Southwest Region
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Southwest Region Highlights HotTopics
Monarchs Get Boost from Oklahoma Native American Tribes

May 2016
Seven Native American tribes in Oklahoma are joining the effort to save the monarch butterfly. Tribes will plant native milkweed, crucial vegetation for monarchs, and other nectar-producing plants on their lands to provide habitat for the butterfly and a variety of other pollinators. Monarch numbers have been in steep decline and landscape level habitat is critical to saving this iconic species.

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Learn more about monarchs


Monarch  butterfly

Monarch butterfly. Credit : USFWS.

More Than $5.5 Million in Grants Will Help Protect Imperiled Species

May 2016
Native wildlife such as the monarch butterfly, regal fritillary and rattlesnake master borer will benefit from $5.5 million in grants awarded through the Service’s competitive State Wildlife Grants program. Projects occurring in Texas and Oklahoma are receiving $500,000 in competitive SWG funds. Projects financed by the State Wildlife Grants program help safeguard some of our nation’s most at-risk species, and can potentially prevent the listing of certain species under the Endangered Species Act. In selecting grantees, priority is given to large-scale cooperative conservation projects that demonstrate measurable performance results and benefits to imperiled species.

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Learn More about SWG


World Fish Migration Day is Saturday, May 21

May 2016
This special day is meant to raise the awareness of migratory fish that often go sight unseen. But the Southwest Region's Fish and Aquatic Conservation program has its sights on two big fishes: alligator gar and paddlefish. Alligator gar grow huge and the paddlefish is arguably the oddest fish swimming American waters. The paddlefish has been known to migrate more than 1,000 miles all within freshwater. Both fish species receive the attention of Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery and our Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices in Oklahoma and Texas.

Learn more about the Paddelfish...
Learn about the Alligator gar
Read about World Fish Migration Day ​

300 Paddle Fish Returned to Caddo Lake

May 2016
More than 300 paddlefish returned to Caddo Lake on May 18, 2016, thanks to our Texas Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Twenty-eight paddlefish were anesthetized and surgically fitted with radio transmitters which will reveal to our biologists their habits and habitat uses for one year, the life of the radio. Paddlefish live 30 years, reach six feet long and 200 pounds on a diet of plankton.

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bob cat's view

Bobcat’s view of Sonoran Desert and Catalina Mountains under snow. Credit: © Gregory E. Good.

Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Anticipated Decision on Pima County Endangered Species Plan

May 2016
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has advanced its consideration of Pima County’s request for an Endangered Species Act incidental take permit associated with the Draft Pima County Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSCP).

Pima County’s MSCP is a part of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, a 16-year, community-driven conservation planning effort. The Service has determined the MSCP meets the requirements of the Endangered Species Act and is preparing to issue an incidental take permit. A final permit will be issued in 30 days.

News Release
Learn more about Arizona HCPs
See Pima County’s website


Come to San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center

May 2016
The San Marcos Aquatic Resource Center is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility that provides captive refugia for several threatened and endangered species that naturally live only in Texas. Species held on station include: San Marcos salamander, Texas blind salamander, Barton Springs salamander, Comal Springs riffle beetle, Peck's cave amphipod, fountain darter, Devils River minnow and Texas wild rice. On Endangered Species Day the public is welcome to visit our facilities with guided tours and walk on our interpretive prairie trail. Refreshments served. Time 1:00 - 3:30 pm Friday, May 20, 2016.

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2016 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Grand Prize Winner by Miles Yun.
2016 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Grand Prize Winner by Miles Yun. FWS Image

Winners Announced for 2016 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

May 2016
Miles Yun of La Canada, Calif., is the grand prize winner of the 2016 Endangered Species Youth Art Contest. The contest engages school children in grades K-12 in expressing their appreciation for our nation’s most imperiled wildlife and is an integral part of the 11th annual national Endangered Species Day, which will take place May 20, 2016.

News Release
Learn More
See all the winning entries


Comment Period Extended
Havasu NWR Draft Boating Recreation Compatibility Determination  

May 2016
Lake Havasu City, Arizona – In response to numerous requests, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is extending the comment period for the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge draft Recreational Boating Compatibility Determination (CD) an additional 30 days.

“In light of my participation in the public meetings last week, it’s apparent we need to allow more time for input," said Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Southwest Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "I have therefore decided to extend the comment period for the draft Recreational Boating Compatibility Determination through June 13, 2016.”

The draft Recreational Boating CD contains several proposed changes including restricting use to 30hp and no-wake within the 4,000-acre Topock marsh. Additional proposed changes include adding a two-mile (estimated to be about 520 acres) extension to the 17.5-mile existing regulations. These existing regulations include prohibiting personal watercraft and no-wake in backwaters as indicated by signs and buoys; and prohibiting water-skiing, tubing, wake boarding, or other recreational towed devices.

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BCP Overlook

Photo credit: Lesli Gray, USFWS.

May 6th Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan 20th Anniversary Celebration at Reicher Ranch

May 2016
On a bright sunny Friday afternoon, the City of Austin, Travis County, Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others came together at Reicher Ranch to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan (BCCP). Over 100 people attended the celebration.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Michael Bean represented the Department of the Interior/U.S.

Pdas Bean speaks at the gathering

PDAS Bean speaks at BCCP event. Photo credit: Patrick Conner, USFWS.

Fish and Wildlife Service at the celebration. He commended the City of Austin and Travis County and other participants on what they have achieved over the last two decades and encouraged them to focus on what needs to be done during the remaining 10 years of the permit and beyond. He highlighted the positive impact that the BCCP has had for species and for the local economy.

Read the entire article.
View additional photos from the event.

For more information on the BCCP, please visit:

Southwest Region Archived News Releases

Search additional archived news releases for the Southwest Region

Wildlife Selfies
Southwest Emphasis Areas
Youth and Students
Wildlife Selfies!
The Southwest Region has a brand new interactive webpage; every month new, exciting refuge trailcam 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!
Our Stories
Women's History Month
March is Women’s History Month. We would like to recognize women in our ranks conserving our natural resources in the Southwest Region. Check back to read more about extraordinary women in conservation.
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Projects Using State Wildlife Grants
​There are many projects using State Wildlife Grants taking place in the Southwest Region.Learn more...
R2 LE Agent Receives Honor Award
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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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Last updated: May 26, 2016