January 7, 2016 Service Proposes Revisions to Alaska National Wildlife Refuge Regulations
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to clarify that predator control is not allowed on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, unless necessary to meet refuge purposes, federal laws or Service policy, and is consistent with the agency’s conservation mission. The rule was developed in response to public interest and concern about predator control and recent liberalization of predator harvest within the State of Alaska.
The proposed rule would also prohibit certain methods and means for non-subsistence harvest of predators, as well as update procedures for closing an area or restricting an activity on refuges in Alaska.
October 15, 2015 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Comments on Plan to Reintroduce Threatened Steller’s Eider on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking comments on a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for reintroduction of Steller’s eiders to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska (Y-K Delta) to assist with recovery of the species. In the draft EA, the Service describes two alternatives: No Action and a Preferred Alternative for reintroduction. During the process to develop this draft EA, the Service reached out to various stakeholder groups and the public to hear their thoughts on potential issues and concerns about reintroduction. The draft EA describes and addresses the concerns identified by stakeholders and the public.
October 8, 2015 Team Works to Understand Cause of Increased Sea Otter DeathsPublic Asked to Report Animals Found and Not Approach
More than 200 dead or sick sea otters have been reported on beaches in the Kachemak Bay region in 2015. Similar cases in the past have been linked to streptococcus related illnesses. A team of experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services, and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center are working to understand what has caused the spike in sea otter deaths and potential significance to the population. Despite the ongoing investigation, including exams and tests on the carcasses, the cause of death for many of the sea otters remains unknown.
A recently completed fish-friendly culvert opens up 10 miles of salmon habitat in Tyonek, Alaska. The new 28-foot culvert is correctly sized for the stream and has an open bottom, which allows both juvenile and adult fish to pass. Because they're designed to simulate a stream's natural conditions, these fish-friendly culverts also perform better in floods and eliminate chronic road maintenance headaches. This project was led by Tyonek Tribal Conservation District to improve fish passage on Tyonek Native Corporation Lands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contributed $550,000 in Fish Passage and Tribal Wildlife Grant funds to the project and our Anchorage Field Office's Habitat Restoration Branch staff provided technical expertise and support throughout the project, from planning to completion. Other partners included USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, ConocoPhillips, PacRim Coal LP, Cook Inlet Regional Incorporated, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, and Aurora Gas.
September 3, 2015 Federal Duck Stamp Exemption for Alaska's Subsistence Hunters
Fall waterfowl hunting season is here. A law was enacted to exempt qualified Alaska subsistence waterfowl hunters from having to purchase and carry a federal Duck Stamp. Learn more
September 2, 2015 As Alaska Warms and Burns, Refuges are Stretched Thin
It was a Monday afternoon in mid-May 2014, and Andy Loranger, manager of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, was meeting with 30 seasonal employees about to begin work in one of the busiest corners of Alaska. The Kenai Peninsula, also known as “Alaska’s Playground,” hosts nearly 1 million visitors a year, many of them drawn by the spectacular wildlife viewing and recreational opportunities on the refuge.
Just after 4 p.m., Loranger’s meeting was interrupted by a phone call. A refuge biologist had spotted a plume of smoke on the refuge just east of the community of Soldotna. The Funny River Fire, as it came to be called, would grow to almost 200,000 acres, the second largest ever recorded on the peninsula. Read more
August 31, 2015 Secretary Jewell Delivered Remarks at Global Arctic Leadership Conference in Alaska
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell delivered remarks at the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER).
Secretary Jewell discussed U.S actions to enhance climate resilience and adaptation planning in Arctic communities most impacted by climate change.
The GLACIER conference, hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, brings together Foreign Ministers of Arctic nations and key non-Arctic states with scientists, policy-makers, and stakeholders from around the world to discuss the most urgent issues facing the Arctic today, broaden global awareness of the impacts of Arctic climate change, and highlight innovative ways to address these challenges.
August 28, 2015 Support to Eliminate Disturbace to Pacific Walruses
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) needs your support to eliminate disturbance to Pacific walruses resting on shore along the Chukchi Sea coast. Currently there are several thousand walruses hauled out on the barrier island just north of the community of Pt Lay. We expect this haulout to continue to be occupied through mid-October. Walruses may also be present in large numbers at Icy Cape, on the barrier island between Icy Cape and Pt Lay Corwin Bluff, Cape Lisburne, and Cape Espenberg.
August 18, 2015 If walruses haul-out, eliminating disturbance is essential
The Native Village of Point Lay, U.S. Geological Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a joint announcement today alerting media and the public that in the event walruses again haulout on the coastal islands near the village of Point Lay, the community and the walruses need space to reduce disturbance and possible trampling of animals.
July 2, 2015 Fish and Wildlife Service and Partners Announce Draft Conservation Management Plan for Polar Bear
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the Draft Polar Bear Conservation Management Plan (CMP) today, crafted by an unprecedented team of stakeholders from public, private and nonprofit sectors. The polar bear was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2008, due to loss of its sea ice habitat attributed to Arctic warming, and the CMP identifies immediate actions that can help protect the bear for the long term.
While the CMP lists several potential threats to the polar bear, the loss of sea-ice is projected to lead to decreased or greatly decreased populations in three of the four polar bear “ecoregions” by 2050. That projection is based on a scientific model from 2008 that has been updated to include two possible scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions this century. One scenario models increasing greenhouse gas emissions at the current rate, and the other models emissions leveling off by about mid-century and then declining. Outcomes for polar bear populations are projected to worsen over time through the end of the century under both scenarios, but the long-term persistence of polar bears may be possible if global greenhouse gas emissions are stabilized at or below the modeled level.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Changbai Mountain National Nature Reserve established a sisterhood agreement in September 2013 to promote educational exchanges and cooperation in environmental protection and management, scientific studies, and ecotourism development. In late June 2015, the Alaska Refuge program hosted a group of five Chinese delegates on a tour of Arctic and Kenai National Wildlife Refuges as well as Denali National Park in an effort to further our understanding of each countries conservation programs. Regional Director Geoffrey Haskett presented a plaque to Meng Sha, Deputy Director of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserve Management, to express appreciation for the twenty year partnership with us and the sisterhood relationship.Follow Arctic NWR on Facebook
May 28, 2015 Study Finds Amphibians at Risk from Pollution and Warming Environments
A new study suggests that increases in water temperature and copper pollution may increase mortality and abnormalities in frogs. This research, conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Pacific University, and the University of California at Davis, and recently published in the journal Ecosphere, follows previous studies of amphibian abnormalities and shows how pollution and climate change may contribute to amphibian decline.
In laboratory tests, wood frog tadpoles were attacked by dragonfly larvae 30 minutes sooner and three times more often in warmer water with a slight increase in copper pollution, than in cooler, copper-free treatments. The attacks either killed the tadpoles directly, left them with injuries that could become abnormalities in later life, or increased levels of stress measured by the behavior of other tadpoles in the tanks.
May 20, 2015 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Changes to Public Use Regulations for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today published a proposed rule that maintains protections for the world-class natural resources of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge while supporting visitor experience and safety at one of Alaska’s most accessible and enjoyed public landscapes.
“Over a million people travel through the Kenai Refuge each year on the Sterling Highway, and an estimated 300,000 visitors spend extended periods of time on the refuge,” said Refuge Manager Andy Loranger. “We want people to feel welcome and safe while ensuring that abundant plant, fish and wildlife populations are maintained into the future. These proposed changes help us achieve these goals.”
May 12, 2015 By Air, Land, and Sea,Alaska’s Threatened and Endangered Speciesare Taking Steps Toward Recovery
Endangered Species Day is Friday, May 15! In honor of this event, we are highlighting recent stories about species in Alaska that are benefitting from the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act and the dedicated people who work to ensure their continued existence.
Short-tailed Albatross – The critically endangered short-tailed albatross, which primarily breeds on an active volcanic island, was recently found breeding on a new, safer island. Learn more
Wood Bison – For the first time in more than century, a wood bison calf was born in the wild in Alaska. Learn more
Polar Bear Youth – Chelsea Brower, 17, of Kaktovik, Alaska, grew up around polar bears and often observes them wandering through her village, curious about the scents of locally harvested foods outside of houses. Learn more
May 1, 2015 Learning to be a Game Warden
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge hosted the 2015 Youth Game Warden Camp, a collaborative effort between natural resource agencies to provide young people an opportunity to meet and learn about the interesting job of a game warden. They discovered that you need to be a little bit curious, take a keen interest in wildlife and fisheries management and natural resource law enforcement, enjoy interacting with the visiting public, be a quick thinker, and enjoy the outdoor office.
So what do you get when you bring together 40 fourth, fifth and sixth graders and engage them in such activities as wildlife forensics, wildlife management and law enforcement, wildlife robotics, archery, antlers, skulls, and duck identification? Learn More
April 30, 2015 Alaska Department of Fish and Game Receive $52 Million in Revenues Generated by Hunters, Shooters, Boaters and Anglers
The Service apportions the funds to states and U.S. territories through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. Revenues come from excise taxes generated by the sale of sporting goods, with firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment funding Wildlife Restoration, and fishing equipment, electric boat motors, and the purchase of motorboat fuel funding Sport Fish Restoration.
In Alaska, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is the recipient of these funds. This year, the Wildlife Restoration program will receive $34,625,771 to conduct wildlife research and management, ensure public access to wildlife resources, and provide hunter education programs and shooting ranges. The Sport Fish Restoration will receive $17,325,859 to conduct sport fish research and management, ensure access to waters for recreational boaters and anglers, deliver aquatic education programs, and operate sport fish hatcheries.
April 30, 2015 Alaska Celebrates Arrival of Migratory Birds
Spring has sprung and migratory birds are arriving in Alaska by the thousands. Soon they will be building nests, laying eggs and another generation of birds will be hatching. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with many partners, celebrates this special time of year by inviting you to participate at bird festivals and events across the state.
April 15, 2015 Young Leaders in Kaktovik, Alaska, Receive Award for Service to Community and for Polar Bear Conservation
Five high school students received an award from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services on Wednesday, April 8, in recognition of their inspiring leadership and service to their community as youth ambassadors. All students at Harold Kaveolook High School watched as Jennifer Reed from Arctic National Wildlife Refuge presented the awards. These teens welcome visitors who are coming into their community to view polar bears, an icon of the Arctic. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides funds and staff support for the Kaktovik Youth Ambassador Program and other initiatives to build the community’s capacity for polar-bear related management. Read more..
April 10, 2015 90-day Finding on Petition to List Yellow-Cedar Under the Endangered Species Act
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list yellow-cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A petition submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the yellow-cedar as threatened or endangered presents substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking scientific and commercial information which will assist in a future status review.
April 8, 2015 Interim Policy issued to Implement Federal Duck Stamp Exemption for Alaska's Subsistence Hunters
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced an interim policy that implements a new lawexempting qualified Alaska subsistence hunters from the requirement to possess a Federal Duck Stamp while hunting migratory waterfowl.
The interim policy follows passage of the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014, an amendment to the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act. It becomes effective immediately and will remain operational until June 1, 2017. The Service will now work to develop regulations to implement the exemption on a permanent basis. Such regulations will go through an open process including the opportunity for public review and comment.
The congressional action was the result of leadership from the Alaska delegation in recognition of the importance of subsistence in the lives of Alaska Native peoples and other qualifying Alaskans.
The exemption from carrying the Federal Duck Stamp while hunting does not relieve qualified hunters from the requirement to purchase and possess state hunting licenses and stamps and abide by all other applicable federal and state laws. The Service will continue to work with Alaska Native peoples and other qualified subsistence hunters to ensure opportunities for subsistence hunting are available and sustainable.
Congratulations Julian Fischer for receiving the Science Leadership Award. Julian is the Project Leader of the Waterfowl Division of Migratory Bird Management here in Alaska. As both an independent scientist and manager of a specialized group of avian experts, Julian works tirelessly to find scientifically-based solutions to a wide variety of avian conservation issues. Julian embodies management and scientific excellence through his leadership of a diverse team of up to 20 employees. The key to Julian’s leadership success is not only his ability to work closely with his staff, but also his enthusiasm in serving as an outlet for his team’s expertise. In addition to his management and field duties, Julian is an integral member of many conservation working groups and partnerships, and mentors younger scientists. http://1.usa.gov/1Aw1h0w.
March 18, 2015
Alaska to Receive More Than $2 Million to Support Conservation of Wildlife, Habitat, and Imperiled Species
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that more than $2.0 million in new funding will be available to the State of Alaska through the State Wildlife Grant program in fiscal year 2015. State Wildlife Grants provide funds for conservation work across the state, including more than $680,000 for work to reintroduce the endangered wood bison to Alaska after having been wiped out for more than a century. The wood bison reintroduction project is an exciting example of a State Wildlife Grant enabling the ADF&G to restore a key indigenous grazing animal, while providing benefits to Alaska’s people and economy. Currently in Alaska, there are 61 active projects supported by $11.4 million of State Wildlife Grant funding. Read more
March 4, 2015
Alaskans Team Up to Prevent Walrus Stampedes
Last fall, much of the world was riveted by the image of 30,000-plus Pacific walruses hauled out on the Arctic coast near the Alaskan village of Point Lay. Such scenes have become increasingly familiar as climate conditions shift and the walruses, one of the world’s largest pinnipeds, find that the summer sea ice on which they depend is disappearing. It’s a shift with potentially dire consequences, especially for young walruses.
January 29, 2015
Southwestern Alaska Glaciers Rapidly Disappearing
Researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Northern Arizona University recently reported in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management that 10 of 109 glaciers of the Ahklun Mountains that were originally mapped by the U.S Geological Survey in the 1970s had completely disappeared. The research team had conducted an aerial survey of the glaciers to verify their presence or absence. They also compared the size of the glaciers using aerial photographs and satellite images from 1957, 1984, and 2009 and found that the glaciers had lost about 50 percent of their area. At this rate of melting, all of the glaciers in the Ahklun Mountains will be gone by the end of this century.
January 25, 2015
President Recommends 12.3 Million Acres of Wilderness at Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
President Eisenhower established what later became Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 1960 “for the purpose of preserving unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values.” Now, 55 years later, President Obama is recommending that Congress add nearly 12.3 million acres of refuge land to the National Wilderness Preservation System.
Protection of this spectacular, pristine and wildlife-rich landscape will ensure that land managers can address the growing challenges faced by the refuge and keep fulfilling Eisenhower’s vision. The Service recommended the wilderness designation in a revised plan for the refuge released today. If Congress acts, it will be the largest ever designation in the Wilderness Act’s 50-year history.
November 21, 2014 An Early Berry Crop Effects the Kodiak Brown Bear's Taste for Salmon
During the long days of summer, Kodiak’s brown bears beat well-worn paths along Refuge streams foraging for spawning sockeye salmon. The large quantity of this nutritious food has allowed the Kodiak brown bear to reach sizes and densities matched by only a few other places in the world. In fact, over 2,500 Kodiak brown bears call the Refuge home, more than the entire lower 48 states. But in recent years salmon runs in southwestern Kodiak have been erratic and scientists have seen a drop in bear numbers within this area of the Refuge. The bear population across the Archipelago and entire Refuge has remained largely stable.
October 2, 2014
Walrus Haulout Near the Native Village of Point Lay
Declines in sea ice in late-summer in the Chukchi Sea over the last several years have caused Pacific walruses to more frequently haul out on land to rest instead of resting on offshore ice. A haulout has recently formed near the community of Point Lay and has garnered significant media and public interest. Walruses occupying coastal haulouts are vulnerable to human caused disturbances that can result in trampling related mortality. The Native Village of Point Lay respectfully requests that people do not attempt to visit the haulout site at this delicate time.
October 1, 2014 The Service Announces 12-Month Finding on Petition to List Yellow-billed Loon
Anchorage, Alaska--The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced a determination that listing the yellow-billed loon (Gavia adamsii) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act is not necessary at this time. The Service reviewed the best available information to evaluate the current status of the bird and stressors it faces throughout its range.
Geoffrey Haskett, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region, said “We’ve been working to provide for the conservation of yellow-billed loons in Alaska for a number of years, collaborating with the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, State of Alaska, North Slope Borough, oil and gas industry, and others. After careful consideration, we don’t believe yellow-billed loons meet the definition of an endangered or threatened species but we will still continue to work with our partners toward their conservation.”
September 23, 2014 Meet Your Fish and Wildlife Service: Mary Price
Mary Price, a fisheries biologist in the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. She is a champion for getting money on the ground for sportsmen and -women in Alaska. She manages 41 Sport Fish Restoration grants totaling nearly $75 million to fund 179 projects in Alaska, including fisheries research, surveys, boating and fishing access, and aquatic education. These grants are used by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to maintain healthy populations and provide some of the best and most diverse fishing opportunities in the world.
September 19, 2014 Learning, Laughing and Making a Difference - Fairbanks Youth for Habitat Program
Twenty one students ages 13-16 in Fairbanks, Alaska spent part of their summer vacation in the Youth for Habitat program having fun and making new friends while learning about the ecosystems around their community, and improving habitat for both people and wildlife.
The Youth for Habitat program was started in 2009 by the Fairbanks Fish & Wildlife Field Office as a way to educate the next generation of resource stewards—area youth—and accomplish important habitat restoration work while providing participants with a quality experience outdoors. The goals of the program are to help participating youth understand how urban development and the actions of individuals can degrade aquatic habitats. The students also learn different habitat restoration techniques, and begin to understand the characteristics of healthy habitats that are needed to produce and sustain fish and wildlife populations.
September 5, 2014 Temporary Closure of Sport Brown Bear Hunting
The Service is implementing a temporary closure of sport hunting of brown bears on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). The temporary closure is being implemented as a resource protection measure to ensure consistency with Refuge purposes. The temporary closure is effective now through May 31, 2015. More information is available in the full News Release, and documents on the Kenai website
September 3, 2014
Wilderness: A gift from the past for current and future generations
September 3rd marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which established the National Wilderness Preservation System and declared it a national policy “to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness.”
In Alaska, there are 48 designated wilderness areas covering more than 57 million acres, stretching from the far reaches of the Aleutian Islands to the coast of the Beaufort Sea; from the Southeast to the Northwest regions of the state. These wilderness areas encompass watersheds, mountain ranges, glaciers, wetlands, coastlines, volcanoes, and forests that support diverse wildlife populations, protect archeological sites, provide a setting for wilderness recreation, and ensure the continuation of a subsistence lifestyle.
August 28, 2014 Service Partners with State of Alaska to Eradicate Northern Pike from Kenai River Tributary
With partial funding support from the Service's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game plans to eradicate non-native, invasive northern pike from the Soldotna Creek drainage and restock with native fish rescued from the drainage. Illegally introduced Northern pike have eliminated all native fish populations in the western branch of Soldotna Creek and are impacting native fish populations in the remainder of the drainage. Because Soldotna Creek is a tributary to the Kenai River, these pike could spread into other vulnerable habitats within the Kenai River drainage, such as the Moose River. The Service recently published a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for public comment through September 12, 2014. (Public Notice)
Review the FONSI and learn more about this project on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game'swebsite.
July 2, 2014
Kenai NWR Fuels Treatments Save Homes on Funny River Fire
On May 19th 2014 the Funny River fire started on the western side of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Over the next five days the fire grew to nearly 200,000 acres, burning four structures and two outbuildings. There were also thousands of homes in the direct path of the fire. Pre-constructed fuelbreaks provided an opportunity for firefighters to successfully defend them.
June 3, 2014 Diverse Team Convened to Develop United States' Plan for Polar Bear Conservation
ANCHORAGE— A plan to conserve the polar bear in the United States over the next century is being crafted by a diverse group of stakeholders, led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The required plan, when finalized, will guide activities for polar bear conservation in response to the 2008 determination that the polar bear is a threatened species due to the ongoing loss of sea ice habitat from global climate change.
May 22, 2014 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces 2013 Endangered Species Recovery Champions
On May 16, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized individuals and teams for their exceptional efforts to conserve and protect the nation’s rarest fish, wildlife and plants by designating them 2013 Recovery Champions. Among the award winners honored for their work this year were two recipients who have worked on recovery of several Alaska Region species: Hiroshi Hasegawa, Ph.D., Toho University, Biology Department, Chiba, Japan, and Sonja Jahrsdoerfer, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species Coordinator for the Alaska Region from January 2006 to December 2014.
May 21, 2014 New Equipment Makes Treatment of Oiled, Injured, or Sick Polar Bear on the North Slope Possible
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the achievement of a milestone to address challenges associated with responding to oiled, injured, or sick polar bears in the wild. In April, a brand new polar bear holding module and two smaller transport cages arrived in Anchorage and will soon be shipped to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Alaska Clean Seas, the primary oil spill response organization on the North
May 9, 2014 Alaska Tribes Receive $397,590 in Tribal Wildlife Grants
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced Tribal Wildlife Grants awards to Native American and Alaska Native tribes funding a wide range of conservation projects across the country. Tribal Wildlife Grants are used to provide technical and financial assistance to Tribes for the development and implementation of programs that benefit fish and wildlife resources and their habitat.
May 8, 2014 Quick Action Stops Mouse Invasion of St. George Island, Alaska
House mice were never meant to be on the remote and windswept Bering Sea Island of St. George, Alaska, so it was quite a shock for Mark Merculief and his coworkers from the City of St. George when they opened a shipping container of grass seed and straw, and found house mice scurrying around inside. St. George is one of the few populated islands in the world where house mice have not become established and the residents of the island (both people and wild animals) want to keep it that way. No nuisance mice, gnawed food packages or threats to native wildlife for them! “It was a surprise,” said Merculief, “and not a nice one.”
May 7, 2014 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Approves Rule for Reinintroduction of Wood Bison in Alaska
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on May 7, 2014, is publishing a final rule which authorizes the reintroduction of a nonessential experimental population of wood bison in Alaska, establishes provisions under which wood bison in Alaska will be managed, and allows for legal incidental taking of wood bison within the defined nonessential experimental population area. The rule clears the way for plans by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to reintroduce wood bison into one or more of three areas within its historical range in Alaska (Yukon Flats, Minto Flats, and the lower Innoko/Yukon River area). Under the rule, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will have primary responsibility for managing wood bison in Alaska.
Girl Scouts Learn More Than Catch and Release During Ice Fishing Event
March 4, 2014
A small lake north of Anchorage, Alaska was buzzing with activity as the sun began to rise over the mountains and nearly two dozen volunteers from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Bass Pro Shops prepared for the arrival of members of 16 Girl Scout Troops from Anchorage and nearby communities of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. By 9:00 a.m., holes were drilled in the ice; tables were loaded with fishing equipment, and warming tents with hot cocoa were ready for children looking to take a break from the cold.
February 25, 2014 Service Seeks Comments on Proposal to Reintroduce Steller's Eider in Alaska
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces a public process to gather input on reintroduction of threatened Steller’s eiders to Alaska. A healthy population of these birds nesting on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in southwest Alaska is considered necessary for recovery of the listed Alaska-breeding population. Prior to release, the Service is seeking public input on the best approach, and will analyze the effects to the environment consistent with guidance in the National Environmental Policy Act. The public comment period begins March 3, 2014 and ends on April 15, 2014. The public will have an opportunity to review the draft environmental assessment in the summer of 2014.
February 21, 2014 International Wildlife Investigation Results in Conviction of Haines Big Game Guide
Anchorage, Alaska- U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a joint United States-Canadian wildlife investigation has resulted in the conviction after a jury trial against Haines, Alaska, big game guide John Katzeek. Katzeek, who has been a big game guide for over twenty years, was convicted by a Juneau jury for a felony violation of the Lacey Act in connection with a guided hunt with two Canadian citizens.
January 30, 2014 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Employee Receives National Recognition
Anchorage, Alaska — On January 21, 2014, Bill Rice, P.E., received the 2013 National Fish
Passage Program Field Biologist of the Year award in an all-employees ceremony held at the
Alaska Regional Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). This national award is
given each year to one Service employee in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the
mission and objectives of the Service’s National Fish Passage Program. Alaska Regional
Director, Geoff Haskett, presented the award on behalf of David Hoskins, Assistant Director of
Fisheries and Aquatic onservation for the Service.
“Bill’s work helps support what all Alaskans love to do most—fish! We are proud of Bill’s
accomplishments, as well as our other staff, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and other
local partners involved with fish passage projects”, said Geoff Haskett.
January 15, 2014 Togiak Area Man Sentenced for Wasting Walrus, Illegally Transporting Tusks and Firearms Violations
Anchorage, Alaska U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Togiak area resident Jessie Anariak, age 50, was sentenced by the Hon. Sharon L. Gleason, United States District Court Judge, to a term of 15 months imprisonment for his actions arising from the illegal take of a walrus on Round Island in May, 2011. News Release
January 7, 2014
Connecting With Villagers “in a Neighborly Fashion"
It’s only a slight stretch to say that Yukon River king salmon have spawned a novel approach to National Wildlife Refuge System law enforcement in Alaska.
King salmon is an important cultural and culinary part of Alaska Natives’ subsistence lifestyle. Its numbers in the Yukon River have been dropping for years. For the species’ long–term health, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service imposes regulations on king salmon fishing. The regulations aggravate Alaska Natives whose remote villages are within refuges. Federal wildlife officers must enforce the regulations and issue citations for violations such as fishing during closed periods.
December 30, 2013
Kids, Get Your Paintbrushes, Pens and Pencils Out
Parents, teachers and youth group leaders across America are invited to engage children in putting their creative skills to work in the 2014 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest, an integral part of the ninth annual national Endangered Species Day celebration in May. For more information, including entry categories, judging criteria, prizes and the entry form, visit this page. Entries must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2014.
December 23, 2013
Get Outdoors for the Holidays!
This holiday, as you enjoy the season with family and friends, take them outdoors. Bundle up and go skiing, snowmachining, birding, ice fishing, snowshoeing, skating, or build a snowman in the backyard. Connecting with the outdoors is good for everyone - physically, emotionally, and socially. It's free and it's fun. For more outdoor ideas visit:
December 19, 2013
Endangered Species Act Turns 40 on December 28
The Endangered Species Act, the bipartisan legislation that is credited with saving hundreds of species from extinction, was signed into law by President Nixon 40 years ago on December 28, 1973.
This landmark law has been the catalyst for fully recovering 31 species, including the bald eagle, eastern population of Steller sea lion, American alligator, Lake
Erie water snake and the Virginia northern flying squirrel. It continues to work today to protect and recover more than 2,100 animals and plants in the U.S.
and around the world.
December 11, 2013
Draft Peer Review Plan for Yellow-billed Loon Listing Evaluation Available
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Peer Review Plan for the biological status review portion of the yellow-billed loon listing evaluation. The draft plan is available for review and comment through January 6, 2014.
December 6, 2013
Wildlife Refuge Plans to Address Cattle Damage to Islands
Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge manager, Steve Delehanty, today announced the start of a public scoping process to identify issues and alternatives to address damage from unauthorized cattle on Wosnesenski and Chirikof Islands. Scoping will include meetings with interested federal, state, and local agencies, Federally recognized Tribes, stakeholders and the general public.
December 4, 2013
Polar Bear Range States Celebrate 40th Anniversary of 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears
Representatives of the polar bear range states – United States, Canada, Denmark/Greenland,
Norway and the Russian Federation – convened in Moscow, Russia, today to celebrate the 40th
anniversary of the 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears. Representatives responsible for polar bear policy, research, and management recognized the significant
contributions over the past four decades to polar bear conservation throughout the species’ Arctic
November 27, 2013
Michigan Hunters Sentenced for Illegally Taking Grizzly Bear
Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced November 26, 2013, that two Michigan residents were sentenced in U. S. District Court in Fairbanks for a 2009 unlawful taking of a grizzly bear during closed season, making false records to conceal the illegal kill, and transporting the bear parts out of Alaska. Read More
November 22, 2013 2013 Candidate Notice of Review Available
Each year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviews the current status of plants and animals considered candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act. This Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) will publish in the Federal Register on Friday, November 22, 2013. There are two candidate species that occur in the Alaska Region: the yellow-billed loon and the Pacific walrus. Although the CNOR implies that we are already working on a proposed rule to list the yellow-billed loon as endangered or threatened, in fact we are just starting the process to determine whether the species should be listed. We must publish our decision by September 30, 2014. Similarly, we must publish our decision by September 30, 2017 whether to list the Pacific walrus.
November 19, 2013 Landmark Study Reveals Low National Rate of Frog Abnormalities on Wildlife Refuges
An unprecedented 10-year-study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) shows encouraging results for frogs and toads on national wildlife refuges. The study, published today in the peer-reviewed online journal PLOS ONE, finds that on average, less than 2 percent of frogs and toads sampled on 152 refuges had physical abnormalities involving the skeleton and eyes – a lower rate than many experts feared based on earlier reports. Press Release
November 18, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Guidance to Clarify the Phrase Significantly Altered
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued guidance to clarify the phrase “significantly altered” as it pertains to authentic Native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter, a species protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The intent of the guidance is to reduce confusion over what this phrase means; it does not change existing MMPA implementing regulations.
November 6, 2013 National Wildlife Refuges Provide Significant Local Economic Impact
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently completed a new analysis examining the impacts to local economies of visits to national wildlife refuges. The study, called Banking on Nature, covers the periodOctober 1, 2010 to September 31, 2011 and included 92 of the more than 550 national wildlife refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System in the analysis. Visitor spending in four areas was examined: food, lodging, transportation and other expenses (such as guide fees, land-use fees and equipment rental).
November 1, 2013 Regional Director Appointed to the U.S.- Russia Polar Bear Commission
President Obama has appointed Geoffrey L. Haskett, Regional Director for the Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as the United States Commissioner for the U.S.–Russia Polar Bear Commission.
“I am honored to be appointed by President Obama to the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission. I look forward to working with the other commissioners on conservation of this shared, iconic species.” Press Release
October 25, 2013 Service Intends to Finalize Guidance Regarding Native Handicrafts Made from Sea Otter
By the end of November, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intends to issue final guidance to clarify the phrase “significantly altered” as it pertains to authentic native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter, a species protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The intent of the guidance will be to reduce confusion over what this phrase means; the guidance will not change existing MMPA implementing regulations (50 CFR Part 18). Press Release
October 25, 2013 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Emergency Closure of Brown Bear Sport
Hunting on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
SOLDOTNA, AK – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announces an emergency closure of sport hunting of brown bears on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), effective October 26, 2013 at 12:01 am. The emergency closure is issued pursuant to federal regulations at 50 CFR 36.42.
Press Release and Emergency Closure
October 23, 2013 Hawadax Island Recovery Exceeding Expectations
“When I first landed on what was Rat Island in 2007, it was an eerily silent place. A typical Aleutian island is teeming with wildlife, swirling with noisy, pungent birds. Not this place. It was crisscrossed with rat trails, littered with rat scat, scavenged bird bones, it even smelled…wrong,” reports Stacey Buckelew, an Island Conservation biologist. Buckelew first visited the island to help document centuries of damage to native birds and plant species from introduced invasive Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus).
October 17, 2013 12-Month Finding Published on Petition to List Kittlitz’s Murrelet
On October 3, 2013 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a 12-Month Finding in the Federal Register on a petition to list the Kittlitz’s murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) as an endangered or threatened species and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). After reviewing the best available scientific and commercial information, the Service found that listing the Kittlitz’s murrelet was not warranted.
August 22, 2013
Polar Bears in the Chukchi Sea Doing Well, Despite Sea Ice Loss
Climate change is the greatest long-term threat to polar bears. On May 15, 2008, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) listed the bear as threatened throughout its range under the Endangered Species Act. If loss of sea ice habitat continues, most populations of this iconic species are expected to decline or disappear by the end of the 21st century. But the path to that point might not be straightforward. In fact, scientists expect a lot of variation in when, where, and how the effects of sea ice loss will appear. According to a new study, by some measures one of the Arctic’s nineteen polar bear populations is doing quite well.
As a conservation agency, the Service understands that it is imperative to create opportunities for people, especially youth, to connect with nature—and help remove barriers to participation. In fact, one of the Service’s six national priorities is: connecting people with nature, ensuring the future of conservation. In Alaska, our Connecting People with Nature Working Group is dedicated to just that. In 2012-2013, this cross-program group distributed $31,250 towards projects in Alaska that connected people to nature; the funds were made possible by the Department of the Interior’s Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative. One of eight projects, “Creek to Plate” targeted youth from Anchorage’s Northeast Muldoon Boys and Girls Club, a hub for 700+ youngsters during non-school hours.
July 19, 2013 Potential Recovery of Pigeon Guillemot in Prince William Sound Comments Requested on Draft Environmental Assessment
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), along with the U.S. Forest Service-Chugach National Forest (Forest Service), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Wildlife Service (APHIS-WS) announce the availability of the draft Environmental Assessment “Potential Recovery of Pigeon Guillemot Populations, Naked Island Group – Prince William Sound, Alaska.” The comment period will be for 30 days, starting July 19, 2013 and ending on Aug 17, 2013.
Alaska teens contributed to ongoing habitat improvement efforts within the Chester Creek watershed in Anchorage by giving two sections of the creek’s riparian zone a major makeover this past June. Although riparian habitat makes up a relatively small percentage of a watershed’s total land area, it provides critical fish and wildlife habitat, areas of ground water recharge, natural flood and erosion control, and water quality protection. Chester Creek provides habitat for salmon, trout, and char, and creekside trails and greenbelts provide movement corridors for native wildlife like moose.
My name is Jessica Hildebrand. My parents are Rodney and Celene Hildebrand; my paternal grandparents are Victor and Edith Nicholas, and my maternal grandparents are the late Leo and Delores Kriska. I grew up at a homestead located 6 miles from Koyukuk and 12 miles from Nulato. On the homestead, better known as “Last Chance,” is our family’s house, my parent’s privately owned business, our fish cutting area, smoke house, and numerous old cabins and caches. My parents also own a house in Nulato that we went back and forth to for school during the winter, but you would never catch us away from Last Chance during the summer.
June 25, 2013 Fish and Flood-Friendly Culverts: Spotlight on Tyonek, Alaska!
Indian Creek flows through Tyonek into Cook Inlet and supports important subsistence fisheries for salmon and rainbow trout. During the heavy spring flows of 2012, the creek washed out the road, which had a too-small culvert. In October 2012, the creek was fitted with a much larger fish- and flood-friendly culvert designed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska fish passage engineer. Culverts designed to let juvenile salmon move freely among important rearing habitats not only boost fish production, but are also immensely valuable from a road maintenance and public safety perspective...they keep fish habitat and communities connected, no matter what the weather!
June 21, 2013
70th Anniversary of Battle of Attu Commemorated
Seventy years after young men fought and died on remote, wind-swept Attu Island in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) honored their sacrifices with the dedication of a new interpretive site on Attu. In addition to interpretive panels which tell the story of WWII in the Aleutians, a special plaque honors the deeds of Pvt. Joseph Martinez, the only Medal of Honor recipient in the Aleutian Campaign.
Every year birds from around the world, using multiple flyways, migrate to the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge to nest and raise their young. The combined abundance and diversity of waterbirds that annually visit the refuge is unparalleled in North America. It is truly one of the world's most important places for migratory birds. Park Ranger, Brian McCaffery, describes this special refuge as "vast" and "productive."
National Pollinator Week, this year June 17-23, 2013, has now grown to be an international celebration. Pollinating animals, including bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and others, are vital to our delicate ecosystem, supporting terrestrial wildlife, providing healthy watersheds, and more. Pollinators positively affect all our lives. Did you know that bees pollinate Alaska’s blueberries early in the summer so that we can enjoy those tasty berries later?
June 11, 2013 East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership Signs Resolution with Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna
The annual Meeting of Partners of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership kicked off Monday morning at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage with the signing of a resolution with the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group. This resolution will serve to better coordinate efforts to promote and protect birds along a migratory flyway that is home to over 50 million waterbirds. The meeting will continue much of this week in Seward, Alaska.
June 7, 2013 Public Input Sought for Clarification on Select Terms Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act With Regard to Sea Otter.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska is providing an additional 60 days for the public to provide information and comment on our draft document clarifying the existing interpretation of the terms “significantly altered from their natural form,” “coastal dwelling,” and “mass produced” as they apply to Alaska Native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter parts under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. We invite your comments on this draft document by August 06, 2013. If you previously submitted info`rmation or recommendations to the Service you do not need to re-submit that information. To view the document or submit comments, please visit http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/current.htm
June 3, 2013 Draft Peer Review Plan for the Kittlitz's murrelet.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Peer Review Plan for the biological section of the Kittlitz’s murrelet listing evaluation. The plan is available for review and comment through June 14, 2013.
May 29, 2013 Recent sunny weather may mean a bumper crop for Alaska's Elodea infestations!
Elodea. Believed to be Alaska’s first fully submerged aquatic invasive plant, you may have seen Elodea choking out areas of Sand Lake, Little Campbell Lake, or Delong Lake in Anchorage and Chena Slough in Fairbanks. It’s also being found in a growing number of lakes and slow moving rivers/sloughs in Cordova and on the Kenai Peninsula.
Should we be concerned?Yes! Elodea survives under ice. When introduced to a new waterway, Elodea grows rapidly, overtaking native plants, filling the water column, and changing the habitat conditions to which native fish are adapted. Thick mats form at or just below the water surface and can foul boat propellers and floatplane rudders, causing a hazard. In addition to impeding fishing, navigation, boat launching, and paddling, it can also reduce waterfront property values.
May 28, 2013 Southeast Alaska Biologists Recognized for Improving Habitat in Public Spaces
Earlier this month, the Alaska Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) presented two U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists—Neil Stichert and John Hudson—with the 2013 GreenBelt Award for their long-standing efforts to collaborate with others to improve fish and wildlife habitat in public spaces.
May 23, 2013 Alaska Tribes Receive $433,026 in Tribal Wildlife Grants
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced Tribal Wildlife Grants awards to Native American and Alaska Native tribes funding a wide range of conservation projects across the country.
“The mindful stewardship of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats is a value that tribal nations share with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Tribal Wildlife Grants create opportunities for us to work together in a variety of ways, including species restoration, fish passage, protection of migratory birds, and coping with long-term effects of a changing climate.” Press Release
May 23, 2013 Dall Sheep Guide Sentenced for Illegal Hunting in Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced May 22, 2013, that a Canadian man was sentenced in U. S. District Court in Fairbanks, Alaska, for the sale of two unlawfully taken and possessed Dall sheep.
Patrick J. Downey, 67, of Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada, pled guilty and was sentenced May 10, 2013, (attached press release states "pled guilty in May 2012" in error) ,by U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline after admitting that he guided two hunts that resulted in taking under-sized Dall sheep. Downey was sentenced to pay a $20,000 fine, was placed on probation for five years, during which Downey may not hunt or guide in the United States. The charges arose from Downey’s service as a licensed Alaska assistant guide in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in 2008 and 2009. For approximately twenty years, Downey had guided hunters in the Brooks Range while employed by Master Guide-Outfitter Joe Hendricks, co-owner of Fair Chase Hunts (FCH). Full press release...
May 21, 2013 Wetland Conservation in Alaska
Each May we celebrate National Wetlands Month. Wetlands are the cornerstone of many important ecosystems, providing numerous ecological and economic benefits for fish, wildlife and people. Wetlands improve water quality, absorb and store water, help reduce flooding, and provide important habitat for wildlife. There are more wetlands in Alaska than all the other U.S. states combined.Read more
May17, 2013 Polar Bear Conservation Continues this Endangered Species Day
Endangered Species Day is particularly poignant today as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and recognize the Federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, industry representatives, and private citizens who have worked together under the law to conserve America’s most imperiled species.
“In Alaska key partners have come together under the Endangered Species Act to successfully recover the Aleutian Canada goose, the Arctic peregrine falcon and the American peregrine falcon” said Geoffrey Haskett, Alaska’s Regional Director. “These are all great success stories. The sobering prospect of extinction motivates us to do all that we can nationally and internationally to conserve remarkable Alaskan species like polar bear.” Read more
May16, 2013 Upper Tanana Valley hit with Sparrows EVERYWHERE
“There’s constant movement on the ground and the singing is insane. I have never seen anything like this EVER. ” says retired Fish and Wildlife biologist Bud Johnson of Tok, Alaska. “There are probably a hundreds of thousands of sparrows just in Tok”.
May 16, 2013 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Alaska’s Endangered Species Recovery Champion Award Winners
The story of endangered species conservation in the United States over the past 40 years involves many heroes. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recognized 16 teams or individuals across the country for their outstanding efforts to conserve and protect endangered and threatened fish, wildlife and plants by designating them 2012 Recovery Champions. Among the award winners honored for their work were two Alaskans, Brian McCaffery and Margaret Peterson.
“Recovery Champion awards acknowledge individuals and groups who have excelled in their efforts to protect and recover our most imperiled species,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “They exemplify the dedication and determination that has helped save countless animals and plants from extinction and that continues to raise the bar in the field of endangered species conservation.”
May 13, 2013 Kali leaves the Alaska Zoo to join polar bear cub Luna at the Buffalo Zoo
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that Kali, the polar bear cub rescued in March from the Point Lay area of Alaska, will leave the Alaska Zoo on May 14, arriving at New York’s Buffalo Zoo on May 15. Kali (pronounced Cully, the Inupiat name for Point Lay), a 65-pound cub, will join young female cub Luna where both cubs will benefit from each other’s company. Under the care of Alaska Zoo staff Kali has adjusted well to his surroundings, more than tripling in size and weight.
“The Alaska Zoo has done a tremendous job of providing excellent, temporary care for Kali,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “I would like to personally thank the zoo for stepping up – at moment’s notice – to care for this cub. Now, as Kali leaves Alaska for his next short-term home, we are confident that the Buffalo Zoo will provide the best of care for Kali as the Service makes a final determination on a permanent home for the cub.” Press Release
May 6, 2013 Alaska Celebrates Arrival of Migratory Birds
Spring has sprung and migratory birds are arriving in Alaska by the thousands. Soon they will be building nests, laying eggs and another generation of birds will be hatching. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with many partners, celebrates this special time of year by inviting you to participate at bird festivals and events across the state. Learn more by visiting these links:
April 22, 2013 The Future of Conservation this Earth Day
As we celebrate Earth Day 2013, we invite you to take a moment to reflect on the words of Senator Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day. He knew how hard but how critical long-term thinking is and said, "The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard." We invite you to celebrate Earth Day by choosing ways you can live today so that future generations will enjoy our wildlife legacy in the future. Visit http://www.fws.gov/home/earthday/
April 18, 2013 USFWS Announces Decision on Petition to Delist Wood Bison
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish in the Federal Register tomorrow a 90-day finding on a petition to delist the wood bison and remove it from protection under the Endangered Species Act. Based on our review, we find that the petition does not present substantial information indicating that delisting the wood bison subspecies may be warranted. Therefore, we are not initiating a status review in response to this petition. However, we ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of, or threats to, the wood bison or its habitat at any time. Press Release
March 25, 2013 Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Almost $40 Million in User-Generated Funding to Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game "Hunters, Anglers, and Other Recreational Users Provide Record Support for Critical Conservation Projects
More than $882.4 million in excise tax revenues generated in 2012 by sportsmen and sportswomen will be distributed to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.
March 19, 2013 Polar Bear Cub Delivered to Alaska Zoo
On March 12, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received word that a female polar bear had been taken near Point Lay, Alaska. The adult female was accompanied by a cub, which was recovered and transferred first to the community of Point Lay, and then to the North Slope Borough’s Department of Wildlife Management (DWM). Subsequent to a health evaluation by the DWM it was determined that the cub is a young male weighing approximately 18.4 lbs. and 3-4 months of age.
March 1, 2013 Clarification of Select Terms under the Marine Mammal Protection Act with Regard to Sea Otters
S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska releases today for public comment a draft document clarifying the interpretation of the terms “significantly altered from their natural form,” “coastal dwelling,” and “mass produced” as they apply to Alaska Native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter parts under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. We invite your comments on this draft document by May 17, 2013. To view the document or comment, please go to http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/current.htm
February 26, 2013 The Service announces the availability of the draft Peer Review Plan for the Proposed Wood Bison Introduction project
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Peer Review Plan for the Proposed Reintroduction of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Wood Bison in Alaska. The plan is available for review and comment through March 19, 2013.. Learn more
February 25, 2013 Military Youth Ice Fishing Jamboree
What lurks in the cold, dark depths of Hillberg Lake near Anchorage, Alaska? With an average depth of 13 feet and a width of just 200 yards, most people would think there’s probably not much. The bald eagle perched overhead was there for something, wasn’t he? Throw 130 kids and 60 parents with nearly 150 fishing jigs onto the frozen lake, and you’ll quickly learn that landlocked Chinook salmon and rainbow trout lurk beneath the ice.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Final Polar Bear Special Rule
February 19, 2013
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a Special Rule establishing how activities that may harm the threatened polar bear will be managed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Final Special Rule effectively maintains the management and conservation framework that has been in effect for the polar bear since it was first protected under the ESA in 2008.
The Final Special Rule, issued under Section 4(d) of the ESA, avoids redundant regulation under the ESA by adopting the longstanding and more stringent protections of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as the primary regulatory provisions for this threatened species.
February 12, 2013 Youth in Alaska's Great Outdoors
The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shares how they ENGAGED, EDUCATED, and EMPLOYED youth in 2012 as part of the Department of Interior's Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative. If you are interested in 2013 opportunities in Alaska visit the links below.
February 12, 2013 Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest - Deadline: March 15
Parents, teachers, and scout leaders tell your kids to start the drawing engines and participate in the annual Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest! Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2013. The Youth Art Contest provides students from kindergarten to high school with an opportunity to learn about threatened and endangered species and express their knowledge and support through artwork. Organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the International Child Art Foundation, the art contest is an integral part of the eighth annual national Endangered Species Day on May 17, 2013.
February 5, 2013 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Analysis Does Not Support Proposed Land Exchange and Road Corridor Through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) evaluating a proposed land exchange that would establish a road corridor through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Alaska. After careful evaluation of the impact of the construction and operation of the proposed road on the refuge and its wildlife resources, the agency has identified its preferred alternative as one that does not support allowing the land exchange to go forward.
February 1, 2013 Protecting Habitat for Salmon Lands National Recognition -
Coastal America to recognize private-public partnership achieving voluntary salmon habitat conservation in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley
Anchorage -- Coordinated action to conserve coastal habitat in Southcentral Alaska has captured national attention. On Thursday February 7, 2013 at the Alaska Forum on the Environment conference held at the Dena’ina Convention Center, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior for Alaska, Pat Pourchot, will present the Matanuska-Susitna Valley Coastal Conservation Partnership with a 2012 Coastal America Partnership Award on behalf of the Obama Administration and Coastal America.
Coastal America selected the Alaska partnership to receive this national award for its outstanding efforts to voluntarily conserve more than 6,000 acres of coastal habitat important to Pacific salmon and other wildlife. The Alaska-based effort is one of only four collaborative teams throughout the Nation to receive this prestigious award in 2012.
January 17, 2013 Service Seeks Comments On Proposed Wood Bison Introduction Project
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it will propose to release wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) in Alaska, in support of an Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) plan, in an effort to establish a wild population of this native wildlife species to the State. Potential introduction sites include Minto Flats, the lower Innoko/Yukon River area, and Yukon Flats.America’s wildlife legacy.
January 9, 2013 Science Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy
The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit http://www.fws.gov/science/awards.html
The Non-game Migratory Bird Management Team are a group of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists working with partners on bird conservation, including songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors. Among many activities, they administer survey and monitoring programs, compile data, and apply data to management. They have expanded their network globally to address birds throughout entire ranges. Visit http://alaska.fws.gov/mbsp/mbm/index.htm to learn more about their efforts.
The Non-game Migratory Bird Management Team's efforts help ensure that non-game migratory birds will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.
January 8, 2013 USFWS Announces Proposed Incidental Take Regulations for Polar Bears and Pacific Walrus
In Alaska, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) protects polar bears, Pacific walrus, and northern sea otters by prohibiting "take" of these animals. The MMPA provides for specific exceptions to the prohibition on non-lethal take, including a provision that allows U.S. citizens to take, through hazing and other non-lethal deterrents, small numbers of marine mammals incidental to specified activities. Read more...
January 2, 2013 Science Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy
The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit http://www.fws.gov/science/awards.html
As the Service's Shorebird Coordinator in Alaska, Dr. Richard Lanctot has worked at the national and international level to promote shorebird conservation. He launched the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group in 2006 which has promoted sharing of methods for studying and conserving shorebirds and connected biologists studying the same species throughout their annual cycle. He has worked to promote consistent methods for collecting shorebird data in the Arctic, allowing information to be compared at the circumpolar level and areas of international importance to be identified.
Richard Lanctot's efforts help ensure that migratory shorebirds will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.
December 19, 2012 Science Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy
The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for on of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit http://www.fws.gov/science/awards.html
The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge's Biological Science Team has demonstrated scientific leadership in the areas of seabird research, marine science and conservation, and invasive species eradication. Within the last five years, the team has restored over 100,000 acres of refuge land by eradicating invasive species. Numerous research efforts have documented biodiversity, climate change, impacts to island ecosystems from volcanism, the accumulation of contaminants in seabirds, and much more. Data generated by this research is shared in publications, at conferences, sent to international databases, provided to regional multi-disciplinary research programs, and offered to collaborators. For more information about Alaska Maritime Refuge visit http://alaskamaritime.fws.gov/
The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Science Team's efforts help ensure that refuge resources will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.
December 12, 2012 Science Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy
The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit http://www.fws.gov/science/awards.html
Dr. David Irons is the Seabird Coordinator for Alaska's office of Migratory Bird Management. He has long recognized the interconnectedness of our world's marine ecosystems and has demonstrated great vision and determination in forging working relationships with seabird scientists in Alaska, other Arctic nations, and the world. He has worked to encourage information exchange among seabird scientists and leads a multi-national effort to develop the Global Seabird Data Portal to archive the world's seabird colony data, a critical step towards science-based management and conservation of our world's marine birds.
David's efforts will help ensure that seabirds will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.
December 7, 2012 Alaska Fish-Friendly Culverts Hold Tight Through 100 year flood
Southcentral Alaska – This past September, residents and visitors experienced heavy rains, strong winds, and widespread flooding. Many roads with undersized culverts or near rivers were overtopped by flood waters, resulting in road closures, erosion of road material, culvert damage, and at least five culverts/bridges becoming overwhelmed and flushed downstream.
In contrast, the 81 road culverts that had been fitted with larger, channel-spanning structures over the past decade survived the flood with flying colors. Read more...
December 5, 2012 Science Excellence and America’s Wildlife Legacy
The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit http://www.fws.gov/science/awards.html
Michelle Kissling is a Wildlife Biologist with the Juneau Fish & Wildlife Field Office. Ms. Kissling successfully leveraged the Service's funds and operational capabilities to expand partnerships to establish interagency monitoring and research of the Kittlitz's murrelet, a poorly understood seabird endemic to coastal Alaska and the Russian Far East. She helped coordinate more than 50 people, representing various partners, in murrelet field work; conducting at sea surveys, banding over 900 birds, and placing transmitters on 215 birds. She is recognized for her outstanding leadership and scientific contributions toward conservation of Kittlitz's murrelet and her exceptional commitment forging scientific conservation partnerships.
Michelle’s efforts will help ensure that the Kittlitz’s murrelet will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.
November 16, 2012 Alaska’s Network of Fish Habitat Partnerships: Working for Healthy, Sustainable Fisheries
November 16, 2012
Each year, after the shovels have been put away and waders stowed, a broad cross-section of individuals
and organizations interested in salmon and involved in on-the-ground efforts to ensure that important
habitats are identified, safeguarded, and restored in the Mat-Su region gather for the Mat-Su Salmon Science and Conservation Symposium. This 2-day event, organized by the Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership, provides a forum for the sharing of information and lessons learned, celebrating of
successes, and planning for the future of salmon and their habitat in this region. News Release
November 1, 2012 Yukon Delta recognized for importance to
East Asian-Australasian Flyway
Millions of waterbirds breed each summer in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, then leave this vast wetland cradle to migrate along flyways spanning the Americas. But about half a million migrate along a lesser-known route: the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
The East Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership (Partnership) was launched in 2006 as a framework for voluntary, international cooperation aimed at protecting migratory waterbirds and their habitat in eastern Asia and the south Pacific Ocean.
November 1, 2012 New Nature Explore Classroom Video Goes Live
A new video on the Nature Explore classroom, built at the Children's Tree House Child Development Center
on the campus of the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), is live. The classroom serves as a gateway
for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to connect children with nature. Watch the video today!
October 25, 2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Proposals from States for Annual Endangered Species Grants
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking proposals from states and U.S. territories interested in obtaining federal financial assistance to acquire land or conduct planning efforts for endangered species conservation.
The Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF) is authorized under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and provides grants to states and territories to support participation in a wide array of voluntary conservation projects for species on the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, as well as for candidate species. For fiscal year (FY) 2013, the President’s budget request for the annual Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund includes $60 million in grant funding for conservation activities benefitting federally protected species.
October 23, 2012 Alaska Environmental Literacy Plan Working Group Honored with InteriorDepartment’s 2012 “Partners in Conservation” Award
Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes today presented the Department’s 2012 “Partners in Conservation” Awards to 17 organizations that have achieved exemplary conservation results through public-private cooperation and community engagement. Honorees include four partnerships nominated by the Fish and Wildlife Service and several others in which the Service plays a key supporting role. The Alaska Environmental Literary Plan Working Group was among the organizations recognized.
October 5, 2012 Visit Your National Wildlife Refuges: October 14-20, 2012
Treat yourself with a visit to a national wildlife refuge during National Wildlife Refuge Week, from October 14-20. Celebrate America’s wildlife heritage, and see what refuges are doing to conserve it.
“National wildlife refuges play a crucial role in conserving America’s wildlife legacy,” says U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Refuges also play important roles in human communities. By providing healthy habitats for wildlife, refuges improve the air we breathe and the water we drink, improve soil quality and give protection against flooding in flood-prone areas. Jobs and businesses in local communities rely on refuges – and the visitors they attract. Refuges offer glorious and protected places to hunt, fish, hike and share the outdoors with a new generation.”
September 18, 2012 USFWS Video Celebrates National Hunting and Fishing Day
In recognition of National Hunting and Fishing Day (celebrated on September 22 this year) the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region has published a video documenting the journey of trout from a hatchery in Anchorage to area lakes, where they became available to eager anglers.
In this video, you can digitally join that trip, as more than 14,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout are moved from hatchery tanks to two local lakes! The fish were among the first to be delivered from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s new William Jack Hernandez sport fish hatchery. The hatchery helps maintain the vitality of Alaska’s sport fisheries by increasing recreational fishing opportunities while reducing fishing pressure on natural stocks. News Release Stocking Rainbow Trout Video
September 5, 2012 National Hunting and Fishing Day
Hunter Recruitment in Alaska
Hunting is a lifestyle and an important activity for millions of Americans, bringing them outdoors and in touch with nature. More than 13 million people across the country enjoy hunting, and through hunting they contribute to wildlife conservation and management. National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 22, 2012, celebrates the programs that ensure that hunting continues for future generations. Learn more...
August 29, 2012
ESA Listing of Prince of Wales flying squirrel found not warranted
Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Prince of Wales (POW) flying squirrel as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Based on its review, the Service finds that the petition, dated September 30, 2011, does not present substantial information indicating that listing this species may be warranted. Therefore, the agency will not initiate a status review.
August 17, 2012 Kenai River Habitat Work Lands National Recognition -DOI Assistant Secretary Anne Castle to Recognize River Center Highlight America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Rivers Initiative
Coordinated action to preserve and restore the natural resources of the Kenai River is capturing national attention. On Friday, August 24th Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science Anne Castle will visit the Donald E. Gilman River Center to meet with state and local officials and community organizations to learn more about habitat restoration work along the Kenai River and its tributaries and to highlight reasons why Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar selected the Kenai River partnership effort to be part of the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Rivers Initiative.
If you are planning to hunt sheep in Game Management Unit 25A, please be aware of Federal hunting regulations that do not appear in your State of Alaska regulations booklet: The entire Arctic Village Sheep Management Area (AVSMA) is closed to general sheep hunting.
The Arctic Village Sheep Management Area
(AVSMA), which lies west and north of Arctic Village, is closed to sheep hunting except by federally qualified residents of Arctic Village, Venetie, Fort Yukon, Kaktovik and Chalkyitsik
Red Sheep Creek and Cane Creek are now part of this closure due to a decision made by the Federal Subsistence Board in January 2012.
In the last week, three abandoned walrus calves have been captured and transferred to the Alaska SeaLife Center for treatment and observation before being placed in zoos. This was a community effort with hunters contacting the NSB Department of Wildlife Management to assist with the capture of the animals (with approval from USFWS). The NSB Veterinary Clinic assisted Alaska SeaLife Center staff with the stabilization of the animals until they could be transported. Thanks goes out to the community of Barrow for making these captures and transports successful. Read more
July 31, 2012 Final Rule for Queen Charlotte Goshawk Listing in Canada
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today its final rule to list the British Columbia distinct population segment (DPS) of the Queen Charlotte goshawk (Accipiter gentilis laingi) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The species is not being listed in the U.S. due in part to protections provided by the U.S. Forest Service’s Tongass Land Management Plan. The Endangered Species Act provides this flexibility so that protections can be tailored to where they are needed.
July 18, 2012 Scientists Explore Social Dimensions of Climate Change
Communities in Alaska are at the forefront of the impacts of climate change. Rural communities, heavily dependent on natural resources, are not only aware of the impacts of a changing climate, but they see and experience these changes in a profound way. In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fisheries Resource Monitoring Program requested in its Call for Proposals a broad range of fisheries science and social science projects that examined or discussed climate change effects on subsistence resources and users. Learn more…
June 18, 2012
2012 Alaska Weed Smackdowns: fun, community events to control non-native, invasive plants!
In conjunction with Alaska Invasive Weed Awareness Week in 2010, Alaska’s first Weed Smackdown event was structured to help contain the spread of non-native, invasive plants and educate/involve local residents in Fairbanks. Since then, awareness of the problem and the number of events have grown, with four Weed Smackdown events scheduled for 2012. Each offers a fun, friendly competition among teams comprised of members from community organizations, businesses, and unaffiliated individuals who all have one thing in common: the desire to spare Alaska the economic and ecological impacts of invasive species. Participants will not only enjoy fresh air, exercise, fun, free food, and fabulous prizes, but will also help control or eradicate these weed invaders.
June 12, 2012 Make sure the Native art you buy in Alaska can go home with you!
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alaska State Council on the Arts recently produced an updated Customs Guide on Alaska Native Arts. Long recognized as an excellent tool for the Alaska Native art market, the online guide helps artists, arts patrons, and retailers interpret the complex wildlife laws that affect the international trade of some of Alaska’s most unique products.
Information in the guide can help visitors determine what artwork they can legally purchase and lawfully transport through Canada or across another national border. The guide lists wildlife materials commonly used in traditional Alaska Native art. Learn more...
June 7, 2012 Celebrate Great Outdoors Month and National Fishing and Boating Week in Alaska
Summer is here. June brings Alaskans and visitors outdoors to enjoy camping, boating, outdoor festivals and events, fishing, and much more. In fact, across the country June 2-10 is National Fishing and Boating Week; this month is also Great Outdoors Month.
Outdoor activities like camping and fishing encourage young and old alike to explore and enjoy Alaska’s rich recreational opportunities. Learn more...
May 22, 2012 America’s Great Outdoor Rivers Initiative at the Kenai River
Today, as part of a weeklong event, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced projects in the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Wyoming, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado that serve as models of the America’s Great Outdoors River Initiative. The goal of the Initiative is to conserve and restore key rivers across the nation, expand outdoor recreational opportunities, and support jobs in local communities. This effort was unveiled in January as part of President Obama’s broader America’s Great Outdoors initiative; which aims to work with communities across the country to establish a 21st century conservation ethic, reconnect people, especially young people, to the natural world, and promote the outdoor recreation economy. Learn more
May 15, 2012
Caribou Board Concludes International Meeting
The International Porcupine Caribou Board, including members from Canada and the U.S., met April 18-19 in Fairbanks. The event included an evening public meeting on April 18 at the Morris Thompson Cultural Center, where the Board presented its history and mission and engaged in a question-and-answer session. The board had been inactive for over a decade until meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada in September, 2011, where the Board reviewed its roles and responsibilities and the role of the Porcupine Caribou Technical Committee of biologists, who provide advice to the Board. Learn more
May 11, 2012 Pollinator Gardens in Alaska
Most flowering plants depend on bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other animals for pollination. Pollination is an essential part of plant reproduction, producing fertile seeds and, in some species, fruit. In Alaska our pollinators include at least 95 bee species and 75 butterfly species!
May 18, 2012 Alaska Region Celebrates 2012 Endangered Species Day!
On May 18, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous organizations will honor Endangered Species Day, and the nationwide conservation efforts underway protecting America’s threatened, endangered and at-risk species. In Alaska, the Aleutian Canada (cackling) goose, American peregrine falcon, Arctic peregrine falcon are all species that were on the brink of extinction, but have successfully rebounded. These species are just a few examples of those benefiting from the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act and the dedicated people who work to ensure their continued existence.
Upcoming events in Anchorage:
May 20 - International Migratory Bird Day, The Alaska Zoo
May 31 - "The ESA and You: A Conversation about Conservation," Loussac Library
May 11, 2012
Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day at the Zoo on May 20th
The International Migratory Bird Day event at the Alaska Zoo on Sunday, May 20th will celebrate 20 years of spreading the word about the avian visitors that brighten out lives and enrich our natural world. In keeping with the 20th anniversary theme, visitors will be able to explore activity stations based on 20 ways to conserve birds!
May 13, 2012
Mountain Goats in Focus
Biologists Share Management and Research
75th Anniversary - Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program
By Riley Woodford, Alaska Department of Fish & Game
Mountain goats are one of the least studied big game animals in North America. But that’s changing.
Remarkable new tools and growing concerns for these agile, wooly beasts are providing unprecedented insights into their
biology, behavior, needs and vulnerabilities. Learn more
April 20, 2012
Celebrating Earth Day with Bird-Friendly Wind Turbines
The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of installing and testing wind turbines on Izembek and Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuges. The $3.4 million project was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It was the largest Recovery Act investment in Alaska and has created several jobs.
April 19, 2012
Youth Invited to “Connect, Create and Celebrate”
This year the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is launching the “Get to Know Contest” for the first time across the United States. The goal of the contest is to engage the power of art to help youth feel more connected with nature. Youth, 19 and under, are eligible to enter the contest until July 16 by submitting original works of art, writing, photography, video, or music inspired by their natural world. We invite all youth to Connect…Create…and Celebrate with the Get to Know Contest.
April 16, 2012
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Draft Polar Bear Special Rule and Environmental Assessment
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose a special rule clarifying how the agency will manage the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in harmony with other federal laws that also protect polar bears.
Alaska is home to about 32,000 brown bears, ranging from the Arctic to the Southeast rainforest. Whether these are the oft-photographed McNeil River bears, the famous trophy Kodiak Island bears, or secretive urban bears co-existing with Anchorage residents, state wildlife biologists are keenly interested in these magnificent animals. Brown bears tend to be called grizzly bears in Interior and northern Alaska, but they are all Ursus arctos. There is much to learn ...
March 23, 2012
Interior Announces Onshore Wind Energy Guidelines
The Department of the Interior today released guidelines designed to help wind energy project developers
avoid and minimize impacts of land-based wind projects on wildlife and their habitats.
The voluntary guidelines will help shape the smart siting, design and operation of the nation’s growing wind energy
economy. To download a copy of the final guidelines and for other background information on the Fish and Wildlife
Service’s role in wind energy development, please visit http://www.fws.gov/windenergy/
February 27, 2012 is International Polar Bear Day. As the federal agency charged with the management of polar bears, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and in particular its Alaska Region, is in the forefront of polar bear conservation and research. To learn more about these iconic marine mammals, and what the Service is doing to help make sure that they will continue to wander their arctic homes for generations to come, follow the link here.
February 24, 2012
Students Invited to Enter 2012 Jr. Duck Stamp Contest
March 15, 2012 is the deadline for submissions for the 2012 JUNIOR DUCK STAMP CONTEST for K-12 students. Participants select a species of North American waterfowl, do research on this species and its habitat, and then depict their findings through art and writing. Prizes, cash awards, and national recognition await the winners. Get to know North America’s waterfowl and enter the contest! Alaska's winning entry competes nationally; the national winner is featured on the stamp itself. Stamp proceeds go to support awards and environmental education for students. For more information visit http://alaska.fws.gov/jrduck
February 13, 2012
Meeks Trail Bridge
The Kenai River is known for its great salmon fishing. When the sockeyes are running, massive crowds armed with dip nets flock to catch these fresh, silvery fish at the mouth, where the river meets Cook Inlet. The Meeks Trail pedestrian bridge provides access to the North Beach, and, in so doing, crosses a tributary to the Kenai that provides important habitat for salmon and other native fish. This past January, the City of Kenai started work on a restoration project at this site, funded by USFWS’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program via our Kenai Fish and Wildlife Office. Read more
February 9, 2012 Moose Management Success in the Lower Yukon
By Meghan Nedwick, Alaska Department of Fish & Game
Asking people to hunt more moose hardly seems like a problem. But after telling three generations of people not to harvest moose, specifically cows; it may be difficult to tell people to do otherwise.
Historically, up until the late 1980s, moose on the Lower Yukon existed at very low levels and most areas had few or no moose at all. Of the few moose that were present, people harvested a high percentage of both bulls and cows which prevented the population from growing in otherwise suitable habitat. Learn more
February 7, 2012
Many Iñupiaq Names for Snow
We're having a big snow year in many Alaska locations. Snow comes in many varieties, as anyone who lives in the north knows. Not surprisingly, the Iñupiaq language of Northwest Alaska has a much more descriptive vocabulary than English for types of snow. Among these are: pukak (granular or sugar snow), misruligruaq (falling snow mixed with rain), qiqsruqqaq (glazed snow), maquyak (soft spring snow, making traveling difficult), aniu (packed snow), and qayukłak (rough-surface snow from windstorms).
Americans enjoy unparalleled opportunities to hunt, fish and experience wildlife largely because of a far-sighted conservation effort launched 75 years ago. In many cases the very presence of animals on the landscape and fish in the water is tied directly to this effort, which has also helped instill a new appreciation for wildlife in generations of Americans.
January 18, 2012
Celebrating 75 Years of Cooperation for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) join the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), and other partners at the 2012 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference (2012 SHOT show) to announce the start of a year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), one of the most significant and successful partnership approaches to fish and wildlife conservation in U.S. history.
January 10, 2012
Alaska Reels in Funds for Two Habitat Protection Partnership Projects
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently announced $20.5 million in National Coastal Wetland grants to support 24 projects in 13 states to conserve and restore coastal wetlands and their fish and wildlife habitat.
Two State of Alaska projects, the Upper Knik Arm Coastal Wetlands Conservation Project and the Goose Bay Estuary Conservation Project, received funding under the Secretary’s 2012 grant award announcement.
Together, these projects will receive $1,060,000 in National Coastal Wetland Grant funding to help conserve approximately 3400 acres of privately-owned coastal habitat for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people. Once the land negotiations are completed, the conservation of these parcels will support the needs of the Goose Bay and Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuges by protecting important spawning and rearing habitat for Coho and King salmon; and conserving resting and foraging areas for many migratory bird species.
January 5, 2012
Help make 2012 a great year for Alaska’s native aquatics by going felt-free!
Winter may stand between anglers and their favorite Alaskan streams and rivers, but it’s not too early to start thinking about getting a new pair of wading boots…without felt soles! Initially popular because they provide good traction on slippery streambeds, felt-soled wading boots are now known to have a major drawback: they provide an ideal vehicle for spreading tiny invasive species that can cause big problems. Read more...
December 28, 2011
Happy Birthday Endangered Species Act!
Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is celebrating the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) 38th birthday. The ESA was enacted on December 28, 1973, to prevent the loss or harm of endangered and threatened species and to preserve the ecosystems upon which these species depend. All Alaskans can take pride in the fact that, under the ESA, the Aleutian Canada goose, American peregrine falcon, and Arctic peregrine falcon have been brought back from the brink of extinction. Happy birthday!
December 23, 2011
Working with Wildlife in Alaska, not your average nine to five job
Are you interested in wildlife conservation? Would you like to gain valuable job experience and see Alaska? The U.S. Fish& Wildlife Service in Alaska is currently recruiting for a wide range of seasonal jobs, internships and volunteer positions. Positions include assisting biologists conducting field work on birds, fish and wildlife; working with visitors at national wildlife refuges, building trails, or teaching children about nature. Check out our web page, http://alaska.fws.gov/working.htm for more information.
December 14, 2011
Christmas Bird Counts Past and Future
Dozens of kids and adults took to the Alaska Zoo trails on December 3rd to participate in Anchorage’s second Christmas Bird Count for Kids – an event sponsored by the Alaska Zoo, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Audubon Alaska, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in coordination with Boy and Girl Scout troops from around the city. In the spirit of the traditional Christmas Bird Count started by National Audubon Society 112 years ago, kids and adults learned how to identify common birds, compile data, and become citizen scientists. A tally and awards ceremony followed where a representative of each team read the results. This year, teams spotted 13 species of wild birds at the zoo, including Common Raven, Bohemian Waxwing, Brown Creeper, and an American Three-toed Woodpecker!
In upcoming weeks many other Christmas Bird Counts will be occurring across Alaska. Your community may be hosting a count. Visit Alaska Audubon for community details.
December 12, 2011
Alaska Fish Photo Contest: 2011 Results and 2012 Details!
Fish can be very elusive. Likewise good photos of fish in their natural habitat can be hard to come by! This year, we asked Alaska residents and visitors to help us celebrate Alaska’s fish by sharing their best shots. We were particularly interested in photos that conveyed information about the natural seasonal behaviors and habitats of Alaska’s fish, or captured the unique nature of Alaska’s fisheries. We were absolutely blown away by the photos you took! In addition to our original four judges, we had over 20 Service employees (mostly fisheries biologists) rank the top five photos that best captured the above criteria. We hope these photos inspire others to get out and appreciate/photograph Alaska’s amazing fish! And the 2011 winner is…
December 2, 2011 Alaskan Trio Sentenced for Wildlife, Firearms Crimes
Between September 2010 and March 2011, three Alaskan residents illegally sold and transported to a non-Alaska-Native buyer approximately 230 pounds of walrus tusks valued at approximately $22,000 and two polar bear hides for $2,700. The three have been sentenced after pleading guilty to federal felony charges for conspiracy, illegal firearms possession, and Lacey Act violations. Penalties in this cooperative investigation, which was lead by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service special agents with assistance from special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Alaska State troopers, included prison terms for two of the defendants and probation for the third defendant.
November 15, 2011 Alaska's 2011 Youth in the Great Outdoors
This year, the Alaska Region of the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service employed 284 youth on refuges, rivers and conservation projects throughout the state of Alaska. The 2011 Youth in the Great Outdoors Report celebrates these amazing youth. The report follows some of their adventures from remote field camps throughout the state, to teaching science to children, and to habitat restoration in Anchorage city parks. To read more...
November 14, 2011
At the Alaska/Canadian Border
During the last week of September, three U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Inspectors collaborated with the Canadian Wildlife Service to detain and inspect vehicles coming in and out of Alaska at the Alcan Port of Entry near Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory. Their purpose was to enforce federal, state, foreign, and international wildlife laws and regulations; including the Endangered Species Act, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Lacey Act, Alaska State Hunting Regulations, and Canada’s Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. Read more...
November 3, 2011
Southwest Sea Otter and Short-tailed Albatross Recovery Articles Published
Articles about the recovery of two Alaskan species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are available in the Summer 2011 "Endangered Species Bulletin."
The southwest Alaska sea otter was listed as threatened in 2005 and the article titled "Evaluating Threats for the Southwest Alaskan Sea Otter" was written by Douglas Burn.
"Is it a Colony Yet?" was written by Judy Jacobs about the short-tailed albatross translocation project. This bird was listed as endangered under the ESA in 1973 outside the United States and in 2000 the listing was expanded to include inside the U.S. In addition, Judy published another article in the bulletin "What Does It Take to be a Successful Recovery Biologist?"
October 26, 2011
Annual List of Candidate Species for Endangered Species Act Released
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released its Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR), a yearly appraisal of the current status of plants and animals considered candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Service has enough information on their status and the threats they face to propose them as threatened or endangered, but developing a proposed listing rule is precluded by higher priority listing actions. “The candidate list offers the Service and our partners a unique opportunity to address the threats to these species through voluntary conservation efforts on public and private lands,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. The document is available at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/cnor.html.
In Alaska, the Fish and Wildlife Service manages three candidate species. The Pacific walrus was designated a candidate species in February 2011, and is on the CNOR for the first time. Two bird species, the Kittlitz's murrelet (a seabird) and the yellow-billed loon are also on the CNOR. This year, we changed the listing priority number for the Kittlitz's murrelet from a 2 to an 8 because we now consider the threats to this species to be low to moderate, rather than high. The section "Listing Priority Changes in Candidates" in the CNOR explains the rationale for our decision.
For more information on candidate species in Alaska, please contact Sonja Jahrsdoerfer at 907/786-3323 or Bruce Woods at 907/786-3695.
October 24, 2011
Connecting People with Nature: Let's Go Outside Website Has a New Look
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has launched a new web site, "Connecting People with Nature: Let’s Go Outside" aimed at engaging young kids in outdoor activities, and educating them about nature, helping to implement the Department of the Interior’s Youth in the Great Outdoors (hyperlinked to Youthgo.gov website) initiative. In addition, the Neighborhood Explorers online activity has been revamped to include a section on conservation careers.
A killer is stalking the waters of Southcentral Alaska! It is lurking in the shadows, ambushing wild salmon and trout. Many Southcentral lakes
and streams are already empty of everything but the killer - northern pike. Soon many of our sportfishing opportunities may be gone. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is partnering with the
Alaska Department of Fish & Game to address this issue. You can help report illegal introductions of invasive northern pike in Southcentral Alaska by calling the Alaska Department of Fish & Game invsive species hotline at 877-468-2748.
The Kenai River Sportfishing Association and Kenai River Professional Guide Association have partnered to offer a $5,000 reward leading to the conviction of someone introducing northern pike
into Kenai Peninsula. Learn More...
See footage of these invaders in Southcentral Alaska, the damage they've caused, and how you can help by watching a short video on our youtube channel.
October 6, 2011 Celebrating America's Wildlife Legacy
October 9-15, 2011 marks National Wildlife Refuge Week. Since 1903, when Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wlidlife refuge at Pelican Island in Florida, the National Willife Refuge System has become the world's premier habitat conservation system, encompassing 150 million acres in 553 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. And more than 80% of the acreage in the entire Refuge System
is in Alaska's 16 spectacular refuges.
Every year Refuge Week gives us an opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are to have America's wildlife legacy conserved within refuge lands, and how
important it is to get out and enjoy these treasures. As winter begins here in the north, we begin to put a wrap on summer activities enjoyed withinn our refuges -
camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, boating and more. As soon as temperatures are consistently below freezing these activities will be replaced by their
winter counterparts - sking, snowshoeing,, winter camping, ice fishing, snow machining, and more. The best way to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week in Alaska is to
get out onto refuge lands and enjoy them. In addition, during this week a number of special indoor events are happening around the state. Learn More...
September 30, 2011 Lots Purchased to Complete Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center Site in Homer
The purchase of five lots in Beluga Slough by a partnership of conservation groups headed by Sharon Baur of Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges was feted at a National Public Lands Day Celebration Friday night September 23rd at Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in Homer, Alaska. The purchase was funded by the Conservation Fund, Kachemak Bay Conservation Society and Moose Habitat, Inc. Eighty five visitors and invited guests enjoyed a photo show of entrants in the “Picture the Heart of Homer” contest, a reception with refreshments provided by Alaska Geographic, music by local musician Sunrise Kilcher. In addition, a “Walk in Beauty: Art along the Beluga Slough Trail” featured luminaries and art made by Fireweed Academy (a charter school) students. After walking the lighted trail visitors were heard describing it as 'magical'. Read More...
September 13, 2011 2011 Alaska Fish Photo Contest
Alaska abounds with some pretty amazing fisheries resources. Help us celebrate Alaska’s fish and their importance to people and ecosystems by sending in your photos – we want to see all species in their different life stages from around the state! Photos you submit before November 1 will be entered in the 2011 Alaska Fish Photo Contest. Stewart’s Photo Shop in Anchorage is donating a Kodak Easyshare Sport waterproof camera to the winner. Photos submitted after that date will be entered in our 2012 contest. Help us spread the word! Read More...
September 12, 2011 Alaska Refuges’ Aquatic Ecosystem Studies Benefit from Partnerships
One of the mandated purposes for each of Alaska's National Wildlife Refuges is to ensure water quality and quantity. Surface water contained in the Alaska Refuge System’s 77 million acres consists of an abundance of rivers, lakes, wetlands, snowfields, and glaciers. These aquatic ecosystems remain a barometer for the health of the larger landscape. Changes in the water quality and quantity can impact fisheries, wildlife habitat and human health. Read More...
August 26, 2011 Anchorage’s Chester Creek Celebration
It rained hard the morning of Saturday, August 20th, but the weather didn’t deter the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Anchorage Field Office from hosting its first “Chester Creek Celebration” event. Starting at the restored channel at the outlet of Westchester Lagoon and heading a mile or so east on the Chester Creek trail, visitors had an opportunity to stroll and learn about a variety of topics from local Fish & Wildlife Service biologists and non-government partners. Each of the six tented stations focused on a different topic – habitat restoration, migratory birds, invasive species, water quality and contaminants, endangered species, and resident fish – with live organisms at all but one: guess which? Partners that assisted with the event included Audubon Alaska, Anchorage Waterways Council, and Citizens against Noxious Weeds Invading the North. The kids enjoyed fun activities and the adults had opportunities to tap the experts for information. For those hardy adults and energetic kids in rain gear, the weather was irrelevant!
August 15, 2011 Service Seeks Public Comment on Future Management of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today opened public comment on a draft plan developed to ensure long-term conservation of fish, wildlife and plants, and to sustain outdoor recreational opportunities and environmental education and interpretation in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
August 23, 2011 2011 Fish Mural Adventure!
Youth from the Fairview neighborhood of Anchorage got to get their feet wet and hands dirty in more ways than one during the first annual Fish Mural Adventure. The Home Base After School Program, which provides local 4th-8th graders with “a safe, healthy, and nurturing home base," joined Fisheries Outreach Coordinator Katrina Mueller and summer Student Conservation Association interns Trish Barrere and Kristin Allgood for a two-part program: an overnight field trip (adventure) on the Kenai Peninsula followed by a fish mural painting event in Anchorage. By partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Connecting People with Nature” program, Home Base youth learned about fisheries conservation and got connected with local fisheries resources and professionals. Learn More...
August 10, 2011
The Murrelet “Grand Slam”: Three Unusual Species Observed in the Same Bay, Same Day
For birders--professional and recreational—it’s always exciting to spot a species outside of its range. In some cases, so little is known about a species that new sightings driven by taxonomic and genetic work can spur an increase in identification; and eventually an “expansion” of a species’ known range. Learn more...
August 4, 2011
Fire Season Mid-Summer Update
Alaska has had a quiet fire season so far this year, due to periodic rain and the lack of extended hot dry spells. As of August 1, 2011, 470 fires had burned 290,587 acres. That’s well below the same period last year, when 602 fires had burned 1,006,401 acres. Historically, about one million acres are burned by wildland fire in Alaska in an average year.
As of August 1, 26 fires had burned 37,078 acres on national wildlife refuge lands in Alaska. Read more...
July 11, 2011 Training Alaskans to Fight Alaska Wildfires
During her training at the Alaska Wildfire Academy, Joricha Thomas of Nikolai found herself challenged in ways she hadn’t expected. There were the 5 a.m. wake-up calls, the physical training, the hours in the classroom, and time spent away from her 2-year-old daughter. But Thomas, 20, also surprised herself by rising to the challenge.
“It was more than I expected, but I learned about not giving up. I wanted to set an example for my daughter,” said Thomas, who is from the Athabascan village of Nikolai in Alaska’s Interior. “I feel really proud of myself.”
For Cy Conrad, from the village of Tanana, the opportunity for a career fighting wildfires was worth the effort.
“I learned that the academy is a lot of hard work and it’s tough, but I also learned to be committed and it will pay off in the end,” said Conrad, 18. Read more...
July 27, 2011 Casting for Recovery
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Region’s Let’s Go Outside initiative encourages regional employees to “Give 8” to help people connect with nature. This program inspired Arctic Refuge employee Jennifer Reed to share one of her hobbies, while helping breast cancer survivors break through barriers to recovery. How did Jennifer “tie” together her interests with getting breast cancer survivors outside? She “Gave 8”and instructed fly fishing to Casting for Recovery retreat participants during the first-ever Fairbanks-based retreat, held July 17-19, 2011! By learning the rhythmic motion of fly casting in a natural setting where well-being can flourish, retreat participants receive an ideal physical therapy for the effects of breast cancer treatment and surgery. Read more...
June 30, 2011 Alaska: Warming Climate Presents Multiple Challenges for the Last Frontier
From loss of sea ice in the arctic, to changes in waterfowl nesting in the west, to record-setting forest pest outbreaks on the Kenai, the warming climate presents an array of challenges to fish, wildlife, plants, and people who inhabit America’s northernmost state.
June 22, 2011 2011 Alaska Weed Smackdown!
The first “Weed Smackdown” event was held in Fairbanks in 2010, in conjunction with Alaska Invasive Weed Awareness week, to create an opportunity for local residents and groups to have some outdoor fun while helping to contain the spread of invasive, non-native plants. This week (June 19-25, 2011) is Invasive Weed Awareness Week in Alaska (see Governor’s Proclamation at: http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell/press-room/full-proclamation.html?pr=5802), and once again the weed warriors will be out in force to smack down some of these troublesome invaders.
Invasive species are species that do not naturally occur in the area (are non-native) and whose introduction can cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. For example, a non-native plant might spread aggressively (invade) and completely overgrow surrounding native plants. Some invasive plants can harm native fish and wildlife, while others can harm humans. European bird cherry can poison moose; reed canarygrass and purple loosestrife can damage fish and bird habitats; Canada thistle and giant hogweed have spiny leaves or stems and can give people an itchy or even painful rash. Read more...
June 22, 2011
Forested Area Near Russian River Ferry is Closed
Deputy Refuge Manager, Stephen Miller, of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge announced today that a temporary closure of all public entry is in effect in the forested area on the north side of Kenai River near the Kenai-russian River Ferry. Access to fishing and fishing along the banks of the Kenai River remains open. The closure has been enacted due to heightened bear activity in the immediate area.
The closed area encompasses approximately 29 acres near the Russian River Ferry.
June 20, 2011 Federal Biologists, University Researchers, Local Fishermen Join in Sea Otter Research
A partnership among U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, University of Alaska researchers, local fishermen, charter boat operators, and community members recently culminated in a 2-week trip to capture, sample, and implant radios in 30 sea otters in southern Alaska, near the village of Kake. The Southern Southeast Alaska Sea Otter Project (http://seagrant.uaf.edu/research/projects/10/otter/ for more information) is an effort to conduct research on sea otter population growth in southern Southeast Alaska, and to provide information to a variety of audiences (including subsistence and commercial fishermen, wildlife and fisheries managers, and the general public) on the potential effects of a growing sea otter population on shellfish and other invertebrate species. As the numbers and range of sea otters in southeast Alaska have increased, so has concern among commercial and subsistence fishermen who harvest species that the animals prey upon. This is the first time such a research effort has been mounted in southern southeast Alaska. Read more…
June 14, 2011
Girl Scouts Learn About “Alaska Invaders"
On June 3-4, 2011 approximately 1,000 Girl Scouts from across the state assembled in Palmer at the Alaska State Fairgrounds for the “Alaska Girl Scout Encampment 2011.” The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with the National Park Service and U. S. Forest Service, taught 114 girls and over 25 adults (troop leaders) in 1-hour sessions about biodiversity, native and non-native species and what invasive species are. Concepts were illustrated with games that had the girls up and participating in physical activities. There were lots of pictures (of pike, reed canarygrass, tunicates) to show the girls, along with some actual specimens for them to put their hands on too (mostly weeds collected right there on-site, but also including samples of New Zealand mudsnails & zebra mussels). Learn more…
June 9, 2011
New USFWS Alaska Chief of Refuges Announced
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region announced today that Mr. Mitchell R. Ellis has been selected as the new Regional Refuge Chief for Alaska. Mr. Ellis most recently served as Refuge Manager for the Southwest Arizona National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Mitchell Ellis has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills over a 24-year career with the Fish and Wildlife Service, including field and Washington Office assignments, and has a long history of conservation accomplishments. Learn more…
June 6, 2011 Kids Help Restore Cottonwood Creek
Situated between Wasilla Creek to the east and Big Lake to the West, Cottonwood Creek flows through several lakes as it meanders through the city of Wasilla, Alaska and into the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet. While salmon, rainbow trout, and Dolly Varden char still make a decent living in the creek and its tributaries, localized habitat degradation and population declines have spurred local partners to help ensure fish populations remain strong in the fast-developing lower Matanuska-Susitna valley (so named for the two major rivers that flow through it). For these reasons, the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP) designated Cottonwood Creek as one of the nation’s 10 top “Waters to Watch” in 2011, and Wasilla Creek in 2010.
The cooperative spirit of a large scale effort to elevate fish habitat as a priority in the Mat-Su valley via the Mat-Su Salmon Habitat Partnership was evident this spring on a section of Cottonwood Creek just downstream of the Parks Highway. With funding from NFHAP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wasilla Soil and Water Conservation District, Teeland Middle School, city of Wasilla, Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Plant Materials Center, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game teamed up to re-create a functioning riparian zone along a section of Cottonwood Creek.
Facebook - check out more photos at our fisheries and habitat facebook page
June 3, 2011 Let’s Go Fishing
June 4-12 is National Fishing and Boating Week across the nation. Celebrate in the Anchorage area by taking your kids to the annual Kid's Fishing Day event Saturday, June 4, 10 am-2pm.
The event is held at the Moose Flats campground in Alaska’s Portage Valley located in Chugach National Forest. It is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service Glacier Ranger District, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Anchorage Municipality’s Watershed Management Division.
Kids Fishing Day is designed to introduce young people, 13 years old and under, to the pleasures of recreational fishing and the importance of our fisheries and watershed resources. Activities available to participating youngsters June 4th will include a casting contest, making fish prints on commemorative t-shirts, a bait and fishing rod table for those who show up without any personal gear, appearances by Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl, a free lunch including hot dogs and drinks, a fly-tying booth, a display on Alaska Native traditional fishing gear, a raffle for fishing-related prizes, and, of course, the main attraction; fishing tanks full of hungry rainbow trout! Learn more...
May 25, 2011 Alaska Tribes Share Almost $600,000 in Federal Wildlife Grants
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that three Alaska tribes will receive a total of almost $600,000 in tribal wildlife grants. Tribal wildlife grants assist federally recognized tribes in carrying out activities that benefit fish and wildlife and their habitats.
The Native Village of Newtok’s grant will allow the Nelson Island Consortium to develop a Conservation Plan designed to protect, enhance, and restore Nelson Island’s wildlife and habitat in perpetuity. Press Release
May 25, 2011 Flying High
“Oooooh, look how high mine is!”
“They sound really weird!”
“Could I try one of the big ones?”
“Gramma, this is the most fun we’ve had in a long time. Can we do it again next weekend?”
These are just a few of the comments we overheard on Tetlin NWR’s Connecting People With Nature Day, “Kites and Cranes.” And rightly so, as it was fun and cranes do sound weird.
On Sat. April 30, we congregated at the Tetlin NWR headquarters and caravanned to a local kite-flying nirvana - there’s always a breeze – on Mount Fairplay, up the Taylor Highway. En route we scouted for birds, which wasn’t all that successful as it was still a little early in the season. But once we arrived at the giant pullout near the highest part of the road, wings filled the air. Learn more....
May 20, 2011
Celebrating Japanese Recovery Champions Endangered Species Day 2011
Rob Suryan of Oregon State University, a long-standing partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in short-tailed albatross conservation efforts, presented Kiyoaki Ozaki and Tomohiro Deguchi of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology with a USFWS 2010 Recovery Champion Award. The presentation was made on Mukojima Island, site of short tailed albatross translocation efforts, the week of May 9th.
May 10, 2011 Practice Makes Perfect for Polar Bear/Industry Interaction
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region has a long history of working with industry to ensure that development projects in the Arctic proceed with the least possible risk to human safety and the lowest possible impacts to polar bears. Recently, events related to ExxonMobil’s Point Thomson Project, a drilling site some 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay, underscored the value of this ongoing cooperation. Learn more....
April 27, 2011 Information on Radiation and Alaska’s Wild Foods
The nuclear reactor accident in northeast Japan that was caused by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami has generated concerns about radiation exposure beyond Japan’s borders. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that, based on current information regarding the accident at the nuclear power plant in Japan, there’s no risk of exposure to concerning levels of radiation from consuming foods in the commercial U.S. food supply. Additionally, the risk of radiation from consuming subsistence foods in Alaska is expected to be extremely low due to the long distance between Japan and Alaska and the relatively few Alaska birds that might have been exposed to radiation from the incident.
In Alaska, an inter-agency group representing health, wildlife, and environmental scientists is working together to better understand the actual risk to subsistence food consumers and to update information if the situation changes. More information is available at the links below - More Information
April 22, 2011 Earth Day Birth Day: A Polar Bear Cub’s Strange Awakening
On March 18th 2011, a polar bear sow and her new cub emerged from their snow den on the Spy Island Drillsite, an artificial island constructed a few miles off the Beaufort Sea coast in northern Alaska. When the pregnant mother bear entered her den, probably in October or early November of last year, there had been little or no human activity for several weeks on the small, artificial island. When she and her cub emerged, however, they found themselves on the edge of an active construction site.
ENI Petroleum, the Italian firm that built the offshore island, completed an ice road over the frozen Beaufort Sea from nearby Oliktok Point in February. Equipment, material and workers were moved over the ice road and construction had begun when workers were surprised by the bears. Following a response plan previously approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ENI immediately ceased operations, evacuated personnel, established a one mile no-disturbance zone around the bears, and contacted the Service.
Giving the Land a Voice
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Wildlife Refuge Association invite youth, ages 15-24, to have a voice in the Refuge System’s vision process, Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation. Young people are asked to use the art medium of their choice – poster, podcast, or written media – to answer the question: What kind of future do you want for America’s wildlife and wildlands? Entries are due May 27, 2011.
April 2011 Summer Jobs for Students
Calling all high school and college students! School will end in a couple of months. Check out summer jobs and internships with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska. Hear from students that worked for us last year on this YouTube clip. There are positions of all kinds – both in the field and in the office. Email us about Student Internship or Youth Conservation Corps opportunities with questions or to express your interest.
March 7, 2011 USFWS Selects “No Action Alternative” and Issues “Finding of No Significant Impact,” on Unimak Island EA
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released today its decision related to an Environmental Assessment (EA) of management alternatives for the Unimak Island caribou herd (UCH). In December, 2010, the Service, in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), prepared an EA to analyze management options for responding to the declining Unimak Island caribou herd. The EA was released to the public at that time, initiating a public comment period that extended through January 31, 2011 and produced approximately 95,000 comments. In consideration of the public comments received, and following a thorough evaluation of pertinent laws, refuge regulations, and policy, the Service has decided that the No Action alternative is warranted at this time, and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact resulting from that decision.
Salazar Announces Draft Vision for Future of Refuge System WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced a draft vision plan to guide the growth and management of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The draft document, developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Wildlife Refuge Association, articulates a 10-year vision for the Refuge System.
The vision document, entitled Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation, offers nearly 100 draft recommendations to protect and improve the world’s premier system of public lands and water set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants for the continuing benefit of the American people. Starting today, the draft document will be available for public comment until Earth Day, April 22, 2011.
President Obama Announces Plan for Community-Based Conservation through the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama announced the Administration’s action plan, under the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, to achieve lasting conservation of the outdoor spaces that power our nation’s economy, shape our culture, and build our outdoor traditions. By making the Federal Government a better partner with American communities, this initiative seeks to reinvigorate our approach to conservation and reconnect Americans, especially young people, with the lands and waters that are used for farming and ranching, hunting and fishing, and for families to spend quality time together. Recognizing that many of these places and resources are disappearing and under intense pressure, the President established the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative last April to work with the American people in developing a conservation and recreation agenda that makes sense for the 21st century.
April 27, 2011 Celebrate Birds This May
Across the nation, on or around the second Saturday in May, we celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. For Alaskans, the arrival of migratory birds is a long awaited sign of spring. The woods once again are alive with sound and activity. Take a few hours to enjoy and learn about our migratory birds by attending a bird event in your community. Learn more...
March 22, 2011 USFWS Alaska Announces National Science Excellence Award Winners
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the recipients of the Service’s Science Leadership and Rachel Carson awards for 2010. The awards recognize Service employees for significant contributions to expanding knowledge in the scientific, conservation, and wildlife management fields. The Alaska Region’s Conservation Genetics Laboratory’s Mixed-Stock Analysis Rapid Response Team was selected over groups from across the country for the Rachel Carson award. Learn more...
March 21, 2011 USFWS Alaska Announces Two Recovery Champion Awards
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould announced today the recipients of the Service’s 2010 Recovery Champion awards. These awards recognize U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and their partners for contributions to the recovery of threatened and endangered species. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska employee, and a Japanese institution that has been a valuable partner to the Service in Alaska, were among those honored. Learn more...
February 10, 2011 Pacific Walrus to be Designated a Candidate for Endangered Species Protection
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has determined that the Pacific walrus warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but an official rulemaking to propose that protection is currently precluded by the need to address other higher priority species. As a result, the walrus will be added to the agency’s list of candidates for ESA protection and its future status will be reviewed annually.
The Service’s determination – also known as a 12-month finding – that sufficient scientific and commercial data exist to warrant protecting the Pacific walrus under the ESA was made after a comprehensive review of the best available scientific information concerning the walrus and the threats it faces. This review found that the walrus is primarily threatened by the loss of sea ice in its arctic habitat due to climate change.
February 10, 2011 Service Publishes Proposed Incidental Take Regulations for Walrus and Polar Bear
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Alaska Region will publish in the Federal Register tomorrow proposed Incidental Take Regulations (ITR) for the non-lethal, incidental take of small numbers of polar bears and Pacific walrus associated with ongoing oil and gas activities on the North Slope region of Alaska. Learn more...
February 9, 2011 Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Reclassification of Wood Bison from “Endangered” to “Threatened”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced it has prepared a status review of the wood bison (Bison bison athabascae), which is listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as endangered. After evaluating the best scientific and commercial data available, the Service has determined that reclassifying the species from endangered to threatened is warranted. Learn more...
January 3, 2011 Fish and Wildlife Service Will Not Conduct Status Review for Alaska Breeding Red Knot Subspecies
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced a petition seeking to protect the roselaari subspecies of red knot (Calidris canutus roselaari) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) does not present substantial information to indicate that protection may be warranted. Therefore, the Service will not initiate a status review in response to this petition.
The red knot (Calidris canutus) is a medium-sized (9 to 11 inches in length), Arctic-breeding shorebird. The breeding plumage of the red knot is distinctive: the face, breast, and upper belly are a rich rufous-red, and the lower belly and under tail-coverts are light-colored with dark flecks. Learn more...
December 2010 Final Report on Rat Island Eradication Effort Nontarget Mortality Released
An evaluation of the higher than expected nontarget mortality associated with the 2008 rat-eradication efforts on Rat Island is now available. Prepared by the Ornithological Council, the report maintains that "the success of the eradication effort and the likely conservation benefit of the rat eradication was slightly marred by the discovery in 2009 of approximately 422 bird carcasses on the island." The report includes straightforward recommendations for future rodent eradication projects that should reduce the risks to nontarget species. You can read the complete report Learn more...
December 20, 2010 Work and Play through the Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program
“Everybody Loves Whales” wasn’t the only movie-making news in Alaska recently. The “Animal Planet” television network filmed a special on wood bison at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, thanks to grants through Region 7’s Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration program (WSFR). The mission of the program is to provide grant funds to fish and wildlife agencies for projects designed to restore, conserve, manage, and enhance fish, birds, and mammals and their habitats for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations. Learn more...
December 17, 2010 USFWS Seeks Comments on Draft Assessment of Unimak Island Wolf and Caribou Issues
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (Department), has prepared an EA to analyze management options, including a No Action alternative, for responding to the declining Unimak Island caribou herd (UCH). Learn more...
December 15, 2010 An Outdoorsperson's Dream Job?
If the lure of wild places and wide spaces calls to you, and if you’d rather stare into the embers of a camp fire than a computer monitor, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region might just have the job(s) you’re looking for. Learn more...
December 10, 2010 Celebrate Alaska's Refuges this December
Fifty years ago on December 6, 1960, two historic refuges were established: Arctic and Izembek National Wildlife Refuges. In addition, on December 2,1980 the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter.
For Arctic Refuge's 50th celebration, a series of events in early December will feature a new film, new photo exhibit and book, and a new original stage production. These will be touring Fairbanks, Homer and Anchorage.
The 50th anniversary celebrations for Izembek Refuge featured an exhibit by photographers Tom Collopy and Mary Frisch. During October and November, 2010, the photo exhibit was displayed in Anchorage, Homer, and Juneau. Learn more...
November 24, 2010 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Final Designation of Polar Bear Critical Habitat
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today designated more than 187,000 square miles of barrier islands, on-shore denning areas, and offshore sea-ice as critical habitat for the threatened polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.
The designation identifies geographic areas containing features considered essential for the conservation of the bear that require special management or protection.
“This critical habitat designation enables us to work with federal partners to ensure their actions within its boundaries do not harm polar bear populations,” said Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “Nevertheless, the greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of its sea ice habitat caused by human-induced climate change. We will continue to work toward comprehensive strategies for the long-term survival of this iconic species.” Learn more...
November 16, 2010 25th Anniversary for Coastal Program
The U.S. Fish Wildlife Service’s Coastal Program is celebrating its 25th year of conserving coastal wetlands and habitats for fish and wildlife across the country. This remarkable program received the Restoration Partnership Award at the Restore America’s Estuaries Conference, which recognizes an individual or group who has demonstrated their dedication, commitment and passion for estuary habitat restoration. Learn more...
The Alaska Coastal Program, established in 2000, provides Federal funds and technical assistance for coastal conservation efforts throughout Southcentral Alaska, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska Gulf Coast, and Southeast Alaska, with particular focus on projects benefiting migratory birds, anadromous fish, marine mammals, and endangered species and their habitats. Learn more...
November 2010 Have a Say in Your Refuge System's Future
What should your National Wildlife Refuge System be like over the next 20 years? Now — and in the months ahead — is the perfect time to weigh in. The National Wildlife Refuge System, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is drafting a new vision for the 107-year-old network of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants. The vision will be the centerpiece of its "Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation" conference the week of July 10 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Conference teams, building on a 1998 document called "Fulfilling the Promise," are focusing their goals on conservation design, planning and delivery; science; relevance; and leadership. Drafts of team documents will be posted at http://www.americaswildlife.org, where the public can read them and comment on them. Learn more about Alaska's National Wildlife Refuges at http://alaska.fws.gov/nwr/nwr.htm
October 19, 2010 Celebrate Izembek Refuge's 50th Anniversary
A 50th anniversary celebration of Izembek Refuge’s establishment will be hosted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Friends of Alaska
National Wildlife Refuges on Friday, October 22 from 5:00-7:00 pm at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Wendy Williamson Auditorium.
The event opens the “Incredible Izembek” photo exhibit which may be viewed until November 2, 2010. Learn more..
October 12, 2010 Draft Recovery Plan for the Southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment of the Northern Sea Otter
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our draft recovery plan for the southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the northern sea otter (Enydra lutris kenyoni), listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Our recovery plan describes the status, current management, recovery objectives and criteria, and specific actions needed to enable us to delist the southwest Alaska DPS. We request review and comment on our plan from local, State, and Federal agencies and the public. We will also accept any new information on the species’ status throughout its range. Learn more..
October 6, 2010 USFWS Announces Final Polar Bear Deterrence Guidelines
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has announced final deterrence
guidelines that may be safely used to deter a polar bear without seriously injuring or causing the death of the animal. The deterrence guidelines, which take effect November 5, 2010, are voluntary and are intended to reduce occurrences of interactions between bears and humans in manners safe for both. They provide clear guidance for minimizing incidental encounters with polar bears, but will not change the legal status quo for any
activities in Alaska. News Release
October 1, 2010 Mapping Kenai's Soundscape
Why does Tim Mullet plan to collect moose poop for a two-year study of noise levels on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Because bagging moose pellets is safer and easier than taking blood samples from wild horned animals weighing half a ton and up.
Mullet, a biological technician at Kenai Refuge and a PhD candidate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will test the moose poop for levels of glucocorticoids — hormones that are indicators of animal stress. Chronic high levels of these hormones can lower wildlife densities and displace animals from preferred habitat. Mullet hopes to find out whether exposure to human-made noise causes such stress. Learn more..
August 30, 2010
Rat Island is officially rat-free Restoration for Aleutian seabirds brings new life to refuge island
Biologists who are restoring seabird habitat on a remote island in Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge confirmed today that Rat Island is now rat-free. The report comes after two years of careful field monitoring at Rat Island, where the invasive predator decimated native seabird populations by preying on eggs and chicks. Learn more..
September 22, 2010 North Slope Walrus Haul-out Update
There has been considerable interest in the recent appearance of large numbers of Pacific walrus hauled out on beaches in the vicinity of Point Lay, Alaska. The purpose of this release is to provide updated material on the situation and on the steps the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are taking to protect the walrus until they move on. News Release
August 26, 2010 An island’s rebirth: Life emerges after a catastrophic volcanic eruption
A secluded island in the Aleutian chain is revealing secrets of how land and marine ecosystems react to and recover from a catastrophic volcanic eruption that appeared at first glance to destroy all life on the island. Yet little by little – a wingless beetle here, a tuft of grass there, Kasatochi, an island in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge rarely studied by scientists before its Aug. 7, 2008, volcanic eruption, is showing signs of recovery Learn more
August 18, 2010 Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Joins in Swan Study
Each year, large groups of molting tundra swans stage near coastal regions of Kotzebue Sound. As part of an effort to monitor Alaska’s migratory birds for avian influenza, biologists from Migratory Bird Management, Selawik NWR, Koyukuk/Nowitna NWR, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) teamed up for the final year of a 5-year study to sample and mark tundra swans. Since 2006, Migratory Bird Management has spearheaded the project, working with collaborative crews to capture and sample more than 850 swans in this region. Learn more
August 2010 Highlighting Summer Employment
The US Fish & Wildlife Service hires students interested in obtaining future careers in Conservation under a few different programs. These programs include Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), Student Conservation Association (SCA), Student Temporary Experience Program (STEP), Student Career Experience Program (SCEP), Student Education Employment Program and internships. The FWS also contributed to a portion of the funding for the Youth Employment in Parks program in Anchorage. These employment options significantly benefit the FWS by constructing a new generation of trained workers and fresh ideas. A STEP student in External Affair was hired to produce short video clips illustrating these programs and the work of Alaska’s field stations. A series will be available for viewing as the stories are finished.
The goal of the Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) program is to positively engage a new generation of diverse youth leaders with the environment and the Anchorage community through meaningful training, employment, and outdoor recreation. Crews built a rain garden with funding from the Municipality of Anchorage Raingarden program and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
July 22, 2010 Fairbanks’ 1st Annual Weed Smackdown a Success
“Can you pull more weeds than the Fairbanks Rollergirls?” In response to that challenge, eighty-eight people hefted green bags and dug weeds on June 26th from 10:00am – 1:00pm at the Tanana Lakes Recreation Area in Fairbanks, Alaska. The event included an orientation and weed identification session, 1 ½ hours of weed pulling, followed by a weed weigh-in, lunch, and awards ceremony.
There is a growing problem with invasive weeds in Alaska. These plants are aggressive non-native invaders that have the ability to spread rapidly and out-compete native plants for growing space. Learn more..
June 30, 2010 BioBlitz Southeast Alaska
At noon on Saturday, June 26, the starting gun for BioBlitz Southeast Alaska went off, opening a 24-hour effort by scientists and the public to document every species in the Fish Creek watershed near Juneau. At the closing gun, at noon on Sunday, the 400 participants had documented 763 species, with more to be added as scientists finish up the identifications of plants and invertebrates that will take additional study Learn more..
June 10, 2010 Upload Your Nature Images to the New Flickr Group “Let’s Go Outside”
This summer, get out into nature and see some wildlife – in your backyard, at a local park or on a nearby national wildlife refuge. You'll create family memories to last a lifetime, and if you take your digital camera, you can capture these memories and share them through a new Flickr group called “Let’s Go Outside.” Upload images of yourself, your family and friends outside in nature; use Flickr’s Map function to identify where your photos were taken; blog about particular photos and your experiences in nature; and chat on the Flickr Discussion board with other group members about their favorite places to go. You can even upload images from your cell phone. Check it out at http://www.flickr.com/groups/1385215@N24/
For more information visit http://www.fws.gov/letsgooutside/
June 10, 2010 U.S.- Russia Polar Bear Commission Meets in Anchorage
The 2nd meeting of the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission was held from June 7-9 in Anchorage, Alaska. The group, which consists of representatives from the United States and Russia representing federal, state, and Native interests, first met in Moscow in September of 2009. This meeting follows on the heels of the first annual meeting of the Commission’s Scientific Working Group, held in Anchorage from March 1st through the 5th of this year. The Scientific Working Group was formed to assist the Commission in resolving questions pertaining to the protection and management of the Alaska-Chukotka Polar Bear Population. Learn more..(pdf)
June 7, 2010 Decision Reached in Hearing on Unimak Island Predator Control
At a hearing today, District Judge H. Russel Holland announced his decision relative to the State of Alaska’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have allowed the State to conduct aerial predator control on Unimak Island in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. In that decision the Judge concluded that a Preliminary Injunction could not be granted in this case because the State failed to make the requisite showing that the Fish and Wildlife Service had withheld or unreasonably delayed action. He also stated that there had not been a final agency action that would result from an analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. Learn more..(pdf)
June 2, 2010 Two Rivers School: Creating Green Spaces for Better Learning
Working with an innovative teacher and a group of enthusiastic students, USFWS Alaska is in the process of creating a “Learning Landscape” for the Two Rivers School’s kindergarten through 8th grade pupils. The project grew out of a history lesson that teacher Kim Kelly developed to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary last spring, and has bloomed into a cooperative effort among the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, and the Service. It involves the creation of a trail from Two Rivers School to an eight-acre parcel on which the original school was located 50 years ago (now called the "old school grounds"). From this main trail, a smaller pathway will lead to a new landing on a pond located on the current school campus. Learn more..
May 31, 2010 The Region 7 Regional Office Celebrates 2010 Bike to Work Day
It could have been much worse, but not much better. The weather in May can be unpredictable, but U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office employees were greeted with a glorious sunny morning to celebrate the national 2010 Bike to Work Day.
In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, Regional Director Geoff Haskett rode his bike to work and invited all Regional Office employees to do the same. All in all, 18 bikers chose to ride to work on May 21st. The Municipality of Anchorage set up several bike stations where riders were able to stop and grab a drink or a bite to eat, and received a t-shirt for their participation in the 2010 event. Tracy Fischbach of Refuges organized the Region 7 team, and 20 people signed up. The regular bike commuters like Assistant Regional Director Todd Logan and Amber O’Brien of Office of Subsistence Management convinced others to sign up and try it for a day. Others, like Judy Jacobs of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration chose to bike to work all week. Kevin Painter of Visitor Services rode his bike all the way from Eagle River, more than 20 miles! Learn more. (pdf)
May 20, 2010 Successful breeding of Steller’s eiders continues at the Alaska SeaLife Center
In July 2009, Steller’s eider ducklings again brightened the day for staff at the Alaska SeaLife Center when a total of 9 healthy ducklings hatched. This event marked the second time Steller’s eiders bred and hatched ducklings at the Center, as a result of efforts to develop captive breeding methods and protocols for this threatened species. Learn more..
May 2010 Anchorage 2nd Grader Wins National Art Contest
Carter Schroeder, a 2nd grader at Rilke Schule German School of Arts and Sciences in Anchorage, was recently awarded the Grand Prize in the national Endangered Species Day art contest. Carter's painting showed a polar bear and a beluga whale in their sea-ice habitats. Carter and his Dad, Mark Schroeder, enjoy learning about polar bears by reading books and articles, and hope to see polar bears in the wild some day.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Coalition, Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Ogden Museum of Southern Art/University of New Orleans sponsored this contest, which was intended to help kids learn about and promote the conservation of endangered species through art. The winners were chosen by a prestigious panel of artists, photographers, actors, scientists and conservationists including Jeff Corwin, host of Animal Planet’s Jeff Corwin Experience; and Jack Hanna, host of Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild. Artwork of the 40 semifinalists will be displayed at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, in a special exhibition from May 13 to July 4, 2010. Learn More (pdf).
May 12, 2010 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Announces more than $22,000 Grant for Neotropical Migratory Birds and Habitat Conservation
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced more than $4.9 million in grants for 37 projects that support Neotropical migratory bird conservation throughout the Western Hemisphere. Matched by more than $14.8 million in additional funds from partners, the projects will support habitat restoration, environmental education, population monitoring, and other priority activities within the ranges of neotropical birds in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and 27 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Learn more (pdf)
June 30, 2010 U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Draft Economic Analysis of Polar Bear Critical Habitat
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announces a draft economic analysis of the potential impacts of designating critical habitat for the threatened polar bear. The Service also announces it will reopen the public comment period on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Both measures will be subject to a 60-day comment period that will open upon publication in the Federal Register on May 5, 2010. Learn more...
April 23, 2010 Great Outdoor Careers for Youth
The U.S. Department of the Interior, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, manages America’s backyard, and it’s our job to make sure that backyard is available for all young people to enjoy. To this end the Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative will employ, educate, and engage young people from all backgrounds in exploring, connecting with and preserving America’s natural and cultural heritage. Through employment and educational opportunities offered by the Department, youth will have a key role in creating a new energy frontier, tackling climate change issues, empowering Native communities, building trails, enhancing wildlife habitat, and restoring our cultural and historic landmarks. Learn more...
April 19, 2010 Celebrate Earth Day by Volunteering this Summer
On Earth Day, April 22, 2010, the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges will celebrate by inviting the public to a short presentation in Anchorage about Alaska’s 16 National Wildlife Refuges and volunteer opportunities available. The event will be at the BP Energy Center, 900 East Benson Blvd., Anchorage, Alaska from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Free pizza, refreshments and prizes will be available to those attending. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more event information.
This summer, Friends will help refuges with over 40 projects including: celebrating Arctic Refuge’s 50th Anniversary, a native plant garden at Kenai Refuge, an invasive weed pull on the Dalton Highway, and habitat restoration at Tetlin Refuge. Friends provide most travel costs for our members to volunteer with projects. More
Conservation Planning Update for the Arctic Refuge Begins
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that the
Service is beginning an update of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s 22
year-old Comprehensive Conservation Plan that will establish goals and
objectives and include wilderness and wild and scenic river reviews. A
comprehensive conservation plan is required for each national wildlife
refuge, guides stewardship of the refuge and is normally updated every 15
February 22, 2010 Service Mourns Loss of Director Sam Hamilton
“Visionary” Leader a Career 30-year Service Employee
The conservation world lost one of its most dynamic leaders Saturday, as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Sam D. Hamilton died suddenly while skiing in Colorado following a Service regional leadership meeting which ended Friday. Hamilton, 54, was a career Fish and Wildlife Service employee whose vision and commitment to wildlife conservation was unmatched. He will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues in the Service and across the conservation community. The thoughts and prayers of Fish and Wildlife Service employees go out to Sam’s family.
December 23, 2009 New Eagle Permit Web Site
Two new permits are available through the Service that allow for the take of eagles and their nests under certain, specific conditions. Since November 2009, the Service has been accepting applications under CFR 22.26 and 22.27 that provide for the issuance of these permits under regulations developed for the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. While the bald eagle was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a permit was available to take bald eagles incidental to an otherwise lawful activity. Alaska was not included in these permit issuances because Bald Eagles were not listed here. However, since the delisting in 2007, there have been no regulations under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to allow disturbance and other incidental take of either species of eagle; the new regulations establish permits for activities or projects that result in such take.
The Region 7 Eagle Permit Implementation Team has developed a website that will help applicants, Service employees and the public understand the new permit process. You can view Alaska's Eagle Permit Program website. For additional information contact the Permit Office at 907-786-3685.
December 29, 2009 Final Stock Assessment Reports for Walrus and Polar Bear Available
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has revised marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs) for the two stocks of polar bear and the Pacific walrus in Alaska. The purpose of SARs is to identify marine mammal stocks most affected by interactions with commercial fisheries. These reports are periodically updated to reflect the most current information. Draft versions of these reports were published in the Federal Register on June 18th, and that publication was followed by a 90-day period during which the drafts were available for public review and comment.
Stock assessments use the best available scientific information to describe the geographic range, minimum population estimate, current population trend, annual human-caused mortality and serious injury, and commercial fisheries interactions for each marine mammal stock. There are six marine mammal stocks in Alaska that fall under the jurisdiction of the Fish and Wildlife Service; of these six, the Service previously updated the SARs for the three northern sea otter stocks in 2008. The SARs find that polar bear and walrus stocks have minimal commercial fisheries interaction.
March 24, 2010 Queen Charlotte Goshawk Listing in Canada Proposed
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today its proposal to list the British Columbia distinct population segment (DPS) of the Queen Charlotte goshawk (Accipiter gentilis laingi) as threatened, (except on the Queen Charlotte Islands, which the agency considers to be a significant portion of the DPS’s range, where we propose to list the goshawk as endangered), under the Endangered Species Act.
June 30, 2010 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Polar Bear Critical Habitat
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a proposal to designate critical habitat for the polar bear, and will open a 60-day public comment period on the measure. The critical habitat proposal identifies habitat in three separate areas or units: barrier island habitat, sea ice habitat and terrestrial denning habitat.
June 30, 2010 Service Designates Critical Habitat for Threatened Population of Sea Otters
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the designation of critical habitat for the southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment of the northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. In December 2008, we proposed designating approximately 5,900 square miles of nearshore, marine waters as critical habitat for this threatened population of sea otters. An economic analysis indicated that designation of critical habitat would not result in a large economic impact to residents of southwest Alaska. After consideration of the economic analysis, public comments submitted in writing and at one public hearing, the final designation is essentially unchanged from what we originally proposed.
October 1, 2009 Trampling Likely Cause of Icy Cape Walrus Deaths
Trampling by other walruses was the most likely cause of death of 131 walruses carcasses found on the shore near Icy Cape, Alaska, according to an investigative team. The carcasses, the majority of which were young animals, were discovered along the beach above the high-tide line on Sept. 14 by a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) survey crew in the area.
In response to the discovery, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put together a team comprised of representatives from USFWS, USGS, the Alaska SeaLife Center and the North Slope Borough to determine the extent and cause of the die-off. The National Marine Fisheries Service provided additional financial and technical support, with hunters from Barrow and Wainwright also assisting in the investigation. More...
September 15, 2010 Protection of Pacific Walrus Under the Endangered Species Act
May Be Warranted, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finds
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that a petition to protect the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) under the Endangered Species Act presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that adding the species to the federal list of threatened and endangered species may be warranted. This preliminary finding is based, in part, upon projected changes in sea ice habitats associated with climate change.
As a result, the Service is initiating a more detailed status review to determine if listing the species is warranted and opening a 60-day public comment period in order to give all interested parties an opportunity to provide information on the status of the Pacific walrus throughout its range. The 60-day public comment period will close November 9, 2009.
July 1, 2009 No Rats Found, Lab Results on Six Bird Tests Received
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received laboratory results on an initial group of bird carcasses collected on Rat Island in late May and Early April. Examination of the livers of two bald eagles, two glaucous winged gulls, one peregrine falcon, and one rock sandpiper all tested positive for the rodenticide brodifacoum. We are in the process of analyzing all of the viable bird remains and tissue samples collected, in order to more fully understand the cause of mortalities and more effectively plan future operations in the Aleutians. Results will be released when they are available. In addition, soil and water samples were collected, and will be analyzed to more fully understand the potential movement of the rodenticide into, and degradation from, the ecosystem. Learn more...