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Midwest States Receive Grants for Endangered Species Conservation and White-nose Syndrome Research
Grants include funding to seven Midwest states to help collaborative efforts to conserve America’s most imperiled species
December 19, 2016
Bats, butterflies and other imperiled species in the Midwest will benefit from $4.2 million in grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to seven Midwest states for endangered species conservation actions. These grants come from two sources that support conservation planning and habitat acquisition for threatened and endangered species and research and control of white-nose syndrome, a disease devastating bat populations.
Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin are receiving a total of $4,008,625 for endangered species conservation. In addition, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin are receiving $211,568 for white-nose syndrome research and state control actions.
Record breaking number of Great Lakes
piping plover chicks fledged
Groundhog Day? Seems like the Great Lakes piping plover population is a rerun of the beginning of last year’s nesting season. The 2016 season started with the same two males arriving at the two exact same places in Michigan and on the same exact April day as in 2015. These males, BO:X,g at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and OF,YG:X,G at Manistee, are two of the oldest plovers in the population and have been nesting at these sites for many years. This highlights the high site fidelity that is displayed by piping plovers; where individual birds are not only tied into a location but even follow similar patterns year after year.
But the 2016 season played out differently from the previous one.
massasauga rattlesnake as threatened species
Sept. 29, 2016
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the eastern massasauga rattlesnake as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The Service also determined that designating critical habitat for the eastern massasauga is not prudent.
Eastern massasaugas are currently found in scattered locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. The species, a candidate for listing since 1999, has been declining over the past few decades due to loss and fragmentation of its wetland habitat. Nearly 40 percent of the historical populations are now extirpated and an additional 15 percent are of uncertain status. Of those known remaining populations, most are experiencing ongoing threats, meaning additional population losses are anticipated in the future.
Service Proposes Protections for Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Under Endangered Species Act
Rusty patched bumble bee
Photo by Dan Mullen/USFWS.
Sept. 13, 2016
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose the rusty patched bumble bee as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, citing a steep decline in the species’ numbers throughout its range. The rusty patched bumble bee, once widespread, is now found in scattered, small populations in 12 states and one Canadian province.
Twenty years ago, the rusty patched bumble bee was an abundant native pollinator found across a broad geographic range that included 28 states and the District of Columbia, from Connecticut to South Dakota and north into two provinces in Canada. The rusty patched bumble bee is now found only in Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin – and Ontario, Canada. Abundance and distribution of rusty patched bumble bee populations have declined by an estimated 91 percent since the mid to late 1990s.
Check out the 2016 Piping Plover Field Journal
Service Announces Findings on
Two Endangered Species Act Petitions
June 2, 2016
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has completed initial reviews of two petitions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA); one to remove ESA protections for the golden-cheeked warbler and one to add the U.S. population of the northwestern subspecies of moose to the list of threatened and endangered species under the ESA.
May 23, 2016: States Tracking Turtles
May 12, 2016: East Lansing Field Office Participates in Steering Committee Meeting for hydro dams, impoundments and project lands management.
April 11, 2016: Protecting and Restoring Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly Habitat in Northeast Michigan
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Coastal Program partnered with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Huron Pines, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – Parks Division (DNR), Great Lakes Stewardship Network, and local community students and volunteers in Northeast Michigan to protect and restore Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana) habitat. The Hine’s emerald dragonfly is one of North America’s most endangered dragonflies as a result of habitat degradation and loss. Some locations where the species lives are threatened by invasion of non-native vegetation species.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Determines Critical Habitat is
Not Prudent for Threatened Northern Long-eared Bat
April 25, 2016
Determination based on desire to reduce potential disturbance at hibernation sites, habitat requirements of species, and acknowledgement of white-nose syndrome as primary threat
Given the nature of the primary threats facing the species and the potential harm of publishing its hibernation locations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that designating critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is not prudent. The Service’s determination does not affect the bat’s threatened status, which it received in 2015 due to white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease impacting cave-dwelling bats.
Critical habitat is a designation under the ESA for lands that contain habitat features that are essential for the survival and recovery of a listed species, which may require special management considerations or protections. The ESA requires the Service to consider which areas are needed for a species’ recovery and to designate critical habitat accordingly, unless it determines that doing so is not prudent for the species.
Check out the 2016 Piping Plover Field Journal
The first plovers are back from their wintering areas - including a nine-year old female that wintered in Cuba.
Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for
Midwest Wind Energy Promotes Coordinated
Industry Engagement in Conservation of At-Risk Species
April 14, 2016
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today released a draft plan to help ensure wind development does not contribute to the decline of species that already are impacted by threats such as disease and loss of habitat. The Draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) outlines measures for participating Midwest wind energy companies to follow to help reduce the nation’s carbon emissions and further sustainable energy independence while ensuring those efforts contribute to conserving protected bat and bird species.
The plan enables the Service to monitor and reduce “incidental take” of protected species caused by wind energy development and operation within an eight-state plan area, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Species covered by the plan include the Indiana, northern long-eared and little brown bats, as well as Kirtland’s warbler, interior least tern, bald eagle, and the Great Lakes and Great Plains populations of the piping plover.
First Great Lakes Piping Plover Spotted Wintering in Cuba
March 15, 2016
For the first time ever, a rare Great Lakes piping plover has been spotted spending the winter in Cuba. Typically Great Lakes piping plovers winter in tidal inlets along the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, though a handful have been reported wintering in the Bahamas and also for the first time ever, in Cancun, Mexico, this winter.
Great Lakes piping plovers are one of the most endangered species in the region, numbering 75 pairs in 2015. While this is still critically endangered, conservation efforts by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and other conservation partners have helped this unique population of piping plovers recover from only about15 pairs at the time they were added to the federal endangered species list in 1986.
Protections Finalized for Threatened
Northern Long-Eared Bats
Regulations focus on significant threats to the species so