Spring Storm in the Great Basin Red Cliffs Desert Tortoise Reserve After a Spring Storm in the Great Basin Hunting Upland Birds at Kingsbury Lake Waterfowl Production Area Sandhill Migration on the Platte River Badlands Sunrise The Green River at Ouray NWR North Park Lupines Moab Sunset
News & Releases
Mountain-Prairie Region

News Release

Service Helps Recover At-Risk Species at National Wildlife Refuges in Colorado, Utah & Wyoming

For Immediate Release

April 25, 2014

Total of $5.8 M distributed to 17 projects in 15 U.S. States and Territories

Aerial view of El Dorado Reservoir, Kansas. Credit: James L. Stuby, M.S., P.G.
Aerial view of El Dorado Reservoir, Kansas. Credit: James L. Stuby, M.S., P.G.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through its Cooperative Recovery Initiative, is committing $5.8 million this year to 17 projects for recovery of some of the nation’s most at-risk species on or near national wildlife refuges.

“The Cooperative Recovery Initiative capitalizes on the hands-on conservation expertise that is characteristic of our National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “By focusing on efforts already underway at these sites, and working across programs to fund these efforts, we maximize our conservation impact and greatly boost the odds of success for the species in greatest need.”

Colorado - Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is receiving funding for recovery of the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes).
Establishing a Stable Populations of Black-footed Ferrets
The project will complete the preliminary work needed to reintroduce black-footed ferrets in the future at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado, with the goal of establishing a self-sustaining population. A focus of the effort will be trying to prevent outbreaks of plague in the ferret’s primary prey, the prairie dog; such outbreaks can wipe out entire prairie dog colonies. Starting this month, the Refuge has begun using insecticide treatments to target fleas, vectors of the disease. This summer, the Refuge will begin a monitoring program for prairie dogs that will create baseline information needed for a successful reintroduction project. The Refuge is working with its neighbors and other partners planning for a possible reintroduction in the fall of 2015. Before the Service can propose downlisting the species, 10 self-sustaining populations of at least 30 breeding adults must be established. An additional benefit will be the opportunity to connect people with nature, specifically the short- and mixed-grass prairie ecosystem and the showcasing of the Service’s conservation successes.

Colorado and Utah - Ouray National Wildlife Refuge’s Johnson Bottoms is receiving funding for recovery of the razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus).
Improving Nursery Habitat for Razorback Suckers
This project aims to improve and expand the floodplain wetland habitat in Johnson Bottoms on Ouray National Wildlife Refuge in Utah to benefit an endangered fish, the razorback sucker. Modification of wetlands in the Green River basin of Utah and Colorado is expected to provide nursery habitat for the fish and help prevent its extinction in the wild. Hatchery-reared adults currently survive in the wild and produce viable larval fish, but few survive to adulthood because they lack quality nursery habitat. Project team members plan to reshape wetland connections to the river and add a rigid weir to the inlet that will prevent predation of larval fish by non-native fish.

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Wyoming - Saratoga National Fish Hatchery is receiving funding for recovery of the Wyoming toad (Anaxyrus baxteri).
Improving the Status of Wyoming Toads
The Wyoming toad is considered to be one of the four most endangered amphibian species in North America and was once classified as “extinct in the wild”. Team members hope to improve the toad’s status by managing vegetation, treating the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in wild toads, monitoring, and improving survivorship through the installation of mesh enclosures. A planned expansion of the Saratoga National Fish Hatchery should make captive-reared toads readily available for reintroduction at various life stages. A long-term goal is establishing several self-sustaining populations of the toad.

“By working together with a focus on recovery of imperiled fish, wildlife, plants, and landscapes, we achieve more. The Cooperative Recovery Initiative honors its recipients for their exemplary teamwork and conservation of the threatened and endangered species protected by the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Mountain-Prairie Regional Director Noreen Walsh.

The Cooperative Recovery Initiative was established in 2013 to restore and recover federally listed species on near national wildlife refuges and surrounding lands. It combines the resources of many Service programs to complete critical on-the-ground conservation projects that provide the greatest conservation benefits to the country’s most imperiled species.

The National Wildlife Refuge System protects wildlife and wildlife habitat on more than 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Maine to Alaska. Refuges also improve human health, provide outdoor recreation and support local economies. Visit our home pageat www.fws.gov/refuges. Follow us on Facebookand Twitter.

– FWS –

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Office of External Affairs

Mountain-Prairie Region

134 Union Blvd

Lakewood, CO 80228


303-236-3815 FAX



Leith Edgar

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: April 30, 2014
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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