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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

Strengthening and Restoring Latinos’ Historic Connection to the Land

 LULAC Youth Council to the Red Butte Garden
Members of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management led the LULAC Youth Council on a tour of Red Butte Garden in July in Utah. Photo by BLM

The history of the United States, and the relationship of its people to the land, cannot be told without recognizing the influence and contributions of men and women of Hispanic descent. In the decades to come, the descendants of the Hispanics and Latinos who settled much of our nation will play an even greater role in shaping its future as citizens and leaders.

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That’s why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the historic contributions of Hispanics and Latinos to the United States – and by working to forge and strengthen the connection Americans of Hispanic and Latino descent have with their natural heritage.

This week, I signed a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the League of United Latin American Citizens, (LULAC), the nation’s oldest Latino advocacy group. Together, we will work to increase participation by Latino families and kids in fishing and other outdoor recreation, and engage Latinos in monarch butterfly conservation.


Greater Sage-Grouse Success Shows We’re Still Capable of Great Accomplishments

greater sage-grouse
A greater sage-grouse male struts at a lek (dancing or mating ground) to attract a mate. Photo by Jeannie Stafford/USFWS

Today, I had the privilege of standing with Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, to announce an epic and unprecedented conservation success. One that will shape the landscape of the West, and influence how we think about and approach wildlife conservation in North America, for generations to come. 

Over the past five years, the Fish and Wildlife Service and its state wildlife agency counterparts in 11 states came together with a broad coalition of public and private partners and worked tirelessly to address threats to the greater sage-grouse and the "Sagebrush Sea" where it makes its home. 

Together, we succeeded to such an extent that this emblem of the western landscape doesn’t require the protections of the Endangered Species Act.


Conservation in Mesoamerica: Connecting People and Wildlife In A Vital Region

Black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra), Lachuá Ecoregion, Guatemala. Credit: ORCONDECO
Black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra), Lachuá Ecoregion, Guatemala. Credit: ORCONDECO

John Muir, one of the founding fathers of conservation in America, understood how interdependent we are with the wildlife and habitat that surrounds us. As he said, “when one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

Nowhere is this more evident than in Mesoamerica, which encompasses the nations of Central America and the vitalland bridge that has linked the wildlife and plants of North and South America for millions of years.

Today, Mesoamerica’s natural landscapes still support incredible biodiversity, critical ecosystem services, and diverse local human populations. Many of the migratory birds we enjoy every summer in our backyards depend on winter habitat found only in Mesoamerica – including the wood thrush, ruby-throated hummingbird, Baltimore oriole, western tanager and indigo bunting.

But these landscapes are increasingly threatened by global conservation challenges like climate change – as well as by poverty, social unrest and political instability across the region.

That’s why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has joined with the Organization of American States to build and strengthen conservation partnerships through the MESOAMERICA 2020 partnership, which just celebrated its first anniversary.


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