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Stories from the Home Page

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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Coastal wetland. Credit: Lamar Gore / USFWS
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Service Issues Final Policy on Mitigating Impacts of Development to Further Conservation of Nation’s Wildlife and their Habitats

November 18, 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a final revised Mitigation Policy that will guide its review of potential impacts of land and water development projects on America’s wildlife and their habitats. Through this policy, the Service will help others mitigate (avoid, minimize and compensate) for a project’s impacts to species and their habitats. This update of the Service’s longstanding Mitigation Policy, which has guided agency recommendations since 1981, will provide a broad and flexible framework to facilitate conservation that addresses the potential negative effects of development, while allowing economic activity to continue.

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Coastal wetland. Credit: Lamar Gore / USFWS
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One of the skills learned at the retreat was rappelling. Credit: Matt Spinks, Used with Permission
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Cancer Survivors Find Refuge in Nature

November 18, 2016

Battling cancer is no easy feat.  The disease is tenacious and can wreak havoc not only on the body, but the mind and spirit as well. That’s where nature – and America’s National Wildlife Refuge System – can help. Recently, six women at different stages of their cancer journeys  renewed their courage, their confidence and their spirit at  Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge at the first Resilience Nature Retreat for Cancer Survivors.

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One of the skills learned at the retreat was rappelling. Credit: Matt Spinks, Used with Permission
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Confiscated coral necklace. Credit: Levi Novey / USFWS
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Partnership with JetBlue Creates On-board Video to Help Travelers "Buy Informed"

November 17, 2016

The Service, JetBlue and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance are educating travelers about how to prevent wildlife trafficking when traveling to the Caribbean. Thanks to this partnership, JetBlue is now airing a short film on all flights informing customers of the role they play in protecting Caribbean wildlife and preserving the region's beauty. The video, featuring local Caribbean conservation heroes, will arm travelers with the right questions to ask when purchasing wildlife and plant-related products.

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Confiscated coral necklace. Credit: Levi Novey / USFWS
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Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, on the Mexican border south of San Diego, is one of 180 coastal refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Credit: Ralph Lee Hopkins with aerial support by LightHawk
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Going Coastal

November 16, 2016

Healthy coastal habitat is vital breeding, nesting, feeding and resting territory for fish, wildlife and migrating birds. People also derive substantial benefits from healthy coastal habitat. It improves storm resiliency, flood control, water quality, insect control, erosion control, carbon sequestration of greenhouse gases and access to recreation. This week, the Refuge System presents a photo essay that highlights national wildlife refuges near coastal habitat restored by the Service and partners.

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Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, on the Mexican border south of San Diego, is one of 180 coastal refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Credit: Ralph Lee Hopkins with aerial support by LightHawk
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The monarch butterfly is an ambassador to broaden support for conservation actions across North America. Credit: Jim Hudgins / USFWS
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Monarch Conservation Can Mean Recovery for Wide Variety of Species

November 15, 2016

Many pollinators lack the color, charm and charisma that has made the monarch butterfly so popular with humans – you’re unlikely to find any pollen wasp festivals. This is why the Service is using the butterfly’s star-power to help those often-forgotten species. Monarch conservation can provide potential solutions for the recovery of many species, even non-pollinators.

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The monarch butterfly is an ambassador to broaden support for conservation actions across North America. Credit: Jim Hudgins / USFWS
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