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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Our Public Civil Rights Program Ensures Access for All to Public Lands

3 girls in safety vests sit in woods in circle. Fourth person in vest in background crouching down Students from Scott School Elementary in Portland, Oregon, attend Cully Critter Cruise at Cully Park and learn about biodiversity in an urban setting, storm water management, native plants and ethnobotany, entomology, and careers in construction and design. Photo by USFWS

What does outdoor access mean to you? Do you have a space nearby where you can enjoy hiking, fishing, birdwatching, hunting, or experi­encing wide-open spaces? Not everyone does, and that is why we are committed to ensuring equal access to public lands through our Public Civil Rights Program.


Conservation Plan in Texas Promotes Species Habitat Restoration, Supports Environment Justice

pinkish white salamander with what looks like a maroon scarf crawls on rocksWild Texas blind salamanders are only found in Edwards Aquifer. This specimen is held in refugia at San Marcos Aquatic Resource Center. Photo by Ryan Haggerty/USFWS

The Edwards Aquifer provide s water to over 2 million people and thousands of agricultural irrigators in the south central Texas region. Additionally, its unique artesian springs and aquatic environment are home to a number of endangered and threatened species that occur nowhere else.


New Bridge Leads to Sustainable Infrastructure at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

bridge span rests on rock abutmentsA 16-foot thermoplastic bridge crosses Bridge Creek at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The span is 100% post-consumer and industrial recycled plastic. The new bridge span rests on rock abutments that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Photo by USFWS

The new bridge at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is more than a way across the creek. It’s also a bridge to the future of sustainable building.


Undercover for Wildlife

A person wearing an olive-colored suit that covers their head and bodySpecial Agent Jim Dowd in a bug suit doing surveillance in the field. Photo courtesy Jim Dowd


Jim Dowd remembers exactly where he was when he learned he’d been offered a position as a special agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Fittingly, he was undercover — as an investigator for the General Services Administration Office of Inspector General conducting surveillance at a gas station for a case involving an individual exploiting a government credit card.

In his 11 years as a special agent for the Service, Dowd has used his criminal investigation skills to target not just individuals but networks that exploit vulnerable wildlife in the United States and abroad for profit. He often works undercover to purchase tiger skins, eagle feathers, elephant ivory, and other trafficked goods.


Billets to Barrels: The Origins of Conservation Funding

2 elk collide in grasslandTwo male elk spar during fall rutting season. NPS Photo

By Jeff Fleming

Several weeks ago, I watched a massive bull elk in the White Mountains of Arizona move ghostlike through the forest where the pinon-juniper woods transcend to ponderosas. Its shadowy form slipped through thickets in a silence that stuns, given its large mass. He sprouted velvety antlers in thick beams that speak to what will come when they reach full bloom in the fall. Fulfilling what is coded in the coiled double helix of his DNA, he will vie for the right to carry on the next generation, sparring furiously with other bulls similarly intent.


Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery – Culturing Atlantic Salmon for Over 150 Years

2 people in irange waders stand in indoor tank around smaller tank. One has hands in small tankFisheries biologists prepare Atlantic salmon for spawning at Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery. USFWS Photo

Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery, at Craig’s Pond Brook near Orland, Maine, is one of the oldest national fish hatcheries in the United States and one of the original think-tanks of fish culture research that led to many modern fish culture practices. 



Curator's Corner: Catfish Caves, Beep, and Famous FWS Alums

clay jar about 2 feet high  

Clay Catfish Caves

To mimic the spawning conditions that catfish seek out in the wild, fisheries biologists must create cave-like cavities in their hatchery ponds. Nowadays plastic barrels are used, but as recently as the mid-2000s, handmade clay jars were used at hatcheries that raise catfish. The jars are 1.5 inches thick and measure 2 feet high with a 14 inch diameter.  This clay catfish jar is from Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery in Texas and was last used there in 2006. It was handmade by Marshall Pottery in eastern Texas in the 1930s. Before the clay jars, attempts at creating suitable artificial spawning habitat included constructing wood boxes and using other items that were easy to obtain including metal barrels and milk cans. (APRIL GREGORY)



A Slough of Changes: Excise Taxes on Fishing Tackle a Catalyst for Coastal Conservation


sandy wetland with water and paths running throughoutDevereux Slough has come a long way since 2010. Photo by Matt Pickett/NOAA

Vitamin N does a body good. That’s N, as in Nature. And Devereux Slough in Santa Barbara, California, delivers.



How Nutritionists and Their Research Collaborators Pioneered Pacific Lamprey Aquaculture

what looks like earthworms in clear plastic container with rulerBefore 2019, no captive-raised Pacific lamprey had ever metamorphosed from tiny larvae to juvenile lamprey. Photo by James Barron/USFWS

By Sean Connolly

James Barron never realized he would become a larval lamprey whisperer.


Early Birds Don't Necessarily Get the Worm, Industry-Funded Upland Hunting Research Says

2 women in orange hats and vests kneel with dog; each holds firearm, birdKentucky quail hunters. Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources Photo

Upland hunting research funded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s  Wildlife Restoration Program, whose money comes  from excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery gear, reveals new information for biologists—and for hunters.


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