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Stories from the Home Page

Overwintering monarchs. Credit: Pablo Leautaud / Creative Commons
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New Monarch Data Encouraging; Public Conservation Efforts Still Needed

February 26, 2016

Good news from our partners in Mexico today: The area occupied by monarch butterflies wintering in Mexican forests totaled approximately 10 acres, three times more than last season’s 2.8 acres, an increase of 255 percent since December 2014. The Service is the leading U.S. organization working closely with Canada, Mexico and many state and local organizations to create habitat, engage the public and leverage resources to conserve monarchs. Although population numbers are up, they are still far below historic levels, so citizen efforts remain crucial to make a difference for this iconic species.

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Overwintering monarchs. Credit: Pablo Leautaud / Creative Commons
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A white ibis at sunrise at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Credit: courtesy of "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge
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Happy Birthday, National Wildlife Refuge System! 113 Years of Conserving Nature, Serving Communities

February 26, 2016

The National Wildlife Refuge System, the world’s premier network of public lands devoted to wildlife conservation turns 113 on March 14. “Refuges are intrinsic parts of the communities that surround them, contributing to the local economies, serving as recreational epicenters for residents and visitors, and keeping local ecosystems healthy and resilient. What better way to celebrate these national treasures on this anniversary than by visiting your nearest refuge?” said Service Director Dan Ashe.

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A white ibis at sunrise at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Credit: courtesy of "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge
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Malheur National Wildlife Refuge provides important breeding grounds for greater sandhill cranes and other birds. Credit: Roger Baker / USFWS
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FBI Ends Evidence Collection at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

February 25, 2016

Following the end of the illegal, armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on February 11, the FBI has now finished its work gathering evidence and turned control of the facility back to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There is more to be done before we can once again open the doors to the public, and the Service will work with the U.S. Attorney's Office to determine when we can welcome the American people back to their refuge.

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Malheur National Wildlife Refuge provides important breeding grounds for greater sandhill cranes and other birds. Credit: Roger Baker / USFWS
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Ten Thousands Islands National Wildlife Refuge Beach, Collier County, Florida Credit: Mark Danaher / USFWS
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Service Announces Changes to Coastal Barrier Resource System Maps in Collier County, Florida

February 22, 2016

:Residents in Collier County, Florida may be interested in the Service’s revisions to five units of the Coastal Barrier Resources System. The new maps correct errors affecting property owners in Collier County and add two new units to the System. The Coastal Barrier Resources System helps save taxpayer dollars and reduces the intensity of development within hazard-prone and ecologically sensitive coastal areas.

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Ten Thousands Islands National Wildlife Refuge Beach, Collier County, Florida Credit: Mark Danaher / USFWS
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Melissa Guevara, bottom left, with the Green Team and refuge staff at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS
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In a City’s Tough Streets, a Charismatic Native Sells Kids on Nature

February 19, 2016

Using nature to expand young people’s horizons is a challenge when the kids live in an inner city more than an hour away. But some national wildlife refuges are finding a way. This past summer, 22-year-old Melissa Guevara, the first youth “ambassador” from Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge wooed kids off their smartphones with tales of pollinators, native plants and conservation careers that she delivered from a booth at a local farmers market.

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Melissa Guevara, bottom left, with the Green Team and refuge staff at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS
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Great horned owlet at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. Credit: Courtesy of Karen Dever, USFWS volunteer
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Explore a National Wildlife Refuge on President’s Day Weekend!

February 12, 2016

In honor of President’s Day, national wildlife refuges will waive admission fees all weekend. America’s refuges offer unparalleled opportunities to experience the great outdoors and see a rich diversity of wildlife in beautiful, natural settings. There’s at least one refuge in every state…and one within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas.

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10 Great Places to Go for Free »»

Great horned owlet at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. Credit: Courtesy of Karen Dever, USFWS volunteer
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Channel Island fox surrounded by vegetation. Credit: National Park Service
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In Historic Endangered Species Act Success, Service Proposes Delisting Three Fox Subspecies on California’s Northern Channel Islands

February 12, 2016

Representing the fastest-ever recovery of a mammal in the history of the Endangered Species Act in the U.S., the Service has proposed delisting three subspecies of fox native to the California Channel Islands. The recovery of foxes on San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands is not only an unprecedented ESA success, but underscores the critical role of Service partnerships in recovering species. The Service also proposed downlisting the fox population on Santa Catalina Island from Endangered to Threatened.

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Channel Island fox surrounded by vegetation. Credit: National Park Service
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Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Megan Nagel / USFWS
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Malheur Refuge Occupation Ends Peacefully

February 11, 2016

As the last four occupiers turn themselves in to police, Service Director Dan Ashe expresses his relief and his gratitude to Service staff, particularly those from the refuge and surrounding area, for their exemplary conduct during this difficult and stressful time. “I share your relief and joy that the occupation is over. It will take some time to repair the damage – both physical and psychological – that this occupation has left in its wake. But we will repair it! And like all adversity, squarely faced, along with our friends, neighbors and partners, we will emerge stronger than ever,” he says.

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Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Megan Nagel / USFWS
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Monarch on New England Aster Sand Lake WMD. Credit: USFWS
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President FY 2017 Budget Request Highlights National Conservation Priorities, Service’s Role in Preserving America’s Wildlife Heritage

February 9, 2016

President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of $1.6 billion underscores the Administration’s commitment to building partnerships, strengthening management and using science to conserve wildlife and ecosystems. It emphasizes improving the resilience of communities and wild landscapes, enabling them to better adapt to a rapidly changing environment, and uses smart investments in conservation and landscape-level planning to improve the Service’s ability to facilitate economic growth, while avoiding and mitigating the impacts on wildlife and habitat.

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Monarch on New England Aster Sand Lake WMD. Credit: USFWS
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Karner blue butterfly. Credit: Joel Trick / USFWS
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Federal Agencies Finalize Revised Rules to Improve Implementation of the Endangered Species Act

February 5, 2016

Building on the success of the Obama Administration in improving regulations and in implementing the Endangered Species Act in new and innovative ways, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service today finalized a policy and two rules that will provide a clearer, more consistent and predictable process for designating critical habitat.

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Karner blue butterfly. Credit: Joel Trick / USFWS
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About 94 percent of Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge has been conserved with LWCF dollars. Credit: USFWS
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President Obama Proposes Full Funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund

February 4, 2016

President Obama is proposing full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget and is pursuing permanent authorization in annual mandatory funding for the fund’s programs beginning in FY2018. The LWCF has helped to protect working forests and ranches, preserve our public lands -- parks, refuges, forests, rivers, lakes and wildlife habitats -- and provide access to outdoor recreation across the nation for use and enjoyment by all Americans.

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About 94 percent of Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge has been conserved with LWCF dollars. Credit: USFWS
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Kentucky arrow darter by David Starovoytov, grand prize winner of the 2015 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Credit: David Starovoytov
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Service Seeks Entries for 2016 Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

February 3, 2016

Kids across the nation are encouraged to grab pens, pencils, paints and pastels to create entries for the 2016 Endangered Species Youth Art Contest. The competition, an integral part of the 11th annual national Endangered Species Day celebration, provides school children in kindergarten through 12th grade an opportunity to learn about threatened and endangered wildlife while expressing their support for conservation efforts through creative artwork.

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Kentucky arrow darter by David Starovoytov, grand prize winner of the 2015 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Credit: David Starovoytov
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The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is awarded $1 million to acquire and protect the 1,114-acre Great Bay Estuary-Harvey Forest and Wetlands. Credit: Courtesy of NHDES
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Service Announces Over $20 Million in Grants to Conserve Coastal Wetlands

February 2, 2016

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced over $20 million will be provided to 28 projects in 12 coastal states to protect, restore or enhance more than 10,000 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent upland habitats under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. State and local governments, private landowners, conservation groups and other partners will contribute over $20 million in additional funds to these projects.

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2016 Coastal Wetlands Grants Project List »»

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The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is awarded $1 million to acquire and protect the 1,114-acre Great Bay Estuary-Harvey Forest and Wetlands. Credit: Courtesy of NHDES
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Siberian tiger. Credit: John and Karen Hollingsworth
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Lumber Liquidators Sentenced for Illegal Importation of Hardwood and Related Environmental Crimes

February 1, 2016

Virginia-based hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators Inc. was sentenced in federal court and will pay more than $13 million in criminal fines, community service and forfeited assets for illegal importation of hardwood flooring. Much of the flooring was manufactured in China from timber that was illegally logged in far eastern Russia in the habitat of the last remaining Siberian tigers and Amur leopards in the world. The case was jointly investigated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agents and Homeland Security agents as part of Operation Oakenshield.

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Siberian tiger. Credit: John and Karen Hollingsworth
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Turquoise parakeet. Credit: Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
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Service Seeks Comments on a Proposal to Remove Two Australian Parakeets from the Endangered Species List

January 21, 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the public comment period on a proposed rule to remove the scarlet-chested parakeet and the turquoise parakeet from the list of endangered species. The agency is taking this action to offer interested parties an opportunity to comment on whether removing these species is still warranted and to ensure our determination is based on the best information available.

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Turquoise parakeet. Credit: Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
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