- What We Do
- Midwest Endangered Species
- Candidate Conservation
- Section 7 Consultation
- Habitat Conservation Plans
- Endangered Species Act
- Listed Plants and Animals
- Featured Species
- All Midwest Listed Species
- State and County Lists
- Species of Concern
- Extinct Species
- Fact Sheets
Endangered Species Program
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Endangered Species program is conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service in the Midwest
The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Find a location near you »
2015 News Archives
Dec. 9, 2015: Genoa and Partners Looking for the Needle in a Haystack of Mussel Conservation
American Burying Beetle Projected on
St. Peter's Basilica in Rome as Part of
Environmental Message from the Vatican
December 8, 2015
Below is a link to a New York Time's article and a Catholica Herald article about an environmental message from the Vatican and projected onto St. Peter's Basilica. The American burying beetle was included in the display.
New York Times Article » - scroll down page to see article
Vatican light show highlights environmental message - from the Catholic Herald
Freshwater Mussels and the Renewal of the
Dubuque Ice Harbor
November 17, 2015
What does a marina and a museum on the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa, have to do with conservation?
For the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service it is linked by mussels.
Mississippi River mussels have been at the center of attention in Iowa since the late 1800s. The shells found in the river were tough, thick and abundant for making pearl buttons. Industry peaked in 1916 with at least 41 factories in Iowa using freshwater mussel shells for buttons. While pollution, silting and dredging contributed to the decline of freshwater mussels, overharvesting for button production brought many species to the brink of extinction. The button business perished by the 1960s as a result of these factors.
October 26, 2015: Celebrate - It's Bat Week!
Service Awards $1.8 million for Fish and Wildlife Restoration in the Great Lakes Basin
October 22, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that $1.83 million in federal funding has been awarded under the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act grant program to restore sustainable populations of fish and wildlife resources, and their habitats, in the Great Lakes Basin. Two regional projects and seven research and restoration grant projects funded will provide $527,196 in non-federal partner match contributions.
“I am pleased that we can continue to support our partners as we work together to restore fish, wildlife and the lands and waters where they are found in the Great Lakes Basin,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius. “From the reintroduction of deepwater ciscoes to restoring habitat for Kirtland’s warbler, this year’s projects embody the spirit of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act.”
Best year yet for Great Lakes piping plovers –
and guess who turned up in Michigan?
Photo by Vince Cavelieri/USFWS
October 8, 2015
2015 is shaping up to be a banner year for endangered Great Lakes piping plovers. This summer, 75 pairs of plovers nested and fledged 128 chicks, a record for a species that was nearly extirpated in the 1980s. Loss of habitat had caused numbers to dip below 20 pairs before the small shorebird was listed as endangered in 1986. Since then, biologists and conservationists have worked tirelessly to save this rare bird from extinction, preserving and restoring habitat, protecting nesting areas and monitoring the birds’ migrations.
Most Great Lakes piping plovers nest along Great Lakes shorelines and spend the winters on the sunny beaches of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. However, last winter, a team of biologists and researchers from the United States and the Bahamas found an ultra-rare Great Lakes piping plover: the bird’s bands - Of,YG:X,O - showed the bird hatched at North Manitou Island in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan. This find and a few other sightings of Great Lakes birds in the Bahamas showed researchers that these islands could also contain important winter habitat for the critically endangered Great Lakes population.
Sept. 30, 2015: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical Habitat for Two Prairie Butterflies Under the Endangered Species Act
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to
List Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake as
September 30, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to list the eastern massasauga rattlesnake as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The Service will not propose critical habitat for the species, deeming it not prudent.
Eastern massasaugas are found in scattered locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. The species, which has been a candidate for listing since 1999, has been declining over the past decades due to loss of its wetland habitat and intentional killing by people who fear the snake. More than 30 percent of the historical populations are now extirpated and many more (20 percent) are of uncertain status. Of those populations that are known to remain, most are experiencing ongoing threats, meaning additional population losses are anticipated in the future.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Will Study the
Status of Four Midwest Species
September 17, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will assess the status of four wildlife species found in the Midwest to determine whether protection under the Endangered Species Act is warranted. The Service is seeking input as it conducts in-depth studies of the northern bog lemming, wood turtle, rusty-patched bumble bee and regal fritillary, a butterfly.
The Service is initiating status reviews in response to a variety of petitions seeking to protect 25 species under the Endangered Species Act.
Sept. 3, 2015: Celebrating the Future and Appreciating the Past: 35 Years of Kirtland’s Warbler Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Names Midwest
Endangered Species Recovery Champions:
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge staff and
Interagency Mussel Coordination Team
September 3, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has named a multi-agency Mussel Coordination Team and staff at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge as winners of the Midwest Region’s 2014 Recovery Champion Awards for their work to save endangered freshwater mussels, whooping cranes, Karner blue butterflies and Kirtland’s warblers. The teams were among winners from across the country recognized for their work in 2014 to save endangered species.
The interagency Mussel Coordination Team received the Midwest Region’s Partner Recovery Champion Award in recognition of their collaborative work to conserve and restore the endangered Higgins eye, a species of freshwater mussel, in the Upper Mississippi River.
Sept. 1, 2015: Pulling for plovers at Wilderness State Park
Celebrating the Future and
Appreciating the Past:
35 Years of Kirtland’s Warbler Management
September 3, 2015
Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Management Area was established on September 3, 1980, in response to the need for more land dedicated to the recovery of the endangered Kirtland’s warbler. The management area is made up of 125 tracts of land totaling more than 6,000 acres located throughout eight counties in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. It is one of few wildlife management areas in the Midwest Region.
If you’re hoping to get a good glimpse at the management area’s namesake species, you’re in luck! When the weather is nice, visitors have a good chance of seeing the Kirtland’s warbler, as well as many other neotropical migrant birds. Visitors can view wildlife, take photos, enjoy interpretive tours and learn more through educational field trips. You may even see upland sandpipers, spruce grouse, American badgers, eastern massasauga rattlesnakes and golden-winged warblers! During hunting season, hunters visit in search of migratory game birds, upland game and big game species.
State Endangered Species Conservation Efforts Receive $37.2 Million Boost Through Service Grants: funding to four Midwest states
August 14, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding $37.2 million in grants to 20 states to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered species across the nation. Among the states receiving funds are Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The grants, awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, will benefit numerous species, ranging from the coastal California gnatcatcher to the Karner blue butterfly. For a complete list of the 2015 grant awards, see www.fws.gov/endangered/grants/index.html.
“Private landowners and natural resource managers play a vital role in conserving our nation’s most imperiled wildlife,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “By cultivating partnerships between federal, state and local governments, private organizations and individuals, we can establish creative and effective solutions to some of the greatest conservation challenges of our time. These grants are one of many tools available under the Endangered Species Act, and we look forward to providing continued guidance and support for these programs.”
July 20, 2015: Dakota Skipper Conservation Work at the Minnesota Zoo
An Orchid Rises Again in Ohio
July 1, 2015
The small whorled pogonia (Isotria medeoloides), a federally listed threatened plant, is hard to find in Ohio. There have only been two locations in Ohio where this plant has ever been documented. At one site, the plant was photographed once and has not been seen since. The other site in Ohio occurs at an outdoor camp for students. During the summer kids boldly explore the woods, streams, caves and fields of this site in southeast Ohio. However, in the winter the site is quiet with frozen streams and very little human activity.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Will Study
the Status of Five Midwest Reptile and
June 30, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will assess the status of five reptile and amphibian species found in the Midwest to determine whether protection under the Endangered Species Act is warranted. The Service is seeking input as it conducts in-depth studies of the spotted turtle, alligator snapping turtle, Blanding’s turtle, Illinois chorus frog and green salamander.
The Service is initiating status reviews for a total of 20 species of amphibians and reptiles and one plant nationwide in response to petitions from the Center for Biological Diversity.
June 29, 2015: Surveys Begin for a Rapidly Declining Prairie Butterfly - Poweshiek Skipperling
June 16, 2015: Bringing Back a Beauty
Celebrate Birds, Bees
and other Pollinators
During National Pollinator Week!
June 11, 2015
Pollinators - butterflies, moths, bees, hummingbirds and other insects - play a crucial role in the production of most fruits and vegetables grown in Ohio. Many of these are summer favorites such as strawberries, peaches, apples, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and watermelons. In the United States pollination by honey bees and other pollinators contributed to over $29 billion in crop production in 2010. Pollinators are also important in nature because only pollinated plants produce seeds, and these seeds will eventually produce new plants, providing food and habitat for a diverse array of wildlife.
Monarch butterflies are perhaps one of Ohio’s most recognizable and beloved pollinators. Monarchs travel 3,000 miles on their annual migration across North America, and occur in all 88 Ohio counties. Unfortunately, monarch populations have declined by 90 percent in recent years. Monarch caterpillars require milkweed plants for food, but many of these plants have disappeared.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Develop Environmental Impact Statement for
Regional Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan
June 11, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is inviting public input as it develops an environmental impact statement to evaluate the potential impacts of issuing incidental take permits for covered species under the draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan.
The draft plan is being prepared by the Service and their planning partners, including state wildlife agencies for seven of the eight states within the plan area, the American Wind Energy Association, a consortium of wind energy companies and The Conservation Fund. States within the plan area include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical
Habitat for Two Freshwater Mussels in 12 States
April 29, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized critical habitat designations for the Neosho mucket and rabbitsfoot mussels in rivers of 12 states under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In the Midwest, the rabbitsfoot is found in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio; the Neosho mucket is found in Missouri.
The final designations are smaller than those proposed nearly three years ago. The Service altered the critical habitat designations after receiving new relevant information from a number of people and organizations. The final designations result in a net reduction of about two river miles for Neosho mucket and 217 river miles for rabbitsfoot. Both species of freshwater mussels are found in river systems in the eastern half of the United States and are indicators of clean water and healthy rivers. Today’s decision finalizes a proposal released in 2012 and includes the final economic analysis associated with the critical habitat designations.
Kirtland’s Warbler Banded as
Nestling in Wisconsin
Confirmed in Bahamas
April 22, 2015
The 2014 Kirtland’s warbler season was the first time biologists attempted to band nestlings at the breeding site in Wisconsin. Banding nestlings helps to determine if the young warblers return to the breeding site in following years. The color combinations allow observers to easily tell individuals apart. Wisconsin Kirtland’s warbler males, some females, and six nestlings are banded with their own color combinations, and can be easily recognized whether they are in Wisconsin on the breeding grounds or in the Bahamas on the wintering grounds.
April 22, 2015: Minnesota Dwarf Trout Lily Surveys
April 20, 2015: Winners Announced for 2015 Saving Endangered Species Yout Art Contest
Bats to Benefit from Historic
North American Agreement
April 17, 2015
For the first time in history, North American nations have formalized their shared interest in bat conservation. Last night, wildlife leaders representing Canada, Mexico and the United States signed a Letter of Intent that will promote monitoring, research and environmentally sustainable policies and practices that support bats and their habitats. The signing was a highlight of this week’s annual meeting of the Canada/Mexico/U.S. Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management and comes at a time when bat populations across North America are increasingly threatened by the disease white-nose syndrome.
About Bats and Bat Conservation (USFWS YouTube video)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Protects Northern Long-eared Bat as Threatened under
the Endangered Species Act
April 1, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it is protecting the northern long-eared bat as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), primarily due to the threat posed by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has devastated many bat populations.
At the same time, the Service issued an interim special rule that eliminates unnecessary regulatory requirements for landowners, land managers, government agencies and others in the range of the northern long-eared bat. The public is invited to comment on this interim rule as the Service considers whether modifications or exemptions for additional categories of activities should be included in a final 4(d) rule that will be finalized by the end of the calendar year. The Service is accepting public comments on the proposed rule until July 1, 2015 and may make revisions based on additional information it receives.
April 1, 2015: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Protects Northern Long-eared Bat as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act
Counting Bats Yields Crucial Data
March 25, 2015
On a relatively warm, sunny day in January, a group of state and federal biologists, consultants and volunteers gathered at Wyandotte Cave in southern Indiana for the biennial Indiana bat count. Conducted in caves and mines throughout the Indiana bat’s 22-state range, the count provides a periodic picture of the endangered bat’s population and gives wildlife experts a look at how the species is faring under the threat of white-nose syndrome.
The count is conducted only every two years to limit disturbance to the hibernating bats. Bats rely on fat reserves to survive the winter. Disturbing bats during hibernation causes them to wake and use up precious energy they need to make it through until spring. During surveys, great effort is taken to conduct the counts as quickly as possible.
March 23, 2015: Shining Stars! Neosho Welcomes the Topeka Shiner
March 20, 2015: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Comments on Amended NiSource Habitat Conservation Plan: NiSource Proposes to Add Northern Long-eared Bat to Incidental Take Permit
March 20, 2015: Welcoming Our Monarchs Home
March 10, 2015: Midwest Region Biologist Nathan Eckert Wins Rachel Carson Award!
Feb. 23, 2015: Dragonflies to Arrive at Genoa Fish Hatchery in 2015
How Saving One Butterfly Could Help Save the Prairie
February 12, 2015
Winter Seed Prep
People love monarch butterflies. They are big, vibrant and easy for people to watch in their gardens. If monarchs disappeared from the landscape, people would notice.
Don’t think of the monarch as one butterfly, think of it as a mosaic of prairie plants and animals that all need the same things - soil, sun and time to grow. Even in the face of massive habitat loss, we have been making a home for monarchs and species of the the wider prairie ecosystem for decades.
Feb. 9, 2015: Service Teams with Conservation Partners to Launch Campaign to Save Beleaguered Monarch Butterfly, Engage Millions of Americans
Jan. 22, 2015: Service Programs, Partners Join Together to Save Iowa Pleistocene Snail
Jan. 20, 2015: Discovery of Larval Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon Heralded
Jan. 15, 2015: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Special Rule to Focus Protections for Northern Long-Eared Bat: Rule Would Apply if Species is Listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act
Service Programs, Partners Join Together to Save Iowa Pleistocene Snail
January 22, 2015
A Snail’s Journey to Recovery
Ready. Set. Search! The snail technicians begin a timed search, rifling through leaf litter in front of cold air vents on a steep hillside. Some wear gloves to protect fingers from stinging nettles and cold air blowing out of the vents. One dons a headlamp to get a better look inside a deep vent. “Found one!” another yells, excitedly.
- What We Do
- Midwest Endangered Species
- Candidate Conservation
- Section 7 Consultation
- Habitat Conservation Plans
- Endangered Species Act