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NFWF Announces $3.38 Million in Grants to Further Restore Longleaf Ecosystem

America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative Celebrates Five Years of Success

July 22, 2014

A small, flat gray fish with black stripes

Well-managed longleaf pine. Photo: Randy Browning, USFWS.

Washington, DC—The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $3.38 million in grants to further restore the longleaf pine ecosystem as part of a five-year anniversary celebration for America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative (ALRI). Fifteen projects across eight states have been selected to receive this funding for projects that will ultimately restore more than 11,800 acres and enhance over 116,000 additional acres of longleaf pine habitat, while leveraging over $3.8 million in additional funds from grant partners.

The grants are administered by NFWF’s Longleaf Stewardship Fund, a landmark public-private partnership supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Department of Defense (DoD), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and private funding from Southern Company and International Paper’s Forestland Stewards Initiative. The fund, in its third year, combines the financial and technical resources of the partnership members to support accelerated restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem and implementation of ALRI’s Range-wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine.

Read the full release from NFWF...


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Provides $5.6 Million in Grants to 12 States for Conservation Projects

South Carolina Receives Funding in partnerships with North Carolina, Georgia and Florida

July 17, 2014

A small, flat gray fish with black stripes

One of the projects funded in South Carolina will use a DNA-monitoring tool for blackbanded sunfish. Photo: Brian Gratwicke.

Imperiled species will benefit from a total of $5.6 million in grants for 16 projects in 12 states through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s competitive State Wildlife Grants program. The grants, which focus on large-scale conservation projects yielding measurable results, will be matched by more than $2.9 million in non-federal funds from states and their partners for projects that work to conserve and recover wildlife identified by states as Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitats. The 12 states receiving grants are: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Carolina and Washington.

“State Wildlife Grants help keep sensitive species from declining further,” said Hannibal Bolton, the Service’s Assistant Director for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration. “In Arizona, for example, the program has helped protect the black-tailed prairie dog by funding the development and testing of a treatment for sylvatic plague, a major source of mortality for the species. These prairie dogs serve as prey for other rare species of birds and mammals, so protecting them helps the Service and states successfully maintain the integrity of western grassland ecosystems.”

Read the release for South Carolina...
Read the release for Kentucky...


Service Awards $16.6 Million in Grants to Support Recreational Boating and Clean Water in 21 States

Southeast Region Gets $4.9 Million

July 16, 2014

A nice boat on the water with trees in the background

A boat at Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Garry Tucker, USFWS.

A total of $16.6 million in grants will be awarded to 21 states under the Clean Vessel Act (CVA) program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today. In the Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, and South Carolina each received Funding.

Since the first CVA awards were made in 1993, the Service has awarded more than $200 million to states to fund construction, replacement, renovation and maintenance of facilities that assist recreational boaters in properly disposing of on-board septic waste. The program also provides information and education about the importance, benefits and availability of pump-outs.

Read the full story...
See recommended Clean Vessel Act Awards for fiscal year 2014 in the southeast


Service Announces Draft Economic Analysis for Florida Brickell-bush and Carter’s Small-flowered Flax Proposed Critical Habitat Designation

July 14, 2014

VERO BEACH, Fla. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing the draft economic analysis for a proposed critical habitat designation for two perennial herbs - Florida brickell-bush and Carter’s small-flowered flax. At the same time, the Service is re-opening the comment period on the plants’ critical habitat designation. The public is invited to submit comments on both actions through a 30-day comment period ending August 14, 2014.

Both plants are only found on the Miami Rock Ridge in South Florida. The critical habitat proposed for these two plants overlap, for a combined total of about 2,723 acres. The plants’ proposed critical habitat designation includes lands in pine rockland habitat on the Miami Rock Ridge, outside of Everglades National Park, in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Areas within the designation include occupied and unoccupied, but suitable, habitat within the plants’ historical ranges.

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How to Submit Comments
Questions and Answers


Reward offered for information on endangered tern deaths

July 9, 2014

A dead Interior least tern lays in the sand

One of the dead Interior least terns. Photo: Sarah Martin, Arkansas Tech University.

LITTLE ROCK – Several dead Interior least terns have been found on a small island in the Arkansas River. Least terns are protected by federal and state endangered species regulations. A reward of up to $8,500 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the deaths. The reward is being offered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Humane Society of the United States, and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust.

The endangered birds are found anywhere along the Arkansas River from the Oklahoma state line to the Mississippi River. Their main nesting area is a section of the river from Clarksville downstream to Pine Bluff.

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NOAA, FWS Establish Critical Habitat for Loggerhead Sea Turtles in Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

July 9, 2014

A close-up of a sea turtle's face

A loggerhead sea turtle at Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Molly Martin, USFWS.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) and the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) today announced two final rules to designate critical habitat for the threatened loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in the Atlantic Ocean and on coastal beach habitat along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The NOAA-designated marine critical habitat includes some nearshore reproductive areas directly off of nesting beaches from North Carolina through Mississippi, winter habitat in North Carolina, breeding habitat in Florida, constricted migratory corridors in North Carolina and Florida, and Sargassum habitat, which is home to the majority of juvenile turtles, in the western Gulf of Mexico and in U.S. waters within the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean.

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View a map of the terrestrial critical habitat...
Read our frequently asked questions...
Get more information on this designation...


A Profile in Courage at Cape Romain Refuge

July 7, 2014

Robert Smalls

Robert Smalls. Photo: Library of Congress.

South Carolina’s Cape Island has long been known for its loggerhead turtle-nesting beaches and its place in the Class I wilderness area at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Now, the island also is known as a site to commemorate one of the most courageous acts in American history.

The refuge recently learned from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that remains of the USS Planter likely have been found on a shoal about one-third of a mile off today’s Cape Island. The remains are buried in 15 feet of compacted sand 12 feet below the Atlantic Ocean’s surface at what was the island’s southern tip in 1876, when the side-wheel steamer was abandoned.

Read the full story...


Florida Keys Resident Charged With Illegally Trafficking In Marine Life

July 3, 2014

A manatee swims close to the surface of water

A bonnethead shark. Photo: Matt Howry.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Tracey Dunn, Acting Special Agent in Charge, NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, and David Pharo, Resident Agent In Charge, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Miami Area Office of Law Enforcement, announce that Charles R. Jamison, 74, of Little Torch Key, was arraigned Friday in Key West for conspiring with others to transport, sell, receive, acquire, and purchase juvenile bonnethead sharks (Sphyrna tiburo), with a fair market value in excess of $350.00, and attempt to do the same, knowing that the bonnethead sharks were 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.

Jamison faces a possible sentence of up to five years in prison, a term of supervised release of up to three years, and a criminal fine of up to $250,000. He also faces forfeiture of the vessel, engine, trailer, tackle, and gear used in the commission of the Lacey Act violations.

Read the full release...


Petitioned Action on West Indian Manatee May Be Warranted

July 1, 2014

A manatee swims close to the surface of water

Manatees swim close to the water's surface and frequently come up for air. Photo: Jim Reid, USFWS.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it is moving forward on a status review for the West Indian manatee following an evaluation of information submitted in support of a 2012 petition to reclassify the species, including its subspecies, the Florida manatee and Antillean manatee, from endangered to threatened.

On December 14, 2012, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), on behalf of Save Crystal River, Inc., submitted a petition requesting the reclassification and included as supporting information an analysis of the Service’s 2007 West Indian Manatee Five-Year Review which had recommended the status upgrade.

Read the full release...


FWS Biologist Uses Innovative Artificial Nesting “Trees” to Help Recover the Wood Stork

June 30, 2014

Two men in the foreground band a wood stork while one man in the background works on building a nesting platform

John Robinette works on an artificial nesting platform in the background while biologists Billy Brooks and Willie Booker band a stork. Photo: USFWS

What does it take to ensure the survival of a species? John Robinette, former Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex biologist at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, knows that in the case of wood storks, it takes a bold vision, teamwork, wood, rebar, some fencing and a hefty workout.

As we celebrate the reclassification of the wood stork from endangered to threatened, let us look back on one of the innovative projects that contributed to their population increase in Georgia.

As a biologist at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge for 20 years, Robinette was instrumental in the ongoing recovery of wood storks. In 1987, the first wood stork nests were observed at the refuge’s rookery, Woody Pond, with 18 nests producing 43 chicks to flight stage. The following year, raccoons raided the nests when water levels dropped in the nesting pond. To protect nesting storks from predators, the pond was expanded and the water level increased by six feet.

Read the full release...


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Last updated: July 22, 2014