Southwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America

Lake Havasu



San Marcos Aquatic Resource employee, Leah Murray talks about the impacts of wild rice
Leah Murray talking with a visitor to the Texas wild rice festival and explaining the impacts of non-native plants in the San Marcos River. Photo credit: Jeffrey Hutchison, USFWS.

San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center Participates in 2nd Annual Texas Wild Rice Festival

April 2015
On Saturday, April 11, 2015, the second annual Texas wild rice festival was held in City Park, San Marcos along the banks of the San Marcos River. Texas wild rice is a federally listed endangered aquatic plant that is endemic to the San Marcos River and occurs nowhere else in the world. Along with Texas wild rice, the San Marcos River and Springs are critical habitat for four other federally endangered and threatened species such as the fountain darter, Texas blind salamander, San Marcos salamander, and the Comal Springs riffle beetle. Created to bring more awareness to Texas wild rice and the importance of protecting the river, the festival began as the brainchild of two students from Texas State University in 2014.



lower colorado river
Partners also dedicated the newly created Laguna Division Conservation Area (LDCA), a conservation area of more than 1,110 acres downstream of Imperial Dam. Photo credit: Bureau of Reclamation.

Celebrating 10 Years of Cooperation on the Lower Colorado River

April 2015
​The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and other Federal, state and local partners in Yuma, Arizona on April 7, 2015 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (LCR MSCP). There was also a dedication of the newly created Laguna Division Conservation Area, a conservation area of over 1,110 acres downstream of Imperial Dam. Established in 2005 as a 50-year program with equal Federal and non-Federal funding, the LCR MSCP was created to balance the use of Colorado River water resources with conservation of native species and their habitats. The program is managed by Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region in collaboration with a Steering Committee representing 57 partner and stakeholder groups.

Learn more...
Read more about the Lower Colorado River Multi-species Conservation Program


eagle stands watch over eaglet
Eagle stands watch over eaglet. Photo credit: © Tom Fleming.

An Eaglet at the John Bunker Sands Wetland Centers Relocated Eagle Nest

April 2015
Great News! There is confirmation of at least one eaglet in the relocated bald eagle nest at the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center. We don’t know if there is another eaglet but we are keeping an eye out for it. In July 2014, Oncor working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Arlington Ecological Services Field Office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Falcon Steel and the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center relocated a bald eagle nest from an existing tower to new tower. We are very excited to see that the eagles are doing well in their new nest!

Watch the amazing video of the relocation

Learn more about the eagle relocation


Zuni blue-headed sucker
Zuni Blue-headed sucker. Photo credit: USFWS.

Service Announces Availability of Draft Economic Analysis and Environmental Assessment for Zuni Bluehead Sucker

April 2015
The Service is publishing the Notice of Availability of the draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment for the proposed critical habitat for the Zuni bluehead sucker. The Service also announces a revision of the proposed critical habitat designation. We will accept comments until May 14, 2015.

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Draft Environmental Assessment
Economic Analysis


Hummingbirds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Credit: Bill Buchanan, USFWS.

Texas Man Sentenced for Trafficking in Hummingbird Charms

April 2015
Texas – A 53-year-old Dallas, Texas man was sentenced to four years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and restitution for trafficking in dried humming bird carcasses referred to as “chuparosas” on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. The individual admitted to selling hummingbirds without a valid permit or authorization, which is a felony under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble.

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Additional news coverage
​Learn more about Hummingbirds


Georgetown salamander

Georgetown salamander from water tank cave. Photo Credit: © Nathan Bendik.

Service Announces Revised Special Rule for Georgetown Salamander

April 2015
The Service is publishing a revised proposed 4(d) rule for the Georgetown salamander. If adopted, the rule will enable development activities to continue if they are in compliance with the measures in the City of Georgetown’s Unified Development Code. The Service is also announcing the reopening of the comment period on the revised 4(d) rule and the availability of the draft Environmental Assessment on the 4(d) rule. We will accept comments on the revised proposed 4(d) until May 11, 2015.

Learn more

Federal Register Notice
Read more about the Georgetown Salamander


Stewart Jacks speaks with Dan Ashe and Dr. Tuggle
Stewart Jacks, talks with Director Dan Ashe and Southwest Regional Director, Dr. Tuggle after receiving the Service’s distinguished 2014 Champion of Diversity Manager. Photo credit: USFWS.

Southwest Region Employees Named 2014 Champions of Diversity

April 2015
Director Dan Ashe announced the winners of the Service’s 2014 Championing Diversity Awards on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. During the announcement, the Southwest Region was honored twice, with Stewart Jacks, Assistant Regional Director for Fisheries & Aquatic Conservation, receiving the Service’s distinguished 2014 Champion of Diversity Manager recognition and the Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) gaining the 2014 Championing Diversity and Inclusion Group title.

Stewart is a well-recognized diversity change agent within the Southwest Region. Be it through recruitment, mentorship, or recognition of individual contributions, Stewart actively promotes all activities supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives. His efforts have greatly strengthened the Southwest Region’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in all programs.

DAC members
Members of the Southwest Region’s DAC with David Mendias, Assistant Regional Director for Budget and Administration (left to right): Frank Montoya, Gary Hutchison, Stacey Baca-Garcia, David Mendias, Katie Wade-Matthews, Bobbea Cadena, Debbie Pike, Sandra Coney-James and not shown Joseph Mojica. Photo credit: USFWS.

The Southwest Region’s Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) was recognized for identifying, coordinating and providing monthly special emphasis presentations and for developing a Cultural Awareness Forum designed to remove preconceived notions and dispel myths, while increasing knowledge and understanding. The DAC is sponsored by Bobbea Burnette Cadena.

Congratulations to our Southwest Region Diversity Champions!

Watch Stewart Jacks receive the 2014 Champion of Diversity Manager Recognition


Fort Huachuca
The Landscape Sentinel Partnership will greatly assist in conserving the unique natural landscape around Fort Huachuca. Photo by: Michael Wystrach, Courtesy of Arizona Land and Water Trust.

Sentinel Landscape Partnership Announced at Fort Huachuca

April 2015
The Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Interior today designated as Sentinel Landscapes Fort Huachuca (Arizona) and Naval Air Station Patuxent River-Atlantic Test Ranges (Maryland). The 2nd and 3rd landscapes designated under the growing effort, the collaborative Sentinel Landscape Partnership supports efforts to promote working lands, protect wildlife habitat, and ensure military readiness at military bases across the country.

Learn more
Fact Sheet
Sentinel Landscapes Website


Dr. Tuggle and others signing agreement
Senator John McCain, Larry Voyles, Executive Director for the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Dr. Benjamin Tuggle participated in the signing ceremony on Friday, April 3. Credit: ​AZG&FD Zenon Mocarski​​.

Agreement to Repair Infrastructure at Willow Beach NFH Ensures Trout Production

April 2015
On Friday, April 3, Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region, joined Senator John McCain and representatives from the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Mohave County to celebrate the next step of the March 4, 2015 Cooperative Agreement to repair aging infrastructure at Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery and to continue stocking trout. In 2013, the pipeline failure at the hatchery caused a loss of a reliable water supply and 40,000 fish. At that time, it was determined that the intake pipes needed to be repaired to continue to raise trout year-round. However, a complete replacement and repair of the system was cost-prohibitive within the Service’s Fisheries Program budget. The Service worked closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and many other partners, to find a viable solution for repairing the intake water pipeline at the hatchery. These efforts led to the cost-share partnership agreement signed on March 4, 2015, between the Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. This agreement is expected to bring economic benefits to Arizona by providing continued future sport fishing opportunities, while enabling the Service to meet Trust responsibilities, and benefit two endangered species.

The Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery is located on the Colorado River (upper Lake Mojave) 11 miles downstream from Hoover Dam. Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery was established in 1959 to raise rainbow trout. The hatchery also raises razorback sucker and bonytail. In addition, the hatchery plays an active role in developing culture protocol for endangered razorback sucker and bonytail chub. Each summer thousands of these fishes are stocked in their native habitat, the Colorado River, with the aim of aiding their recovery. The Service releases a target of 144,000 rainbow trout annually in the Davis Dam tailwater, in the Willow Beach area of Lake Mohave, and downstream on Tribal lands along the lower Colorado River.


Bison on the prairie. Photo credit: USFWS.

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Wins National Reader’s Choice Award!

April 2015
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma has been named Best National Wildlife Refuge by a USA Today Reader’s Choice poll. Visitors from all over the country enjoy the Refuge’s mosaic of habitats and diversity of wildlife, including bison, elk, and deer.  The Refuge is a fabulous place to explore and enjoy the great outdoors.  A well-deserved win!  

USA Today Reader’s Choice Award 
Learn more about Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge 


long eared bat
Long-eared bat. Photo credit: USFWS.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Protects Northern Long-eared Bat as Threatened Under Endangered Species Act
Also Issues Interim Special Rule that Tailors Protections to Eliminate Unnecessary Restrictions and Provide Regulatory Flexibility for Landowners

April 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it is protecting the northern long-eared bat as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), primarily due to the threat posed by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has devastated many bat populations.

At the same time, the Service issued an interim special rule that eliminates unnecessary regulatory requirements for landowners, land managers, government agencies and others in the range of the northern long-eared bat. The public is invited to comment on this interim rule as the Service considers whether modifications or exemptions for additional categories of activities should be included in a final 4(d) rule that will be finalized by the end of the calendar year. The Service is accepting public comments on the proposed rule until July 1, 2015 and may make revisions based on additional information it receives.

The listing becomes effective on May 4, 2015, 30 days after publication of the final listing determination in the Federal Register.

Learn more...
Listing FAQs
Interim FAQs
Federal Register Notice
Buffer Zone and Range Map
Midwest Region Long-eared Bat Site

Southwest Region News Releases

Search additional archived news releases for the Southwest Region

Refuges Trailcam Gallery
Monarch Butterflies in the Southwest Region
Wolf Recovery Program
New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse

Introducing…Wildlife Selfies!
The Southwest Region has a brand new interactive webpage that you will find both captivating and educational. Every month a different national wildlife refuge in the southwest will be featured and new, exciting photos will be highlighted.  Simply click on the Refuge
Trailcam button and enjoy!  And remember…check back often!

Visit the Southwest Region's Refuge Trailcam site of Wildlife Selfies!

R2 LE Agent Receives Honor Award for Role in Operation Black Gold
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Summer Jobs at Trinity River NWR
Liberty, Texas - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, through the Youth Conservation Corps program, is seeking applications from young men and women age 15 to 18 for two summer positions.
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The Arizona Game and Fish Department recognizes two of our employees
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Science Leadership Award
Grant Harris receives recognition for scientific leadership
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Southwest Region's Wounded Warriors
There are eight Wounded Warriors who have joined our ranks
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Two New Refuges
Two new refuges in the Southwest Region are the 559th and 560th refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
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Read About the First TWG Funded Aviary in the US
TWG Funded Aviary

Last updated: April 20, 2015