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Public Invited to Comment on Proposed Strategies to Protect Wintering Manatees at Three Sisters Springs

December 15, 2014

A map of manatee protections

Manatee protections map. Click for larger size. Map: USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to increase manatee protections and improve visitor experiences at Three Sisters Springs.

The Service seeks public review of a draft environmental assessment for management actions to protect manatees and still allow public access at Three Sisters Springs during the winter season.

“We have incorporated sound, professional judgment and safety considerations for manatees and people with this approach,” said Gude.  “Our goal is to protect manatees and also allow a quality wildlife viewing experience.”

Read the full release...
Questions and Answers (PDF)
Download the Appendix (PDF)



Ultralight-led Whooping Cranes Complete Fall Migration to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida

December 11, 2014

An ultralight aircraft with birds in a gray sky

Birds in flight over St. Marks. Photo: Terri Calleson, USFWS.

Early this morning, seven young whooping cranes following two ultralight aircraft during a two-month migration landed at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge where they will spend the winter.  They traveled 63 days and 1,100 miles from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin to St. Marks.

“After today’s destination flight lasting 50 minutes, our seven-month-old whooping cranes touched down for the first time on their new winter home,” said Heather Ray of Operation Migration.  “The birds trusted us. We had faith in them. We got it done. Once these birds undergo their final health check and receive permanent leg bands and transmitters in a week to 10 days they can be truly wild cranes - - wary of people and all things ‘human.’”

Read the full release...



Service Protects Red Knot as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act

Designation highlights concern over impacts of climate change, development across Americas

December 9, 2014

A small bird with long bill, rusty colored chest and speckled back

A red knot in Delaware Bay. Photo: USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced federal protection for the rufa subspecies of the red knot, a robin-sized shorebird, designating it as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A “threatened” designation means a species is at risk of becoming endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range.  

“The red knot is a remarkable and resilient bird known to migrate thousands of miles a year from the Canadian Arctic to the southern tip of South America,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Unfortunately, this hearty shorebird is no match for the widespread effects of emerging challenges like climate change and coastal development, coupled with the historic impacts of horseshoe crab overharvesting, which have sharply reduced its population in recent decades.”

Read the full release...



Seven Whooping Cranes Fly into Georgia Following Ultralight Aircraft

December 9, 2014

Countless birds on the water and in the sky above a blue lake

Whooping cranes follow an ultralight in Alabama on December 9, 2014. Photo: Heather Ray, Operation Migration.

Seven whooping cranes following pilots in two ultralight aircraft lifted off from Pike County, Alabama today and flew 117 miles before landing in Decatur County, Georgia.

It sounds very simple, but in reality is amazingly difficult.  Why?  Well it seems cranes just have minds of their own.  And if it’s cold, or the wind isn't right, they don’t just automatically follow these brave pilots dressed up like whooping cranes flying ultralight aircraft.  It’s like trying to herd cats.

Read the full release...



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and State of North Carolina Strengthen Partnership at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge’s Lake Mattamuskeet

December 5, 2014

Countless birds on the water and in the sky above a blue lake

Birds on Lake Mattamuskeet. Photo: Allie Stewart, USFWS.

SWAN QUARTER, North Carolina – Tomorrow Cindy Dohner, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Gordon Myers, Executive Director of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, will strengthen a joint commitment to the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats on Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge and its centerpiece Lake Mattamuskeet in Hyde County, North Carolina. 

The two agencies will announce details of this commitment at 12:30 p.m. Saturday during Swan Days at the Refuge.  It marks the latest action the two agencies have taken in the past 18 months to strengthen their conservation partnership.

Read the full release...
Read the memorandum (PDF)



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases 2014 List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act Protection

December 5, 2014

A clump of purple daisy-like flowers

Georgia aster. Photo: Michelle Elmore, The Nature Conservancy.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released the Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly status appraisal of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection. Twenty-two species from Hawaii and one from Independent Samoa and American Samoa were added to the candidate list, one species was removed, and one has changed in priority from the last review conducted in November 2013. There are now 146 species recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection.

The Service is now soliciting additional information on these species and others that may warrant ESA protection to assist in preparing listing documents and future revisions or supplements to the Candidate Notice of Review.

Read the full release...



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 release...
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

November 18, 2014

A bat with large ears resting on a rock

A northern long-eared bat with symptoms of white-nose syndrome. Photo: Steven Thomas, National Park Service.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the public comment period on a proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 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. The Service will consider this information, and all information received previously, while determining whether the northern long-eared bat warrants listing under the Endangered Species Act. Reopening of the comment period will allow the public to provide comments on the proposed rule in light of that additional information. A final decision on the proposal is due on April 2, 2015.

Read the full release...



Whooping Cranes Arrive in Tennessee

2014 Cohort Arrived by Truck Today

November 14, 2014

A group of whooping cranes inside an enclosure

Whooping cranes in an enclosure. Photo: Operation Migration.

Seven young whooping cranes are making their way south in their first migration from Wisconsin, being led by costumed pilots in ultralight aircraft. But the weather isn’t cooperating, and after making only 52 miles in 34 days, the migration team decided to use ground transportation to move the cranes into Tennessee and more favorable migration conditions.

The seven young whooping cranes started their southward journey on October 10, 2014, from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, near Princeton, Wisconsin.

Read the full release...



Migratory Bird Conservation Commission Waterfowl, Approves $28 Million to Conserve Shorebirds and Other Species in 16 States

November 14, 2014

A blue-winged teal duck flies across a blurred green background

A blue-winged teal duck in flight. Photo: Tom Koerner, USFWS.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission today approved $28 million in funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to purchase, lease, restore or otherwise conserve more than 128,000 acres of wetland habitats for ducks, bitterns, sandpipers and other birds in the United States.

In the Southeast, projects in Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina received a combined total of $9,861,731 in federal funds and another $20,888,399 in matching funds from non-federal organizations and agencies. For a complete description of each project and its funding, please see

Read the full release...



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Last updated: December 16, 2014