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Conserving the Nature
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
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2017 NEWS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
A River Righted
On July 25, 2010, Enbridge's Lakehead pipeline ruptured near the city of Marshall in southern Michigan and released toxic crude oil into a nearby wetland. More than 840,000 gallons of oil flowed down Talmadge Creek through 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River. This section of the Kalamazoo had to be closed to the public for the remainder of 2010 and all of 2011. Parts of the Kalamazoo River were eventually re-opened for recreational use in select areas in 2012, but were closed again in other areas for additional dredging to remove oiled sediments in 2013 and 2014. The people and communities close to the river, such as Battle Creek and Marshall, lost significant recreational opportunities due to the oil spill.
New Tech for Counting Wintering Monarchs
North American monarch butterflies undertake an annual migration phenomenon that results in densely clustered overwintering colonies at sites in California and Mexico. Numbers of overwintering monarchs can reach up to tens of thousands of monarchs per site in California to tens of millions of monarchs per site in Mexico. Overwintering population estimates are the primary means for monitoring the North American monarch population—information that is increasingly important given long-term population declines observed since monitoring began in the early 1990s. With thousands or millions of monarchs clustered on a few trees, precise estimates of their population can be difficult.
Light it up? In-situ burning as a possible tactic for oil spills in the Great Lakes
Is it better to clean up an oil spill using traditional methods of deploying booms and skimming the surface? Or is burning the oil in place the way to go? This summer, Lisa Williams from the Michigan Ecological Service Field Office took part in EPA’s Regional Response Team site-specific in-situ burn workshop in Mackinaw City, Mich. The goal of the meeting was to discuss the feasibility of using in-place burning as an oil spill response technique in the Great Lakes region, specifically the Straits of Mackinac.
Correctional facilities join the fight to save the monarch butterfly
The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is working to engage all Ohioans with monarch conservation, including nontraditional conservation partners. One such partner has answered the call to save the monarch - the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Saving the monarch butterfly is a nontraditional conservation challenge. Eastern monarch butterfly populations have declined by 80% in the past 20 years and it will take a landscape level response to save them.
Missouri students have a close encounter with native herptiles
With help from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service, some Missouri students had a close encounter with native reptiles and amphibians. Earlier this season, Service biologist Trisha Crabill teamed up with the Forest Service to help students on a field trip on the Mark Twain National Forest for the Ecological Society of America’s SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology, Education, Diversity, and Sustainability) program.
Oxbow restorations go international
There’s a new kid in town when it comes to restoring habitat in and along streams, and it all started in Iowa! Oxbow restoration began as a tool for restoring habitat for the federally endangered Topeka shiner, a species found in prairie streams, and has transformed, from its humble beginnings in Iowa, into a regional and now international phenomenon. Oxbow restorations are now studied for more than their fisheries benefits, but also for their potential to improve water quality.
Shauna Marquardt recognized for protection
of Sodalis Nature Preserve
July 17, 2017
On April 30, 2017, Shauna Marquardt of the Missouri Ecological Services Field Office, was awarded the Missouri Speleological Survey's Tex Yokum Certificate of Appreciation. The certificate is given as a way to express gratitude to recipients for their support of the Survey’s goals, which include recording and conserving the caves of Missouri. The Survey recognized Marquardt for her pivotal role in the identification, characterization and permanent protection of Hannibal, Missouri’s Lime Kiln Mine, now Sodalis Nature Preserve.
Correctional facilities join the
fight to save the monarch butterfly
The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is working to engage all Ohioans with monarch conservation, including nontraditional conservation partners. One such partner has answered the call to save the monarch - the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Saving the monarch butterfly is a nontraditional conservation challenge. Eastern monarch butterfly populations have declined by 80% in the past 20 years and it will take a landscape level response to save them. Milkweed is the only host plant for monarch butterflies and as it disappears from the landscape, so do the butterflies. Milkweed seeds need to be collected from local sources, cleaned and stratified. All of this labor adds to the cost of buying seeds from native plant nurseries.
Unlike many partners, correctional facilities don’t have the ability to interact with on the ground conservation actions. But correctional facilities can meet the need for labor. Depending on size and security, correctional facilities are involved in a variety of activities including preparing seeds, packaging seeds, and planting seeds into plugs.
Gross Fun at Earth Day Columbia
May 19, 2017
As biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we often are called upon to do some pretty gross things in the line of duty. I'd like to think the public admires us for these services, but frankly, I bet they think we're pretty odd. Not to prove them wrong, we crafted an Earth Day display for the Columbia Missouri Earth Day Festival that featured creepy crawly pond bugs, tadpoles, and crawdads, a diorama of American burying beetles burying a dead mouse, and an interactive game of "Who Pooped That?" featuring fake rubber poo from a variety of wildlife. The kids seemed to love our display, and that was our target audience. Maybe some of the kids will remember that dragonfly larva breathe out of their posterior, or that American burying beetles can smell dead things from 2 miles away. And maybe knowing those things will translate to caring for those things later in life. As always in these outreach events, it is rewarding to share our stories with the public and see that they have an interest in what we do.