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We work with public and private entities to conserve and restore Michigan's endangered species, migratory birds, wetlands, and other important fish and wildlife resources.


2017 News



Old Man Plover's Jr. makes it to wintering grounds

When last we reported on Old Man Plover's final chick, it was sitting quietly on a beach amongst some driftwood and cobble along Lake Michigan, fresh from being released from captivity. It faced numerous challenges, including predators, storms and potentially a lack of stopover habitat, just to reach safe wintering grounds. Now, just a little more than a month later, we have some exciting news to report.


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Piping Plover Home






Old Man Plover's Legacy Lives On

Old Man Plover's last chick.

Old Man Plover's last chick.

Photo byVince Cavalieri, USFWS

July 27, 2017

He was a legend, at least in terms of piping plovers. After tens of thousands of miles migrating between Michigan and South Carolina, 15 breeding seasons and raising 36 chicks, BO:X,g, also known as Old Man Plover, finally disappeared this season. It was inevitable; the Old Man likely finally fell to one of the many plover predators. But when he disappeared, the wheels of the Great Lakes Piping Plover recovery effort kicked into high gear. Monitors at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore alerted the Service that BO:X,g’s nest may have been abandoned.


Plans were made to collect the eggs and take them to the University of Michigan Biological Station in Pellston, where the Detroit Zoo leads a salvage captive rearing effort. After the monitors collected the eggs and handed them off to the zookeepers at the captive rearing station, it was discovered that perhaps due to Old Man Plover’s advanced age, only one of the four eggs was viable. However, with the help of the zookeepers at the station, this egg went on to hatch, the chick survived and fledged. The chick was banded Of,B/OO:X,G as an homage to old BO:X,g.


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Piping Plover Home




Hine’s emerald dragonfly larvae releases

boost recovery effort

Hine’s emerald dragonfly larva prior to release into the stream-fed wetland.

Hine’s emerald dragonfly larva prior to release into the stream-fed wetland.

Photo by Christie Deloria, USFWS


July 2017

The endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly is among North America’s most imperiled dragonflies, facing threats like habitat loss, environmental contaminants and changes in groundwater. Among recovery strategies for the dragonfly is the release of Hine’s larvae using offspring reared at three facilities: Genoa National Fish Hatchery, the Urban Stream Research Center, operated by the DuPage Forest Preserve District, and the Illinois Dragonfly Research Center, run by the District and the University of South Dakota.


In partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the University of South Dakota, we have been working to raise and release Hine’s emerald dragonfly larvae in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The effort began in 2011, when Hine’s emerald dragonfly eggs were collected from an Upper Peninsula swamp by researchers from the University of South Dakota as part of a study funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The study aimed at defining the genetic population structure and productivity of Hine’s emerald dragonfly sites located within the Great Lakes basin. The following year, the eggs hatched, and the larvae were separated into two groups. Each group was raised either indoors in a laboratory facility or in outdoor cages as part of a study examining larval growth rates across a variety of habitats. The larvae spent five years contributing to ongoing research at the University before returning to Michigan.


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Hine's Emerald Dragonfly



June 1, 2017: NRDAR contributes to green infrastructure benefits across the region


Lisa Williams described how Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration contributes to green infrastructure benefits, as illustrated by restoration projects planned, underway, and completed across the Great Lakes region at the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Green Infrastructure Conference held in Detroit, Michigan, May 31 and Jun 1, 2017. Successful Natural Resource Damage Assessments (NRDAs) result in restoration of natural resources following releases of oil and hazardous substances. The parties responsible for the releases are required to conduct habitat restoration or provide funding to public agencies or tribes to do so. Across the Great Lakes region, NRDA restorations have been used to benefit the natural resources originally injured by the oil or hazardous substances, and those restorations have often resulted in increased flood capacity, improved water quality, habitat connectivity and recreational opportunities in both rural and more urban settings.


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Old Man Plover returns – right on time

The oldest Great Lake piping plover to return to its breeding grounds.

At 15 years old, BO:X,g, also known as Old Man Plover,

is the oldest Great Lake piping plover to return to its breeding grounds.
Photo courtesy of Alice Van Zoeren.


May 4, 2017


He’s back! Old Man Plover, a Great Lakes piping plover also known as BO:X,g (his color band combination), has made it back to his breeding site once again at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan. BO:X,g is, by any standards, an old bird. At 15 years old, he has lived three times longer than the average age for a piping plover.


BO:X,g shows a remarkable fidelity not only to breeding and wintering sites but also to migration timing. Not only is he the oldest known Great Lakes Piping Plover to make it back to the breeding grounds, but this is the third year in a row that BO:X,g has arrived at his breeding grounds site exactly on April 13. (We have a fair bit of certainty about his arrival dates because Sleeping Bear Staff are frequently surveying this time of year.)


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Piping Plover Home



March 17, 2017: Enbridge oil spill case study used to train new wildlife spill responders


Enbridge Spill



March 17, 2017: Bond Falls Annual Implementation Team Meeting

Update on Project




March 6, 2017: Guest speaker for East Lansing Women’s Club: Oil Spills and Pipeline in Michigan




March 2, 2017: St.Clair/ Detroit River System Initiative - contaminants of emerging concern


Contaminants of Emerging Concern


Native freshwater mussels are collected for contaminants of emerging concern health assessments. - Photo Credit: USFWS



March 1, 2017: Caspian terns in the Great Lakes Are exposed to flame retardants in the egg: research published




January 26, 2017: Contaminant concerns impact work on refuges and private land



In a race against extinction, rusty patched bumble bee is listed

as endangered: no longer found in Michigan

Rusty patched bumble bee

Photo courtesy of Sarah Foltz Jordan; XercesSociety


January 10, 2017


Just 20 years ago, the rusty patched bumble bee was a common sight, so ordinary that it went almost unnoticed as it moved from flower to flower, collecting nectar and pollen. But the species, now balancing precariously on the brink of extinction, has become the first-ever bumble bee in the United States -- and the first bee of any kind in the contiguous 48 states -- to be declared endangered.


The endangered designation is made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act for species that are in danger of becoming extinct throughout all or a portion of their range. Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius said, “Our top priority is to act quickly to prevent extinction of the rusty patched bumble bee. Listing the bee as endangered will help us mobilize partners and focus resources on finding ways right now to stop the decline.”


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Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Home



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