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Stories from the Home Page

Hidden Lake bluecurls. Credit: Ayoola Folarin
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Recovery of Tiny Mountain Plant Prompts Delisting Proposal

January 4, 2017

For nearly 20 years, Hidden Lake bluecurls, a tiny plant found only near a montane vernal pool in Riverside County, California, has been protected as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Successful conservation efforts by the Service and partners have allowed its recovery, and today the Service proposed its removal from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. 

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Hidden Lake bluecurls. Credit: Ayoola Folarin
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Mountain yellow-legged frog. Credit: Rick Kuyper / USFWS Credit: Rick Kuyper / USFWS
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Final Policy Provides Standards to Offset Impacts of Development on America’s Most At-Risk Species

December 23, 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today finalized its Endangered Species Act (ESA) Compensatory Mitigation Policy (CMP). It is the first such policy issued by the Service. The policy that will effectively and sustainably offset the adverse impacts of development activities to the nation’s most at-risk species and their habitats. The policy follows a recent Presidential Memorandum directing the Department of the Interior to update its existing mitigation policy and craft a new policy that addresses mitigation of impacts on species that are listed, or may soon need to be listed under the ESA. The Service released a final revised Mitigation Policy in November 2016 and has now finalized the ESA CMP, which provides greater certainty and predictability to the regulated community while improving conservation outcomes for affected species.

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Mountain yellow-legged frog. Credit: Rick Kuyper / USFWS Credit: Rick Kuyper / USFWS
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Puerto Rico harlequin butterfly. Credit: USFWS
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Federal Agencies Strengthen Opportunities for Public Engagement in Voluntary Conservation Efforts Under ESA

December 23, 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries have finalized revisions to the Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs) policy under the Endangered Species Act. The policy revisions do not change landowner requirements for participation in the program, but rather clarify and simplify the process of developing and approving CCAAs, which provide incentives for the public to implement specific conservation measures for declining species before they are listed under the ESA. The Service is also concurrently publishing changes to its CCAA regulations to make them consistent with these final changes to the policy.

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Puerto Rico harlequin butterfly. Credit: USFWS
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You might see curious river otters like these at Missouri’s Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, about 90 miles north of Kansas City, and at many other refuges. Credit: Kenny Bahr
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A Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December 21, 2016

“You can’t get too much winter in the winter,” American poet Robert Frost wrote. That’s not true for everybody, we know, but if you enjoy clean, crisp air and the great outdoors, winter is a special time of year at national wildlife refuges in northern latitudes.

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You might see curious river otters like these at Missouri’s Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, about 90 miles north of Kansas City, and at many other refuges. Credit: Kenny Bahr
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The black-capped vireo is America's smallest vireo species and breeds only in Oklahoma, Texas and northernmost Mexico. Credit: Gil Eckrich
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American Songbird Sails to Recovery, Proposed for Delisting Under Endangered Species Act

December 15, 2016

Down to just 350 birds three decades ago, the black-capped vireo has made a remarkable recovery. Since being listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1987, Oklahoma and Texas, the U.S. Army, private landowners and conservation groups have all pitched in to restore and recover America's smallest vireo. As a result, this week the Service proposed delisting the black-capped vireo.

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The black-capped vireo is America's smallest vireo species and breeds only in Oklahoma, Texas and northernmost Mexico. Credit: Gil Eckrich
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Roseate spoonbills at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Credit: Michael Rosenbaum by permission.
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National Wildlife Refuges That Charge for Entrance Will Waive Their Fees on Dates in 2017!

December 15, 2016

Across America, national wildlife refuges offer unparalleled opportunities to experience the great outdoors amid scenic beauty. From Hawaii to Texas and Indiana to Delaware, 31 refuges that normally charge entrance fees will offer free admission on certain days in 2017. Refuges offer world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and wildlife observation to photography and environmental education. Every state and U.S. territory has at least one national wildlife refuge.

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Roseate spoonbills at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Credit: Michael Rosenbaum by permission.
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Bald eagle at Seedskadee NWR. Credit: Tom Koerner / USFWS
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Conservation of America’s Eagles Advances with Changes to Eagle Rule

December 14, 2016

Bald and golden eagles soaring over the American landscape will benefit from additional conservation and protection measures contained in revised regulations announced today by the Service. The revised rule will engage a variety of industries more fully in eagle conservation and help the Service better understand how human activities affect eagles. The rule includes revisions to the permitting system for unintentional prohibited impacts to eagles and will help protect local populations by providing much-needed information to support greater scientific understanding and decision-making. 

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Bald eagle at Seedskadee NWR. Credit: Tom Koerner / USFWS
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Wisdom, identified by her red, plastic auxiliary band on her right leg (Z333) incubates her egg. Credit: Kristina McOmber / Kupu Conservation Leadership Program & USFWS
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Wisdom Returns to Midway Atoll and… She’s Expecting

December 9, 2016

Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, is at least 66 years old and the world's oldest known breeding wild bird. This week she returned again to her home on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial and has already laid an egg.

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Wisdom, identified by her red, plastic auxiliary band on her right leg (Z333) incubates her egg. Credit: Kristina McOmber / Kupu Conservation Leadership Program & USFWS
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Inkpot Sinkhole offers a glimpse into the Roswell Artesian Aquifer under the wilderness in southeastern New Mexico. Credit: Jeff Howland / USFWS Credit: Jeff Howland / USFWS
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Wilderness! There’s Nothing Like It

December 7, 2016

Among conserved public lands and waters, wilderness is a category unto itself. It is land and water designated by Congress for special protection under the Wilderness Act of 1964. In the United States, there are 765 designated wilderness areas comprising about 109 million acres in 44 states and Puerto Rico. There are 75 wilderness areas in 26 states within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

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Inkpot Sinkhole offers a glimpse into the Roswell Artesian Aquifer under the wilderness in southeastern New Mexico. Credit: Jeff Howland / USFWS Credit: Jeff Howland / USFWS
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A unit of tallgrass prairie reconstructed from farmland shows its colors on Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. Credit: Pauline Drobney / USFWS
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The Right Seed in the Right Place at the Right Time

December 7, 2016

Healthy native plant communities create habitat for wildlife and support robust ecosystems where humans can thrive. The Service is an active participant in the National Seed Strategy, which aims to increase stocks of native seed.

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A unit of tallgrass prairie reconstructed from farmland shows its colors on Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. Credit: Pauline Drobney / USFWS
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A Puerto Rican parrot in flight. Credit: Jan Paul Zegarra / USFWS
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A New Beginning: Puerto Rican Parrots Reintroduced into Maricao Commonwealth Forest

December 6, 2016

Maricao Commonwealth Forest in the west-central mountain region of Puerto Rico welcomed home a former resident last week. The Puerto Rican parrot, the only native parrot left in the United States, was once abundant, but deforestation, predation, diseases and poaching caused the population to crash A captive-breeding program and other recovery efforts have helped increase the population to more than 500 birds, thanks to work of all the members of the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Team made up of the Fish and Wildlife Service, Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service and volunteer organizations.

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A Puerto Rican parrot in flight. Credit: Jan Paul Zegarra / USFWS
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Vector, a wildlife scent detecting dog, with his trainer, Lauralea Oliver, during a break in the search for the elusive Morro Bay kangaroo rat in San Luis Obispos County. Credit: Chris Kofron / USFWS
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To Find Elusive Kangaroo Rat, Biologists Go to the Dogs

December 5, 2016

Is California’s Morro Bay kangaroo rat extinct? It hasn’t been seen in 30 years, but the Service’s Dr. Chris Kofron and Dr. Francis Villablanca of California Polytechnic State University believe it might still exist in few isolated colonies. To try to find the kangaroo rat, “we combed all of California for a wildlife sniffer dog to lead the field search," Kofron says, and they found Vector.

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Vector, a wildlife scent detecting dog, with his trainer, Lauralea Oliver, during a break in the search for the elusive Morro Bay kangaroo rat in San Luis Obispos County. Credit: Chris Kofron / USFWS
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Hyacinth macaw Credit: Worapol Sittiphaet/Creative Commons
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Hyacinth Macaw Proposed for Protection Under Endangered Species Act

November 28, 2016

At one time, hyacinth macaws were widely distributed, occupying large areas of Central Brazil, and smaller parts of Bolivia and Paraguay. Today, the species is limited to three Brazilian states. To combat its decline in the face of habitat loss, reduced growth of new forest, hunting, predation, disease, competition and climate change, the Service has proposed protecting the bird as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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Hyacinth macaw Credit: Worapol Sittiphaet/Creative Commons
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Ice fishing at Hillberg Lake in Alaska. Credit: USFWS
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Ice Fishing: One of the ‘Coolest’ Sports

November 28, 2016

You don’t have to wait until spring to talk about your fishing adventures. Many national wildlife refuges have just what you’re after: Great fish habitat – plus natural beauty and a chance to see other wildlife. Just bundle up.

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Ice fishing at Hillberg Lake in Alaska. Credit: USFWS
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Rio Grande wild turkeys, a Merriam's subspecies, strut and feed in Wyoming. Credit: Courtesy of the National Turkey Federation
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Wild Facts About Wild Turkeys

November 23, 2016

Turkeys may be even wilder than you thought. Amuse your holiday guests with some offbeat turkey trivia presented by the National Wildlife Refuge System. Then, when you're ready to walk off your feast, point your feet toward some national wildlife refuges where you might see the native game birds in the wild. We tell you where to look for the best turkey hangout spots.

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Rio Grande wild turkeys, a Merriam's subspecies, strut and feed in Wyoming. Credit: Courtesy of the National Turkey Federation
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