Kentucky Ecological Services Field Station
Southeast Region
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Welcome to Kentucky Ecological Services Field Station







The Fish and Wildlife Service is closely monitoring the situation with COVID-19, and the health and safety of the public, our partners, and employees is our top priority. The guidance below will be revised and updated as needed to respond to changing conditions.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) Kentucky Ecological Services Field Office remains open; however, all staff are teleworking until further notice in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to support social distancing efforts. As a consequence, we have very limited office access, and may not receive hard copy mail or USPS, Fed Ex, or UPS deliveries in a timely manner. To help ensure that your questions and project review requests are processed and reviewed as quickly as circumstances allow, please send all correspondence to:


We ask that when submitting your questions or projects via email that you be as specific as possible in the subject line. This will help us assign your correspondence to the appropriate staff person(s) and will expedite our tracking of your correspondence.

We appreciate your patience as we all are coping with the COVID-19 situation. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at the address provided, or leave a voicemail message on our

main office number – (502) 695-0468. Voicemails will be reviewed daily.


The Frankfort Field Office provides assistance to Federal and State agencies, local governments, businesses, and the general public relative to conserving, protecting, and restoring habitat for migratory birds and federally threatened and endangered species. Our assistance is typically provided through six programs: pre-development consultation, federal permits and projects, endangered species, environmental
contaminants, partners for fish and wildlife, and education/outreach.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Consulation on Louisville Gas and Electric's Bullitt County Transmission Line

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has entered into formal consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for Louisville Gas and Electric’s Bullitt County Transmission Line.  During formal consultation, the Service and the Corps share information about the proposed project and the species or critical habitat likely to be affected. Formal consultation may last up to 90 days, after which the Service will prepare a biological opinion. The conclusion of the biological opinion will state whether the Federal agency has ensured that its action is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species and/or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. The Service has 45 days after completion of formal consultation to write the biological opinion.

See associated files


Service proposes to list two eastern freshwater mussels as threatened under the Endangered Species Act

Following rigorous scientific reviews of the best available science, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the longsolid and round hickorynut freshwater mussels, found in streams and rivers in the Eastern U.S., as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

With today’s action, the Service is also proposing critical habitat and special rules under section 4(d) of the ESA that tailor protections for each species, along with economic analyses on the costs associated with critical habitat designation. The Service found a third eastern freshwater mussel, the purple lilliput, does not warrant ESA protection. Read the News Release


Draft recovery plan for Short's bladderpod available

Short's bladderpod

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is releasing a draft recovery plan for the Shorts bladderpod, a bright yellow flowering plant in the mustard family.  The plant, which stands about two feet tall,  is only found in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.  It exists near rivers on steep and rocky wooded slopes. Read more...

Draft Recovery Plan

Recovery Implementation Strategy

Draft Species Status Assessment


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts five-year status reviews of 53 Southeastern species

As part of the process mandated by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct five-year status reviews of 53 endangered or threatened fish, wildlife, and plants. These species are found in the Southeastern United States and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Recovery plan available for endangered Cumberland darter

Photo Credit: Conservation Fisheries Inc.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing the availability of the recovery plan for the Cumberland darter, a fish listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The darter is found in the upper Cumberland River drainage, above Cumberland Falls, in southeastern Kentucky and north central Tennessee. Its recovery plan describes actions necessary for its recovery, establishes criteria for delisting it, and estimates the time and cost for implementing necessary recovery actions. Read more...



Endangered Species Act protections not needed for Southeastern fish and crayfish

A crayfish found in sinkholes and freshwater spring caves in the Florida panhandle and a small fish found in clear headwater streams of the Upper Barren River System in Kentucky and Tennessee, do not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Conducting scientifically rigorous Species Status Assessments for both, the Service found that the populations for each are stable and healthy, adequate regulatory mechanisms are in place for each, and neither face the threat of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.

Full Story


Service Finalizes Listing for Kentucky Arrow Darter

Lists Species as Threatened and Finalizes Critical Habitat

Kentucky Arrow Darter
Kentucky arrow darter, credit: J.R. Shute, Conservation Fisheries, Inc.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized its listing determination for the Kentucky arrow darter on October 4, 2016.

As a species that was determined likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future, the Service is listing this small, colorful fish as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and finalizing critical habitat. A special rule under Section 4(d) of the ESA will tailor exemptions for actions that have an overall benefit to the darter.

In making the decision to list the Kentucky arrow darter, the Service analyzed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the species. To protect and restore the Kentucky arrow darter, the Service has been actively partnering with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, other federal agencies, and non-profit organizations to implement conservation measures.

News Release
Species Profile
Questions and Answers - KY Arrow Darter Critical Habitat (.pdf)


Successful Recovery and Removal from Endangered Species Act of Native Kentucky Plant a Victory for Conservation Partners

State of Kentucky and U.S. Forest Service played crucial role in recovering the white-haired goldenrod, adding to growing list of ESA successes.

White-haired goldenrod

White-haired goldenrod - photo credit: John MacGregor

When Mike Oetker, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Deputy Regional Director, hiked with biologists from three agencies in the Daniel Boone National Forest, it only took a few minutes to understand why the white-haired goldenrod could be removed from the list of federally protected plants. Where the once-rare Kentucky plant had disappeared just a few years previous, it was now found blooming in abundance. Oetker’s observations have been validated scientifically by Service biologists, demonstrating recovery has been achieved.

The white-haired goldenrod is only found in and under sandstone rock shelters or sandstone cliffs with overhanging ledges in the Red River Gorge region of eastern Kentucky. When it was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1988, primary threats included loss of habitat due to recreational activities, a proposed reservoir project, and vegetation changes in surrounding forests. There are also no state laws protecting rare plants in Kentucky.

Following the ESA listing, the Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission and the Service went to work researching its needs, reducing or eliminating primary threats, protecting and maintaining habitat, and regularly monitoring populations.

News Release
Species Profile

Fish and Wildlife Service Completes Conservation Strategy for the Kentucky Arrow Darter

Kentucky Arrow Darter image

Photo Credit: Dr. Matthew R. Thomas, KY Dept. Fish & Wildlife Resources

The Kentucky Ecological Services Field Office has completed a range-wide conservation strategy for the Kentucky arrow darter (Etheostoma spilotum), a candidate for federal listing.  The strategy took about 15 months to complete and involved a number of partners - Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Kentucky Division of Water, Eastern Kentucky University, Daniel Boone National Forest, US Geological Survey, The Appalachian Wildlife Foundation, Inc., and Conservation Fisheries, Inc.  The Kentucky arrow darter is a small, brightly colored fish that occupies first- to third-order streams in the upper Kentucky River drainage of eastern Kentucky.  Over the past several decades, the species’ habitat and range have been degraded and limited by water pollution and physical habitat disturbance (siltation).  Because of these impacts, the Kentucky arrow darter has been extirpated from over 20 streams and now occurs in less than 50% of its historical range.

Read the Conservation Strategy


Learn About the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Kentucky

Grassland photo

Credit: Brent Harrel - USFWS

Approximately 94% of Kentucky is privately owned, and without conservation efforts on private lands, our trust resources would simply not recover.  Many private landowners in Kentucky want to restore and conserve habitats for fish and wildlife resources, but often lack the financial support and technical knowledge necessary to accomplish this task.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, along with its other conservation partners, helps to satisfy this need by conserving, protecting and restoring quality fish and wildlife habitat for federal trust species on private lands.

Read More

White-nose syndrome in Bats:


Indiana Bat in Kentucky

The Indiana bat is a small bat with dark gray to blackish, brown fur, found across much of the eastern United States.  It is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  It was first listed as a result of large numbers of Indiana bat deaths caused by human disturbance during hibernation. Read More










Last updated: April 12, 2021
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