Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Service helps recover Karner blue butterflies at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge in New Hampshire

April 24, 2014


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

Karner blue butterfly, one of the species that will benefit from the Service's Cooperative Recovery Initiative. Credit: USFWS

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. Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, New Hampshire is receiving funding for recovery of the Karner blue butterfly.

“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.”

The project at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge aims to restore early successional habitat at the refuge to boost the population of the rare Karner blue butterfly to 3,000, sustained over five years. The current population is just over 1,500 butterflies. Habitat restoration will include removal of trees and brush, prescribed burning, and seeding of nectar plants and lupine. The project team also plans to rear captive butterflies and release them into restored habitat. The work may also benefit other high-priority species, such as the New England cottontail.

The Cooperative Recovery Initiative was established in 2013 to restore and recover federally listed species on or 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 page at

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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. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

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