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Stories from the Home Page

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in Washington is a gateway to nature south of Seattle. Credit: Ian Shive/USFWS
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Earth Day Turns 50

April 17, 2020

As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – on Wednesday, April 22 – the National Wildlife Refuge System offers ways to take care of mother Earth and to help ourselves and the planet thrive.

Every Day is Earth Day at National Wildlife Refuges »»

Learn More About Earth Day »»

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in Washington is a gateway to nature south of Seattle. Credit: Ian Shive/USFWS
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Video Screenshot: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dir. Aurelia Skipwith Hunt/Fish Rule. Cllck image to view. Credit: USFWS
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Hunting and Fishing Provide Conservation Opportunities

April 14, 2020

With our latest proposal to expand hunting and fishing opportunities across 2.3 million acres, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to ensure a conservation legacy for years to come. America's sportsmen and women, among the first conservationists, generated nearly $1 billion in excise taxes last year, supporting critical state conservation programs.

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Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges »»

Fishing on National Wildlife Refuges »»

Video Screenshot: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dir. Aurelia Skipwith Hunt/Fish Rule. Cllck image to view. Credit: USFWS
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Urban American Outdoors’ Wayne Hubbard and Roderick May, the hatchery manager at Neosho National Fish Hatchery, with participants in a kids fishing derby. Credit: Urban American Outdoors. This photo was taken last summer, before social distancing became important.
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Service Partners with Urban American Outdoors to Better Reach Youth

March 30, 2020

As the country’s diversity grows, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is determined to make sure these new constituencies find a welcoming spot in the conservation family. We have worked with Urban American Outdoors for years to help diverse youth in our nation’s cities foster a connection to nature. We are now proud to make it official.

Blog »»

Urban American Outdoors’ Wayne Hubbard and Roderick May, the hatchery manager at Neosho National Fish Hatchery, with participants in a kids fishing derby. Credit: Urban American Outdoors. This photo was taken last summer, before social distancing became important.
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Fishing at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS
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Service Proposes Historic Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities

March 30, 2020

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced today a historic proposal for new and expanded hunting and fishing opportunities across more than 2.3 million acres at 97 national wildlife refuges and 9 national fish hatcheries. This proposed rule is the single largest expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities by the Service in history. The Service will seek comments from the public on the proposed rule for 60 days, beginning with publication in the Federal Register on April 9, 2020.

News Release »»

Comment Now »»

Fishing at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS
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Fishing equipment purchases help pay for state conservation programs. Credit: Take Me Fishing
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Nearly $1 Billion from Sportsmen and Sportswomen Benefits State Conservation Programs

March 19, 2020

America’s sportsmen and sportswomen generated nearly $1 billion in excise taxes last year that support state conservation programs. These funds, generated through excise taxes on hunting, shooting and fishing equipment and boat fuel, have been distributed to all 50 states and U.S. territories by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Throughout the history of this program, the Service has distributed more than $22.9 billion in apportionments for state conservation and recreation projects.

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Fishing equipment purchases help pay for state conservation programs. Credit: Take Me Fishing
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Nearly 1 million snow geese are currently using the wetland habitat at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri. Credit: N. Horne/USFWS
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Service Temporarily Suspends Entrance Fees at National Wildlife Refuges

March 19, 2020

At the direction of Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will suspend the collection of all entrance fees at national wildlife refuges until further notice. Almost 500 refuges are open to the public. Outdoor spaces remain open to the public at most refuges where it is possible to adhere to public health guidance. Many refuge facilities such as visitor centers, however, are closed. Please check your local refuge’s web page before you visit.

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Find a Refuge Near You »»

Service Response to the Coronavirus »»

Nearly 1 million snow geese are currently using the wetland habitat at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri. Credit: N. Horne/USFWS
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A biologist holds two Amargosa voles from the captive breeding colony housed at UC Davis. Credit: Rebecca Fabbri/USFWS
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Private Landowner's Vision Saved a Desert Fish; Up Next Voles

March 12, 2020

Almost 40 years ago, a visitor to Shoshone, California, discovered a population of the supposedly extinct Shoshone pupfish. This spring, the town's owner, with the help of the Service and the state's Wildlife Investigations Lab, plans to introduce a group of wild endangered Amargosa voles onto her property with the hope of establishing a new population.

From 'Extinct' to 'Prolific' »»

A biologist holds two Amargosa voles from the captive breeding colony housed at UC Davis. Credit: Rebecca Fabbri/USFWS
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Wetlands Credit: Kayt Johnson/USFWS
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Service Establishes Procedures to Provide Landowners Clarity on Wetland Easements

March 9, 2020

As part of its continuing effort to be a good neighbor, provide transparency to landowners and reduce regulatory burdens, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued internal guidance encouraging Service personnel and landowners to work together to ensure wetland easements are protected from drainage without needlessly restricting landowner activities on the remainder of their properties. In addition, the Service is providing landowners opportunities for an administrative appeals process to resolve questions about compliance and help avoid unnecessary legal actions.

News Release »»

Wetlands Credit: Kayt Johnson/USFWS
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When in flight, some of the Puerto Rican parrots show their beautiful blue primary feathers. Credit: Jan Paul Zegarra/USFWS
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Puerto Rican Parrots Survive Their First Month in the Wild

March 2, 2020

About a month ago, biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released two groups of Puerto Rican parrots into a national forest in Puerto Rico – the first birds to fly free in the forest since two hurricanes devastated the region more than two years ago. Of the 30 parrots released, all have survived their first month in the wild. That’s about twice the survival rate that biologists anticipated.

'The Birds' Survival Rate is Fantastic News' »»

When in flight, some of the Puerto Rican parrots show their beautiful blue primary feathers. Credit: Jan Paul Zegarra/USFWS
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A bison and her calf graze in spring at Rocky Mountain Arsenal Refuge. Credit: Mike Borgreen/USFWS
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Spring Marvels

March 2, 2020

As the air warms and the ground thaws, look for many rites of spring on national wildlife refuges. Wood frogs make a cheerful din. Sea turtles nest and bison calve. And migratory birds fly back from southern wintering areas.

What To See »»

A bison and her calf graze in spring at Rocky Mountain Arsenal Refuge. Credit: Mike Borgreen/USFWS
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An ornate box turtle in the wild. A New Jersey man was found guilty of unlawfully collecting and selling two species of box turtle, including the ornate, or western, box turtle. Credit: USFWS
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Concerned Citizen, Partnerships Help Service Dismantle International Turtle Smuggling Operation

February 25, 2020

After a hotel housekeeper tipped off authorities when she found hundreds of box turtles in a guest’s room, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agents and partners arrested an Oklahoma man and charged him with offenses under the Lacey Act. A federal judge has now sentenced the man to two years of probation and $350,000 in restitution and fines.

News Release »»

An ornate box turtle in the wild. A New Jersey man was found guilty of unlawfully collecting and selling two species of box turtle, including the ornate, or western, box turtle. Credit: USFWS
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A rare hairy rattleweed plant. Credit: Daniel Chapman/USFWS
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Learning to Love a Hairy Rattleweed

February 21, 2020

It sounds like the name of a punk rocker. It lurks under power lines, along roadsides and between rows of commercial pine trees. It's covered in tiny, cobwebby hairs. It's got a shape only a botanist could love. Pity the endangered hairy rattleweed, one of the nation's rarest plants. But a consortium of government and nonprofit agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced recently that a 1,666-acre tract of timber company pinelands in rural Wayne and Brantley counties had been bought and preserved. More than 3,000 rattleweeds survive on a former Rayonier pine plantation alongside longleaf pines, saw palmettos and gallberry bushes.

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A rare hairy rattleweed plant. Credit: Daniel Chapman/USFWS
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Misty Marsh. Credit: Lamar Gore/USFWS
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Why I Took These Shots

February 13, 2020

National wildlife refuges are great places for nature photography – for visitors and employees. Manager Lamar Gore makes a point of taking photos at Pennsylvania’s John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. Of this photo, he says: “Lighting makes or breaks a photo. In this scene, the sun is casting perfect beams and shadows in the light fog and on the waterfowl. I'm always looking for the perfect lighting conditions when my camera is in hand.” See more of his favorite photos and why he took them in our story.

Read the Full Story »»

Misty Marsh. Credit: Lamar Gore/USFWS
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Family fishing event. Credit: Larry Jernigan/USFWS
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Service Seeks Public Input to Increase Access to Refuge System Lands

February 10, 2020

The Service is seeking the public's assistance to develop a list of its managed lands that would benefit from new or increased recreational access routes. The John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, signed into law March 12, 2019, directs federal land management agencies to develop a priority list of lands that have no or significantly restricted public access that could be improved. The public can identify national wildlife refuges, fish hatcheries and other lands managed by the Service that meet the complete criteria.

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Family fishing event. Credit: Larry Jernigan/USFWS
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Access to recreational opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges is a focus of the FY 2021 Budget proposal. Credit: Robert Pos/USFWS
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President Requests $1.4 Billion for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in FY 2021

February 10, 2020

A $1.4 billion FY 2021 Budget request "will help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continue to strengthen our commitment to better serving the American people by expanding access to our Refuge lands for hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts, focusing on recovering the nation's most imperiled species, especially working with private landowners, continuing to work collaboratively with states and tribes to meet our trust obligations," says Service Director Aurelia Skipwith.

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Access to recreational opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges is a focus of the FY 2021 Budget proposal. Credit: Robert Pos/USFWS
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