Southwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America
Southwest Region USFWS facebook page Southwest Region USFWS page Southwest region USFWS Flikr page USFWS YouTube site
Bees and butterflies on flower
Southwest Region Highlights HotTopics

Joy Nicholopoulos, DRD, joins Sharon Fuller Barnes, Gary Hutchison and Kary Allen in welsoming the 2016 Student Workshop participants. Credit: Aislinn Maestas, USFWS.

Joy Nicholopoulos, DRD, joins Sharon Fuller-Barnes, Gary Hutchison and Kary Allen in welcoming the 2016 Student Workshop participants. Credit: Aislinn Maestas, USFWS.

2016 Student Workshop Wrap Up

The 2016 Student Wrap-Up Workshop for students working in summer internships through the Pathways Program, Directorate Fellows Program, Career Discover Internship Program, and other student programs took place July 19-20 at the FWS Southwest Regional Office.

Nearly 30 students participated in this year’s workshop. In addition to providing an opportunity to learn about FWS programs and career paths, the workshop allowed students to share their experiences as interns, celebrate their successes, and network with regional office staff and leadership.

Learn more about the workshop, check out the student’s presentations, and see photos from the event on the 2016 Student Wrap-Up Workshop page.

Taxidermist Sentenced for Violating Wildlife Laws

July 2016
Department of Justice - A Corpus Christi taxidermist and hunting guide has been sentenced for violating the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). He also abandoned more than 60 species of bird mounts that were illegally killed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

Eric Martin Schmidt, 35, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jason B. Libby today and was ordered to pay a $2,500 community service payment to the Lacey Act Reward Fund, and must also serve five years of probation.

Read the entire DoJ news release.


Gunnison prairie dog release

Releasing the prairie dogs at the Refuge. Credit:  Kathy Granillo, USFWS.

Chelwood Elementary School Prairie Dogs Find New Home 

July 2016
Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico, working in partnership with the non-profit group Prairie Dog Pals, provided a new home for displaced Gunnison’s prairie dogs from the Albuquerque area. The Refuge released about 300 prairie dogs onto Refuge lands on July 7, 2016, including approximately 75 prairie dogs from the playing fields at Chelwood Elementary School in Albuquerque.  

“This provides a win-win resolution to the problem of prairie dogs on school grounds,” stated Refuge Manager Kathy Granillo. “The school children at Chelwood now have a safer play area, and the Refuge moves a few steps forward in restoring the grassland ecosystem.”

Learn more...
Learn more about Sevilleta NWR

lesser prairie chicken by andrew lawrence

Lesser prairie chicken in field. Credit: © Andrew Lawrence.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Removes Lesser Prairie-Chicken from List of Threatened and Endangered Species in Accordance with Court Order

 July 2016
The Service is officially removing the lesser prairie-chicken from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in accordance with the September 2015 court order vacating our 2014 listing determination.  This administrative action and the decision not to appeal the court’s ruling do not constitute a biological determination on whether or not the lesser prairie-chicken warrants federal protection. The direct final rule (Docket No. FWS-ES-R2-2016-0028) will be available in the Federal Register Reading Room on July 19, 2016, and publish on July 20, 2016

Learn more...


Cochiti Pueblo Man Arraigned on Federal Indictment Alleging Violation of Migratory Bird Treaty Act

July 2016
Wayne Martin, 44, a member and resident of Cochiti Pueblo, N.M., was arraigned this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., on an indictment charging him with violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. During today’s proceedings, Martin entered a not guilty plea to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that Martin offered to sell three hawks without previously obtaining permission from the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. According to the indictment, Martin committed the crime on Feb. 29, 2012, in Sandoval County, N.M. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it unlawful to possess, offer for sale, or sell any migratory bird, or any part or product of a migratory bird.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Peña.


pollinator garden

The pollinator garden at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Credit:  Kathy Whaley, USFWS.

BEE One in a Million - Plant a Garden for Pollinators!

June 2016
Are you ready for a challenge? A great way to celebrate National Pollinator Week is to join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. Plant a pollinator garden (even a small one will do!) and register it to become part of this important campaign to support pollinators. The National Pollinator Garden Network says that increasing the number of pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes will help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across the country. We know you are ready for the Challenge!

Learn "How to Build a Garden."

Register Your Garden

Visit Us on Twitter at #PolliNation.


Bee on Echinacea flower

Bee on an Echinacea flower. Credit: Ryan Hagerty, USFWS.

It’s Time to Make a Buzz!
Celebrate National Pollinator Week

June 2016

Make a buzz during National Pollinator Week June 20-26! Pollinators such as butterflies, bees, birds, beetles, and bats work hard to pollinate flowering plants and nearly 75% of our crops, including coffee and chocolate. Pollinators are essential to our food and to our economy. Find out how you can celebrate National Pollinator Week and help our pollinators thrive!

Here are a few examples of how we are celebrating!

Arizona: Enjoy a walk through the new Pollinator Garden at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Built by volunteers with help from Refuge staff, the Garden is open seven days a week and hosts a variety of pollinators and butterflies. More information call 520-823-4251

New Mexico: “Pollination Celebration” at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge Saturday June 25 9:00am to 3:00pm. More information call 575-835-1828

Oklahoma: “Butterfly Count” Tuesday June 21 starting at 9:00am at Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge. More information: Call 580-371-2402

Texas: “Monarch Migration Game” Saturday June 25 starting at 2:00pm at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. More Information: Call 956-784-7500

Find events around the country:
Learn More:


Refuge Biologist Becomes a Legend

June 2016
Laurie Lomas Gonzales is a wildlife biologist at Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in Liberty, Texas. In addition to her biologist duties, Laurie is passionate about engaging and immersing people in nature. Using a mix of city and Refuge roads, levees, two-tracks, parks, right-of-ways, and primitive trails Laurie envisioned a network of hiking, biking, and paddling trails that would connect the community of Liberty to Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge. From Crosswalks to Boardwalks was born.

Laurie’s vision became a reality and was so successful that she recently was recognized and awarded the American Recreation Coalition’s prestigious Legends Award at a ceremony in Washington D.C.

Legend Award
Refuge Website


Rio Grande cutthroat trout

Rio Cebolla. Credit: USFWS.

Restoration of the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout

June 2016
Restoration of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is possible through Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program dollars, monies first derived from excise taxes paid on hunting, boating and fishing gear. Watch for yourself how anglers pay for native trout conservation.

Watch the video.
Read the video transcript.

Southwest Region Archived News Releases

Search additional archived news releases for the Southwest Region

Wildlife Selfies
Southwest Emphasis Areas
Youth and Students
Women's History in the FWS
We recognize women in our ranks who work to conserve our natural resources in the Southwest Region. Check back to read more about extraordinary women in conservation.
Learn more...
Our Stories
R2 LE Agent Receives Honor Award
Learn more...

The Arizona Game and Fish Department recognizes two of our employees
Learn more...

Science Leadership Award
Grant Harris receives recognition for scientific leadership
Learn more...
Southwest Region's Wounded Warriors
There are eight Wounded Warriors who have joined our ranks.
Learn more...
Two New Refuges
Two new refuges in the Southwest Region are the 559th and 560th refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Learn more...
Last updated: July 21, 2016