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New Relations leads to better understanding of South Florida’s Ghost Orchids

July 29, 2015

Students in the forest with Dr. Mujica looking for ghost orchids

Dr. Mujica with students Shannon Sharka and Justin Mably. Photo: USFWS/Mark Danaher

Throughout the month of July, Dr. Ernesto Mujica from the Cuba’s Ministry of Science ECOVIDA Research Center and researchers from Illinois College have worked together to inventory, monitor and ultimately begin a new chapter of critical conservation work for the revered ghost orchid, Dendrophylax lindenii at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge (FPNWR).

In response to the need for practical conservation of Florida’s native orchids, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s FPNWR is collaborating with Illinois College and the University of Florida to improve our understanding of orchids and the complex relationships that exist between orchids and their ecosystems. This collaboration has been ongoing for 15 years, and has led to numerous awards and publications in peer reviewed scientific journals. Through research on orchid ecology, propagation, and pollination, the work of the refuge biologist and universities has begun to establish effective and efficient means of orchid conservation. As with so many other plant and animal species, FPNWR has served as a living laboratory for researchers to gain and build upon the knowledge of our native orchids.

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Service Releases 60th Annual Report on Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Trends

July 2, 2015

A blue-winged teal with four chicks.

Blue-winged teal brood. Credit: USFWS

The Trends in Duck Breeding Populations report summarizes information about the status of duck populations and wetland habitats during spring 2015, focusing on areas encompassed by the Service and Canadian Wildlife Services’ Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. The total duck population estimate was 49.5 million in the traditional survey area, an estimate similar to the 2014 and is 43 percent higher than the long-term average.

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NFWF Announces $4.6 Million in Funding for Restoration of Longleaf Pine Forest and Ecosystem Across the Southeast
Longleaf Stewardship Fund Will Support 22 Projects across Nine States

June 30, 2015

A longleaf pine seedling

Longleaf pine seedling. Photo: USDA

Washington, D.C. — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $4.6 million in grants to support the longleaf ecosystem and advance the objectives of the Range-Wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine. Funding was awarded to 22 projects across the historic longleaf range that ultimately will restore more than 11,600 acres and enhance more than 163,000 additional acres of longleaf pine habitat, while leveraging over $6.4 million in additional funds from grant partners.

The grants are administered by NFWF’s Longleaf Stewardship Fund, a landmark public-private partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and private funding from Southern Company, International Paper’s Forestland Stewards Initiative and Altria Group. The fund, now in its fourth year, combines the financial and technical resources of the partnership to accelerate restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem and implementation of the Range-Wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine as part of America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative.

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Service Halts Red Wolf Reintroductions Pending Examination of Recovery Program
Will manage animals already in the wild under existing rules for non-essential, experimental population

June 30, 2015

A red wolf walking through tall grass.

Red Wolf at Point Definance Zoo and Aquarium. Photo: Seth Bynum; PDZA

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it will suspend its reintroductions of red wolf into the wild while it gathers additional science and research into the feasibility of recovery for the species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service intends to complete its review by the end of 2015. Existing red wolves located in five eastern North Carolina counties will be managed in accordance with rules put in place in 1995 to govern this population, designated “non-essential, experimental” under the ESA.

This decision was made after a comprehensive evaluation of the population and its role in the overall recovery effort for red wolves by The Wildlife Management Institute in November.

In light of this evaluation and the substantial management history of the population in Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington counties, the Service found more work is needed to determine both lessons learned and the role of these wolves in the overall recovery effort.

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Questions and Answers

Federal Wildlife Officials Respond to a Petition to List Dozens of Species under the Endangered Species Act

June 30, 2015

A close-up image of a brown salamander standingo on a rock

A Pigeon Mountain salamander. Credit: John Clare, Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0

In response to a 2012 petition claiming 53 reptiles and amphibians require federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today published a batch of 90-day findings affecting 15 species of frogs, salamanders, snakes, skinks and crayfish found in the Southeast. Five petitioned species will not be given further consideration for federal protection at this time, and 10 species have triggered a deeper scientific review.

A 90-day finding is the Service’s first step in assessing whether the plants and/or animals identified in a petition may require federal protection. A “substantial” finding triggers a closer look at the species’ status, also known as a 12-month finding. A “not substantial” 90-day finding marks the final decision point for a species, indicating that the actions requested in a petition were not substantiated by the petitioner.

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Last updated: July 29, 2015