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A Vital Partnership Takes Root, And Urban Kids Will Benefit


April 22, 2015

Members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity pose for a photo on an airboat with USFWS Employee.

Photo: Pon Dixson, center, with Baton Rouge and New Orleans chapter members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

One year ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a new partnership with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., one of the nation’s oldest and most prominent African-American fraternities. Since then, we’ve made great progress toward our shared goal of working together to help urban youth across the country to both experience the natural world and explore future careers in wildlife conservation.

The fact that Sigma’s leadership and members have fully embraced this partnership from the get-go is truly exciting. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers a variety of opportunities for kids to get out in nature and explore. But our reach in many urban communities is still developing, and having Sigma members by our side to help involve more urban youth and families in outdoor activities will significantly expand our ability to engage more Americans in a meaningful way.

One way Sigma is helping to facilitate our reach is by working to involve the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the fraternity’s response to President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

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New National Wildlife Refuge Established to Protect Some of Appalachia’s Rarest Places


April 22, 2015

Flower emerges from dark, moist soil.

Trout lily blooming at new Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: USFWS; Gary Peeples

Asheville, N.C. – The Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge became America’s 563rd refuge today.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Jim Kurth visited Western North Carolina to announce the establishment of a new national wildlife refuge devoted to the conservation of southern Appalachian mountain bogs, one of the rarest and most imperiled habitats in the United States. North Carolina is home to 11 refuges; Mountain Bogs Refuge is the first one west of Charlotte.

“The establishment of Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge marks a turning point in the efforts of a number of dedicated partners in preserving this unique and threatened habitat,” said Kurth. “It will provide a focal point for mountain bog conservation in the area, and highlights the importance of our National Wildlife Refuge System in preserving our nation’s spectacular biodiversity for future generations of Americans.”

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Stakeholder Information: Update on the Service's Work to Designate Critical Habitat for Two Arkansas Mussels


April 22, 2015

Neosho Mucket with red lure exposed

Neosho mucket uses a minnow lure to attract a host fish (bass) for its larvae, credit Chris Barnhart/Missouri State University.

Please join the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday, April 29 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern/ 2:30 p.m. Central for an update on the Service’s work to designate critical habitat for the Neosho mucket and rabbitsfoot mussels.

Who:
Rob Tawes, Acting Chief, Division of Conservation and Classification, Southeast Region
Chris Davidson, Supervisor, Endangered Species Program, Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office
What: Status update on critical habitat for Neosho mucket and rabbitsfoot mussels followed by a Q&A session
When: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 3:30 p.m. ET/ 2:30 p.m. Central
Where: Call: 1-888-316-9407; Passcode: Mussel

Details: The Neosho mucket and rabbitsfoot, native freshwater mussels, were federally listed under the Endangered Species Act on September 17, 2013. The Neosho mucket is endangered and the rabbitsfoot is threatened. Neosho mucket is found in Arkansas River basin while the rabbitsfoot has a larger geographic range encompassing 13 states from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma. The listing of the two mussels triggered a requirement to consider designating critical habitat. The Service proposed critical habitat for Neosho mucket in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. For rabbitsfoot, critical habitat was proposed in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Additional information about the Neosho mucket and critical habitat is available at: www.fws.gov/southeast/species/invertebrate/neosho_mucket.html.

Additional information about rabbitsfoot and its critical habitat will be available at: www.fws.gov/southeast/species/invertebrate/rabbitsfoot.html.



Media Advisory: Partners Converge to Mark Establishment of Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge


April 22, 2015

Southern Appalachian Mountain bogs are one of North America’s rarest habitats, and in order to advance the conservation of these rare places, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the establishment of Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge. National wildlife refuges are places managed by the Service, and are the only system of federal lands dedicated to plant, fish, and wildlife conservation. In order to establish the refuge, The Nature Conservancy is donating a conservation easement on an Ashe County parcel it already owns. Future additions to the refuge will either come through additional donations, land or easement purchases by the Service from willing landowners. The Nature Conservancy and Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy have long engaged in bog conservation and support refuge’s establishment.

Who:
Jim Kurth, Deputy Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mallory Martin, Deputy Executive Director, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Katherine Skinner, executive director, The Nature Conservancy, North Carolina
Kieran Roe, executive director, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
What: Marking the establishment of Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge, a new initiative to aid the conservation of this rare habitat.
When:
Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 1:30 p.m.
1:30 – Formal comments
2:35 – Question and answer
2:45 – Site exploration, one-on-one conversations
Where: Bluff Mountain, West Buffalo Road, West Jefferson, North Carolina. RSVP to Gary Peeples, gary_peeples@fws.gov, 828/258-3939, ext. 234 for detailed directions.



DOI, EPA, NOAA announce Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative to prepare natural resources for climate change


April 21, 2015

Small canal through the Everglades in Wildlife Management Area 1

Florida Everglades; WMA 1. Photo: Tim Donovan, FWC

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of the Interior (DOI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today recognized four collaborative landscape partnerships across the country where Federal agencies will focus efforts with partners to conserve and restore important lands and waters and make them more resilient to a changing climate. Building on existing collaborations, these Resilient Lands and Waters partnerships – located in southwest Florida, Hawaii, Washington and the Great Lakes region – will help build resilience in regions vulnerable to climate change and related challenges. They will also showcase the benefits of landscape-scale management approaches and help enhance the carbon storage capacity of these natural areas.

The selected lands and waters face a wide range of climate impacts and other ecological stressors related to climate change, including sea level rise, drought, wildfire, and invasive species. At each location, Federal agencies will work closely with state, tribal, and local partners to prepare for and prevent these and other threats, and ensure that long-term conservation efforts take climate change into account. Additionally, the initiative will focus on conserving coastal wetlands and marine conservation areas, protecting drinking water for urban areas, and providing habitat for wildlife. These collaborative efforts will include the use of existing tools to benefit the entire landscape as well as the development of new tools. For example, in the Great Lakes, partners are developing a coastal wetland prioritization tool that will help determine where restoration efforts are most needed. And in the He’eia watershed on the island of O’ahu, organizations are using NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer to see maps of the potential impacts of sea level rise on the region.

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2015 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Student Art Competition Winners Chosen


April 9, 2015

A painting of a wood duck in water surrounded by ripples

“Wood Duck”, acrylic rendition by 13 year-old Amber Dong, was chosen as the Best of Show in the 2015 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Contest.

Amber Dong, 13, of Johns Creek, Georgia, is the winner of the annual 2015 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition held Tuesday, April 7, 2015, at the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Juliette, Georgia. Five judges unanimously selected her acrylic rendition of a Wood Duck out of 532 total entries as the Georgia Best of Show.

Dong will receive a $175 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 has been sent to compete in the national Junior Duck Stamp Competition being held Friday, April 17, 2015, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

“I chose the Wood Duck since it is so colorful and very pretty,” said Amber, a student at the First Fine Art & Design Academy in Johns Creek.

This year, 532 Junior Duck Stamp entries were submitted from 18 different public and private schools, home schools, art studios, and after-school programs statewide. Amber’s winning entry was submitted through Sheng Ji Qu, her Art Teacher at the First Fine Art & Design Academy. All 10 student entries submitted this year from this Academy received either First, Second, or Third place or an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Contest.

Read the full release...
See all of the 2015 winners of the GA Junior Duck Stamp Competition

 



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Last updated: April 23, 2015