Endangered Species Program
Conserving the Nature of America

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Helping the Endangered Interior Least Tern
Produced by: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CORPSCONNECTION)
Partners: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help build and maintain habitat for the federally endangered interior least tern.

The interior least tern is the smallest member of the tern family and averages just 8-9 inches. They are a migratory bird nesting primarily in isolated areas along the Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Red and Rio Grande river systems from May to August.

Dams, reservoirs and other changes to river systems have eliminated most historic least tern habitat. In Oklahoma, hydropower, flood control and navigation releases from Keystone, Texoma, Kaw and Eufaula lakes have caused impacts to least tern habitats. As a result, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies continue to take action to lessen the impacts to the tern population.

Mary Cochran reports from Tulsa.

Last updated: September 13, 2011