Endangered Species
Midwest Region



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The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you


Endangered Species Program

Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems


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2012 News and Accomplishments


Dec. 2012: Snake, Rattle and Restore . . . Candidate Conservation in Action


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Dec. 5, 2012: 90-Day Finding on 3 Grassland Thicket Mammals

Spotted Skunk by Missouri Department of Conservation


Dec. 4, 2012: Citizen Tip Helps Close the Knox County Whooping Crane Case


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November 29, 2012: Chicago ES Field Partners to Manage Habitat for Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid


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November 27, 2012: Ultralight-led Whooping Cranes Arrive at Wintering Destination in Florida


Ultralight in sky with 4 whooping cranes following.


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Feature Story

Kirtland's Warbler

Photo by USFWS; Joel Trick


2012 Marks a Banner Year for Endangered Kirtland’s Warblers

November 20, 2012


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that 2012 has been a banner year for endangered Kirtland’s warblers.  Survey results of the rare bird in Michigan and Wisconsin scored a new record, with 2,090 singing males, up from 1,828 last year.   


“It was only 1987 when we tied an all-time low of 167 singing males.  This is a pretty remarkable recovery -- 12 times the population size from where it was just a short 25 years ago,” said Scott Hicks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s East Lansing Field Office Supervisor. 


News Release (Nov. 20, 2012): 2012 Marks a Banner Year for Endangered Kirtland’s Warblers


View a Slideshow about Kirtland's Warbler Recovery!


Find out More!


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November 9, 2012: Help the Hellbender - “Help the Hellbender” is the name given to an effort to conserve the eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), North America’s largest salamander, in Indiana.




Eastern Hellbender


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October 31, 2012: Chicago Illinois Field Office Partners with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County to Restore Habitat of the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid


Counting eastern prairire fringed orchid flowers.


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October 26, 2012: Abbott Laboratories Continues its 21-Year Partnership with the USFWS Chicago Illinois Field Office in Recovery of the Federally Threatened Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid


Eastern prairie fringed orchid volunteer.


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October 25, 2012: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Proposals from States for Annual Endangered Species Grants


Piping plovers


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October 19, 2012: Chicago FWS Office Partners with the University of South Dakota on Captive Rearing Program for Endangered Dragonfly


Hine's emerald dragonfly larvae


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October 15, 2012: Proposed Endangered Status for the Neosho Mucket, Threatened Status for the Rabbitsfoot, and Designation of Critical Habitat for Both Species


News Release

Federal Register Proposed Rule (98-page PDF; 4.8MB)




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October 15, 2012: Using Restoration and Management to Recover Pitcher's Thistle and Improve Habitat Conditions for the Great Lakes Population of Piping Plover


Pitcher's thistle


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October 03, 2012: Comment Period Reopened for Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for Midwest Wind Energy Facilities


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September 26, 2012: Service Proposes to Protect the Grotto Sculpin Under the Endangered Species Act - Agency Seeks Information from the Public, Scientific Community Before Making Final Decision

News Release



grotto sculpin

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August 29, 2012: Midwest Wind Multi-Species HCP in Eight States - Request for Public Comment

News Release

Federal Register Notice of Intent (PDF)


Wind turbines


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Feature Story

Clubshell and Riffleshell Mussel Collection and Relocation


An underwater diver looking for mussels in the Allegheny River.

Diving for endangered mussels in the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania. Clubshell and riffleshell mussels were collected and transported to Illinois for future relocation in the Vermilion River.


August 24, 2012


Conserving endangered mussels has its good days. Biologists spent a day and a half on the Allegheny River collecting mussels, including the endangered clubshell and riffleshell. The mussels lie under a bridge that is going to be removed and reconstructed. The purpose of the collection is to move the mussles out of harms way. As a side benefit, some of the endangered mussels are going to Illinois, Ohio, and West Virginia where populations of clubshell and riffleshell are low or extirpated.


Check out the Slideshow and Video


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August 23, 2012: Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries Propose to Simplify Review Process for Critical Habitat Proposals under the Endangered Species Act


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August 14, 2012: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces More Than $33 Million in Grants to Support Land Acquisition and Conservation Planning for Endangered Species - Two Projects Funded in Wisconsin


Hine's emerald dragonfly by John Cabbott


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August 7, 2012: Long-term Research on Rattlesnake Life History will Help Managers Plan Habitat Restoration



Eastern massasauga


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Feature Story


Endangered Beetle Reintroduction a Success in Missouri


Placing an American burying beetle in its new underground home.

Placing an American burying beetle in its new underground home.

Photo by Missouri Department of Conservation


July 12, 2012

For the first time in nearly 40 years, federally endangered American burying beetles produced offspring in Missouri in the wild, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Adult pairs of beetles were reintroduced in June at Wah’kon-tah Prairie in southern Missouri as part of a cooperative recovery project with the Service, the St. Louis Zoo, the Missouri Department of Conservation and The Nature Conservancy.


On June 5, 2012, Service personnel and staff from the St. Louis Zoo, the Missouri Department of Conservation, The Nature Conservancy and volunteers reintroduced 240 adult American burying beetles at Wah'kon-tah Prairie, managed jointly by The Nature Conservancy and Missouri Department of Conservation.  This is the first-ever establishment of an experimental population of endangered insects in the United States and is also the first reintroduction of an endangered species back into Missouri.


News Release continued . . .


Slideshow of the reintroduction


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Feature Story

Drought, Heat Take Toll on

Tippecanoe River's Endangered Wildlife

A collection of fanshell mussels.

The low water level in the Tippecanoe River in Indiana has killed mussels, including endangered fanshell mussels.

Photo by USFWS


July 12, 2012


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking steps to ensure the survival of several federally endangered species of freshwater mussels in the Tippecanoe River that have been affected by the summer’s high temperatures and low rainfall. 


On July 5, 2012, the Service asked Northern Indiana Public Service Company to maintain a minimum flow from Oakdale Dam on Lake Freeman into the Tippecanoe River to alleviate low water conditions in the river that exposed mussel beds and caused the stranding and death of large numbers of mussels, including federally endangered species.


“The reality is, there is less water available for people and for wildlife.  This drought is causing water levels to drop throughout the state, and it is now being felt in places like the Tippecanoe River, which supports some of the most diverse mussel populations in the country,” said Scott Pruitt, supervisor of the Service’s Bloomington, Indiana, field office.  “The Service’s goal is to maintain the survival of mussels, some of which are in danger of extinction, as well as preserve as much as possible the recreational and other uses of the lakes and the Tippecanoe River itself.”


News Release continued


Learn more >


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July 12, 2012: Species Spotlight: the Service Partners to Understand the Declining Golden-winged Warbler


Golden-winged warbler


July 9, 2012: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards Grants to 30 States for White-Nose Syndrome Work

News Release


Little brown bat showing symptoms of white-nose syndrome.


June 28, 2012: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Comment on
Draft Habitat Conservation Plan, Draft Environmental Impact Statement for
Indiana Bat at Ohio Wind Project

News Release

Draft EIS and HCP

Wind Turbines



June 28, 2012: Six Whooping Crane Chicks Arrive in Wisconsin for Ultralight Training


Ultralight and whooping cranes


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Feature Story

The Return of the Pink Mucket:
Endangered Mussels Released in Lower Osage River




June 21, 2012


Conservation partners including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missouri Department of Conservation, Kansas City Zoo and Missouri State University have released about 3,000 pink muckets, an endangered species of freshwater mussels, into the Lower Osage River in central Missouri.


The release is part of a larger effort to conserve and restore resources in the Lower Osage River that have been affected by the operation of Bagnell Dam, near Lake of the Ozarks. 


“This release is important because it augments a small, existing wild population of pink muckets in the Lower Osage River,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Bryan Simmons.  “We know there is suitable habitat here, and we’re hopeful these released mussels will become established and thrive.”


News Release continued . . .

Background on the Pink Mucket in the Lower Osage River

Lower Osage River Protection and Enhancement Plan


Propagation and Augmentation in the Lower Osage River


Partnerships Power Relicensing Negotiations for Missouri Hydro Project


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May 30, 2012: Dwarf Lake Iris Draft Recovery Plan Available for Public Review and Comment

• News Release: Recovery Plan Outlines Steps to Help Rare Plant

Draft Recovery Plan (68-page PDF; 500KB)

FR Notice of Availability (2-page PDF)

Dwarf Lake Iris Information


dwarf lake iris


May 30, 2012: Eagle Nest and Volunteer Effort Help Protect Threatened Lakeside Daisy


lakeside daisy


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Feature Story

Celebrate Endangered Species

Karner blue butterfly watercolor painting by Sky Waters.

Sky Water's painting of the Karner blue butterfly won the

Grand Prize in the 2012 Minnesota Endangered Species Youth Art Contest. Sky also won the National Endangered Species

Youth Art Contest for his painting of a woodland caribou.


On May 18, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous organizations honored Endangered Species Day and the nationwide conservation efforts underway protecting America's threatened, endangered and at-risk species.


The Endangered Species Act has prevented hundreds of listed species from going extinct. Co-administered by the Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the purpose of the Act is to conserve imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.


"Endangered Species Day provides an opportunity to celebrate our successes and strengthen our partnership with the American public to conserve our shared natural resources," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. "By taking action to help our threatened and endangered plants and animals, we can ensure a healthy future for our country and protect treasured landscapes for future generations."


News Releases to
Celebrate Endangered Species Day and Recovery Accomplishments


Midwest Species Make Progress


Bring back the Endangered American Burying Beetle


Visit a Prairie or Savanna


Learn about the Endangered Indiana Bat


Learn About Endangered Freshwater Mussels


Endangered Species Day Home


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May 16, 2012: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Celebrates Endangered Species Day - Midwest Species Make Progress



Lake Erie Watersnake


May 02, 2012:  Wild Whooping Crane Chick Hatches in Central Wisconsin


Whooping crane chick


April 20, 2012: Kirtland's Warbler Wildlife Management Area Building Removal


April 19, 2012 - National Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest Winners Chosen


Woodland Caribou painting by Sky Waters



April 18, 2012: Spring Migration is Underway for the "Class of 2011" Whooping Cranes

whooping crane


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Feature Story

The Topeka Shiner in Iowa: Strategic Habitat Conservation


An oxbow of Cedar Creek in Greene County, Iowa after restoration by the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to benefit Topeka shiners.

Photo by USFWS; Kraig McPeek


April 6, 2012


What started as a pitch to a few skeptical landowners in the early 2000s, turned into a success story. Blending the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program with endangered species habitat restorations demonstrates true strategic habitat conservation - especially when it works as well as Iowa restoration efforts have for the Topeka shiner.


The Topeka shiner, listed as federally endangered in 1998, was once found in many streams and rivers throughout Iowa. Now, because of habitat reductions, that range has been reduced to the North Raccoon River and its tributaries, with smaller populations in the Boone, Rock and Little Rock Rivers. Topeka shiners prefer quiet, open pools of small prairie streams. Back in the days when Iowa was covered in prairie, these streams used to naturally meander, creating cut-offs of the outside loops of the main stream. These loops became U-shaped ponds known as oxbows, which reconnected to the stream during high water. These oxbows provided the perfect quiet, pool-like habitat that Topeka shiners prefer. The problem is that over time these naturally meandering prairie streams have been straightened and channelized causing natural oxbows to disappear, along with any natural pools found within the stream. The few oxbows that do remain along these streams have filled with sediment over time and only hold water part of the year. Topeka shiners still get in these oxbows during flood events, only to die when summer comes around and the oxbows dry up.


Read more


About Topeka Shiner


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April 2, 2012: Three Cases of Bat Disease Discovered in Missouri
White fungus on nose of little brown bat, symptom of white-nose syndrome.


March 21, 2012: Colorful Beetle to Return to Southwest Missouri

News Release


American Burying Beetle


March 21, 2012: Tours Offered to View Endangered Kirtland's Warbler in Michigan


Kirtland's Warbler



March 20, 2012: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Endangered Species Recovery Champion Awards: Kirtland Warbler Advocate Carol Bocetti Among Recipients


Carol Bocetti - Kirtland's Warbler researcher


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March/April Feature Story

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists
Two Freshwater Mussels as Endangered

Two specataclecase mussels in the palm of a hand.

A mature and juvenile spectaclecase mussel found during a mussel survey. Spectaclecase mussels are gone from more than half of their historical range.

Photo by USFWS; Tamara Smith


March 12, 2012


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the sheepnose and spectaclecase, two freshwater mussels found in river systems in the eastern half of the United States, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. 


Sheepnose are currently found in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  The sheepnose occurs in 25 streams, down from 76, a 67 percent decline.  Very few of these populations are known to be reproducing. 


Read more in the News Release


Information about the Sheepnose


Information about the Spectaclecase


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February 23, 2012: Piping Plover Habitat Protection Along the Shores of Lake Michigan

News Release

Piping Plover Information


Adult piping plovers


Feb. 13, 2012: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists Two Freshwater Mussels as Endangered

News Release
Rayed Bean



Recovery Report to Congress: 2009 to 2010 (PDF 3.1MB)


February 8, 2012: Service Announces Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest

Learn More

February 06, 2012: Minnesota School Kids Invited to Enter 2012 Minnesota Endangered Species Youth Art Contest


February 03, 2012: Ultralight-led Whooping Cranes will head to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge


Jan. 9, 2012: Reward Fund Started for Indiana Whooping Crane Case

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January Feature Story

Salazar Announces Recovery of Gray Wolves in the Western Great Lakes, Removal from Threatened and Endangered Species List: States, tribes to assume management responsibility

Photo by Corel Corporation


WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that gray wolf populations in the Great Lakes region have recovered and no longer require the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing a final rule in the Federal Register removing wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in portions of adjoining states, from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants.


“Once again, the Endangered Species Act has proved to be an effective tool for bringing species back from the brink of extinction,” Secretary Salazar said. “Thanks to the work of our scientists, wildlife managers, and our state, tribal, and stakeholder partners, gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region are now fully recovered and healthy.”


The rule removing ESA protection for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes becomes effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.


News Release >>


Information about Delisting the Gray Wolf Western Great Lakes DPS

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Last updated: March 12, 2018