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Reward Offered for Information on Bald Eagle Found Dead in Banks County, Georgia

October 8, 2015

A juvenile bald eagle laying dead on it's back with wings spread.

Dead, juvenile bald eagle. Photo: Georgia DNR

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement in Atlanta, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division are investigating the death of a bald eagle in North Georgia.

A farmer found the eagle on a farm in Banks County, south of Baldwin, Georgia, on August 7, 2015.

A $2,500.00 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and successful conviction in this investigation.

Information can be provided to the Ranger Hotline at (800) 241-4130 or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent John Elofson at (404) 763-7959, ext. 222. Callers may remain anonymous.

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Maury Bedford Named Project Leader for North Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges

October 8, 2015

New project leader Maury Bedford poses for a photo in front of a stand of pine trees.

Project leader Maury Bedford. Photo: USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has appointed Louisiana native Maury Bedford as the new leader for the five National Wildlife Refuges in North Louisiana.

Bedford started in September and says he wants to follow in the footsteps of managers before him to promote the National Wildlife Refuge System, and keep the community and residents of North Louisiana well-informed of the benefits of wildlife conservation. He wants to expand and develop new ideas to work alongside other partners for conservation and wildlife-related recreational opportunities like hunting, fishing, and birdwatching.

"In my youth, I worked on the family farm, hunted and fished the hills of Lincoln Parish, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to get a job doing something I loved to do," said Bedford. "Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on National Wildlife Refuges has proven to be the best thing I can do to combine my passion for wildlife and conservation with my education and training."

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Service Proposes Threatened Status for Kentucky Arrow Darter, Includes Proposed Critical Habitat and Draft Economic Analysis

October 7, 2015

A fish at the bottom of an aquarium with bright red and blue splotches

Kentucky arrow darter. Credit: J.R. Shute, Conservation Fisheries, Inc.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined the Kentucky arrow darter is likely to become at risk of extinction within the foreseeable future and is proposing to list the small, colorful fish as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service is also proposing a special rule under section 4(d) of the ESA that would tailor exemptions for actions that have an overall benefit to the darter, and is proposing critical habitat for the species. The proposals are being made available for public comment, along with a draft economic analysis of the possible impacts of the critical habitat proposal.

Historically, the Kentucky arrow darter was found in 74 streams in the upper Kentucky River drainage of eastern Kentucky. The fish has been eliminated from about 49 percent of these streams, with almost half of the losses occurring since the mid-1990s. Currently, the darter occupies 47 streams across 10 Kentucky counties: Breathitt, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Owsley, Perry, and Wolfe. Only 23 of the darter’s remaining populations are considered stable.

Threats to the Kentucky arrow darter are ongoing, with habitat loss and degradation representing the most significant threats. Resource extraction activities such as coal mining, logging, and oil and gas development, along with land development, agricultural activities and inadequate sewage treatment, have all led to chemical and physical changes in stream habitats adversely affecting the darter.

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Read the Questions and Answers
Map of Proposed Critical Habitat
Read the Fact Sheet
Economic Analysis

Endangered Species Act Protection Not Needed for 10 Species in the Southeast

October 7, 2015

A very small snake-like animal with dark colored back and light-colored belly in a biologist's hand.

American eel. Photo: Greg Thompson; USFWS

Atlanta, GA – The Cumberland arrow darter, Shawnee darter, Sequatchie caddisfly, American eel, and six Tennessee cave beetles do not need protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – upon reviewing the status of these 10 species – found their status to be stable, and in some cases much better than expected. The Service’s close partnership with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency were crucial to this positive announcement.

"The species must face a threat large enough to cause a reduction in its range or the size of its populations, so that animals meet the definition of threatened or endangered," said Southeast Regional Director Cindy Dohner. "Fortunately, that level of threat isn’t present for these species at this time and the populations are stable. It isn’t enough just to be rare."

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to Protect Rare Mussel in Suwannee River Basin

October 5, 2015

Two mussel shells next to a ruler on a red towel

Suwannee moccasinshell. Photo: USFWS

While its population appears to have stabilized in the mainstem of the Suwannee River, the Suwannee moccasinshell mussel is declining across the rest of its range and should be protected as a threatened species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.

Its decline is the result of pollution, sedimentation, and reduced flows in the Suwannee river basin.

The Suwannee moccasinshell is a freshwater mussel only found in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia. The primary reason for the species’ decline is the degradation of its habitat due to polluted runoff from agricultural lands, discharges from industrial and municipal wastewater sources and mining operations, and decreased flows because of groundwater extraction and drought. In other portions of its range, sedimentation also has impacted its habitat.

"The Suwannee moccasinshell's decline should serve as a warning to us to take notice of declining clean water in these rivers," said Cindy Dohner, the Service's Southeast Regional Director. "I know Americans value clean water. Mussels are indicators of how clean the water is. A healthy river system means good fishing and clean water for fish, migratory birds, other wildlife, and people."

Read the full release...
View the Suwannee moccasinshell's range map (JPG)
Questions and Answers (PDF)

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Last updated: October 8, 2015