panhorst, 2014 Georgia Best of Show. View on Flickr.

Bethany Panhorst, 17, from Savannah Arts Academy, Savannah is the winner of the annual 2014 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition held April 8, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia.  Five judges unanimously selected Bethany’s acrylic rendition of a green-winged teal out of 588 total entries as the Georgia Best of Show. 

Ms. Panhorst will receive a $250 scholarship from Georgia Power, a long-time sponsor of the Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Program, as well as additional prizes.  As Georgia’s Best of Show, her original artwork will be sent to compete in the national Junior Duck Stamp Competition being held Friday, April 18, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center in Sheperdstown, West Virginia

Read the full story...
View the complete list of 2014 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp winners (PDF)

 


Red River National Wildlife Refuge Celebrates Budding Forest And Return Of Migratory Songbirds


April 8, 2014

A man carries seedlings in bags on his hips

Seedlings being planted at Red River. Photo: Neil Johnson.

With a grant from BHP Billiton, The Conservation Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planted 18,000 seedlings across 40 acres at Red River National Wildlife Refuge near Bossier City. The newly restored hardwood forest will provide long-term benefits to wildlife, water and air quality and public recreation opportunities.

To learn more about the importance of forests and wetlands to birds and other wildlife, members of the community are invited to join refuge staff at the “Celebrating the Return of Migratory Songbirds” event on April 12, 2014 at the refuge’s Visitor Center at 150 Eagle Bend Point, Bossier City from 8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

A century ago, bottomland hardwood forest covered nearly 30 million acres along the Red River and the lower Mississippi River valley. But after decades of conversion from forest to farmland, and myriad flood control measures that followed, less than five million acres remain today. Habitat loss is more pronounced here than in any other area of the United States.

Read the full story on ConservationFund.org...

 

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Last updated: April 18, 2014