The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a long tradition of scientific excellence and always uses the best-available science to inform its work to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitat for the benefit of the American public.
Created in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, today's National Wildlife Refuge System protects habitats and wildlife across the country, from the Alaskan tundra to subtropical wetlands. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge System's 560-plus refuges cover more than 150 million acres and protect nearly 1,400 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
While national wildlife refuges were created to protect wildlife, they are for people too. Refuges are ideal places for people of all ages to explore and connect with the natural world. We invite you to learn more about and visit the national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Mountain-Prairie Region's Office of Ecological Services (ES) works to restore and protect healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants and the environments upon which they depend. Using the best available science, ES personnel work with Federal, State, Tribal, local, and non-profit stakeholders, as well as private land owners, to avoid, minimize, and mitigate threats to our Nation's natural resources.
Providing leadership in the conservation of migratory bird habitat through partnerships, grants, and outreach for present and future generations. The Migratory Bird Program is responsible for maintaining healthy migratory bird populations for the benefit of the American people.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program in the Mountain-Prairie Region helps conserve, protect, and enhance aquatic resources and provides economically valuable recreational fishing to anglers across the country. The program comprises 12 National Fish Hatcheries.
Law enforcement is essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation. The Office of Law Enforcement contributes to Service efforts to manage ecosystems, save endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation.
External Affairs staff in the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides support to the regional office and field stations to communicate and facilitate information about the Service's programs to the public, media, Congress, Tribes, partners, and other stakeholders in the 8-state region.
Species description: The American pika is a small mammal that inhabits fields fringed by suitable vegetation in alpine and subalpine mountain areas extending south from central British Columbia and Alberta into the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico and the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The historical range of the species includes California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.
A key characteristic of the American pika is its temperature sensitivity; death can occur after brief exposures to ambient temperatures greater than 77.9 °F. Therefore, the range of the species progressively increases with elevation in the southern extents of its distribution. In Canada, populations occur from sea level to 9,842 feet, but in New Mexico, Nevada, and southern California, populations rarely exist below 8,202 feet.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed an in-depth scientific status review of the American pika to determine if the species should be protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
We analyzed potential factors that may affect the habitat or range of the pika including climate change, livestock grazing, invasive plant species and fire suppression and determined climate change to be the primary threat to the species.
To help us understand and forecast the potential impacts of climate change on pika populations in the western United States, we worked with NOAA to develop local-scale models to help predict the variables in surface temperatures that could affect pika populations.
Using this information, we conducted a risk assessment to determine if increased surface temperatures would affect the pika and found that although the American pika could potentially be impacted by climate change, we believe the species as a whole will be able to survive despite higher temperatures in a majority of its range. We believe the pika will have enough high elevation habitat to ensure its long-term survival.
Based on this information, we do not believe the American pika is in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is undertaking an in-depth scientific status review of the American pika to determine if the species should be protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The status review initiation does not mean that the Service has decided it is appropriate to give the American pika federal protection under the ESA. Rather, this is the first step in a process that triggers a more thorough review of all the biological information available.