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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Bison Return to Wind River Reservation

2 bison Two bison check out their new home. Photo by Alexis Bonogofsky, image used with permission

As of November 2, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe had restored six of the seven ungulates found in the area of Wind River Reservation in Wyoming before the arrival of Lewis and Clark: moose, whitetail and mule deer, elk, pronghorn and bighorn sheep. On November 3, came No. 7: bison, a result of a partnership among the Service, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the Eastern Shoshone.

“Recognizing both the ecological significance of buffalo as well as the importance to tribal commu­nities, NWF has partnered with tribes for over 20 years to restore and protect bison,” says Garrit Voggesser, NWF’s tribal partner­ships director.

Pat Hnilicka, project leader of the Lander Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office in Lander, Wyoming, says that one of the jobs that the partners worked on was habitat improvement. They removed about a mile of decrepit barbed-wire fencing that bison could get tangled in. They are also working to restore some irrigated meadows to make them more productive and can support more bison.

worker Dan Dewey and a Service crew remove more than a mile of decrepit barbed-wire fence, a potential hazard to bison, within the pasture on the Wind River Reservation. Photo by Pat Hnilicka/USFWS

Beyond ensuring that the land would be hospitable to bison, the project also needed bison that were of the type that roamed there hundreds of years ago.

 The first bison calf to be born in 130 years on Wind River Reservation "hit the ground" May 2.  

The Service’s Lee Jones worked to find a herd of bison that not only fit that genetic requirement but also had a sterling reputation for being disease-free.

The disease brucellosis has cost billions in direct expenses and money spent to develop a treatment. Brucellosis infects bison, and Jones says, the disease “is a huge concern in Wyoming.”

That led her to Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. The bison there trace their lineage to the National Bison Range in Montana, and are ecologically appropriate for restoration in the Rocky Mountains. Iowa has also been brucellosis- and tuberculosis-free for many years, Jones says.

So on November 3, 10 bison were released on the reservation.

“While this was a culmination of years of hard work, it was a new beginning, not an ending. We plan to release more this coming fall,” Voggesser says. “We hope to have hundreds of buffalo on thousands of acres in the next few years.”

With those 10 bison, they are starting a new herd, which is not easy, Jones says. “It is an incredible step they took, absolutely incredible.”

The day of the release was equally incredible.

bison and watchers   People watch the release of the bison. Photo by Pat Hnilicka/USFWS

“’This is the best day of my life bringing the bison here,’” Jones remembers a bystander telling her.

This project is “a career highlight,” Hnilicka says.

“Today, boy-shan bi-den— buffalo return in the Shoshone language—has become a reality,” says Jason Baldes,  bison representative for the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. ”This restoration effort, 40 years in the making, returns buffalo to our lands, our culture, our community and generations to come.”

Note: While bison and buffalo are used interchangeably, the name for the North American animal is bison.

Fish & Wildlife News  


Cops and Bobbers, Hooks and Ladders: Fishing with a purpose!

Police  officer and youth
A Hartford City Police officer shares a smile with a young angler who just caught his first fish!

As National Police Week starts, Jennifer Lapis, Visitor Services Manager at Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in New England, tells us about a great program that combines fishing and community outreach. She took the photos, too!

At first glance, a large group of police officers walking around a city park may lead people to think the worst. But this spring in the cities of Springfield, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, a park crowded with cops was met with squeals, smiles and laughs from the young community members who participated in the Cops and Bobbers, Hooks and Ladders Youth Fishing Program.

This recreational fishing program is designed to teach kids to fish, connect them with the outdoors and develop positive relationships with law enforcement and safety officials within their communities. Building these relationships, both with nature and members of their community, are critical building blocks for these kids as they meet next-generation challenges. 

casting classThese Hartford Fire Department cadets teach the kids how to cast before they head to the water to fish.

For many of these urban youth, the Cops and Bobbers, Hooks and Ladders event is the first time they have held a fishing rod, or even have seen a live fish up close. These adventurous new anglers go from being squeamish and scared of a worm or fish, to putting bait on a hook and proudly holding their prized catch for a photo.

Police  officer and youth
Working together as a team is one benefit of the Cops and Bobbers, Hooks and Ladders Program, as seen in this photo of an officer helping one of the participants with her fishing rod.

The police, firefighters and other partners involved in the programs are on the front lines, helping bait hooks, cast lines and reel in fish. Today, we all too often see the contentious relationships between community members and police officers. The Cops and Bobbers, Hooks and Ladders events provide safe and nonviolent community outlets for kids, with goals of establishing trust, mutual respect and teamwork to build a community that everyone can be proud to consider home.

The Cops and Bobbers, Hooks and Ladders events in both Springfield and Hartford would not have been possible without the contributions of many partners: City police, fire and parks departments; state wildlife and angler education agencies; nonprofit community organizations; and the federal government all played an important role in making these events a success for everyone. In addition, grants and generous donations enabled each kid with rod and reel o take home, as well as tackle boxes and a commemorative T-shirt.

teamAfter a fun day of fishing, the Hartford team gathers together for a photo.

The Silvio O Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is honored to share the commitments of all our partners, and we look forward to continuing the programs, and perhaps even expanding into other communities.

The Future of Fire Shelters

Lori Iverson tells us about some important fire research.

   The researchers set up one of three fire shelters on a metal frame. Burn Boss Blake Stewart of the Service stands by, ready to call for the start of fire ignitions as soon as the team is set up and clear of the area. Photo by Lori Iverson/USFWS

Earlier this week, North Carolina State University Professor Joe Roise and graduate student Bobby Williams joined a prescribed fire training exchange (TREX) fire crew to test a fire shelter prototype during a prescribed fire at the Madison Wetland Management District in South Dakota.

One year after Arizona’s 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire resulted in the tragic loss of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, the U.S. Forest Service entered into a collaborative agreement with the NASA Langley Research Center to examine potential improvements to fire shelter performance. It’s a logical partnership because of common performance requirements between fire shelters and flexible heat shields used by the space program, and additional research can benefit both organizations.

At the same time, Roise’s university received a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant to develop new material improving on existing fabric technology and raise the performance of current fire shelters. Researchers from North Carolina State’s College of Textiles and Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources teamed up to research and propose improvements.

   The fire shelter test site sensor poles can be seen behind the flames as the fire approaches. Photo by Lori Iverson/USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Plains Fire Management Zone is hosting this year’s TREX training in South Dakota. FWS has been using and managing fire safely and cost-effectively since the 1930s, leading to lands being in healthier ecological condition overall, with lower risk of damaging fire. This long-term, balanced approach to fire management benefits both people and wildlife.

Thus far, the North Carolina researchers have lab tested their shelters by replicating heat in a fire chamber. This week’s trip to South Dakota gives them an opportunity to further field test their work, which has previously only been done in chaparral in Southern California. After burning in native tall grass prairie species here, they’ll also test their shelter models in other vegetation types, including highly flammable marshland in Virginia, various species of pine in North Florida, and timber in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

It’s too early for results, but “the whole project is extremely important because it can save lives across the nation,” Roise says. “That’s the bottom line: saving lives.”


Environmental Justice Comes to Albuquerque

 Celebration of Environmental Justice   On Earth Day, the refuge held its annual Community Celebration of Environmental Justice “to honor and organize for our communities and our rights to a healthy environment in which to live, work, play, pray and go to school.” Photo by Kyle Cahall/Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

While the Mountain View community in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has more than enough “tank farms,” as the residents call the huge petroleum tanks in the area, it is short on green space.

So when community members heard talk that their main natural oasis, an old 570-acre dairy farm, might get developed and be lost, they got to work. The result: Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, established in 2012, the first urban refuge in the Southwest and the first refuge in the nation to have an Environmental Justice strategic plan. The refuge “stands out like an emerald in the middle of all of the industry,” says Teri Jillson, president of the Friends of Valle de Oro Refuge.

At its most basic, Environmental Justice means making sure that ALL people can live in environmentally healthy communities. It recognizes that certain communities – often poor or minority – have faced adverse environmental situations and looks to prevent that from happening and remedy where it has already happened.

Mountain View was ready for some Environmental Justice.

The neighborhood is a largely minority area with industrial facilities next to schools, homes and businesses. Part of the neighborhood is a Superfund site where chemical storage and military activities once contaminated groundwater. The neighborhood is also home to the primary sewage facility for the city of Albuquerque.

'For the Community'

Since the refuge’s beginning, Refuge Manager Jennifer Owen-White has made sure to involve the community in every aspect of the refuge. “This is a refuge established, designed and built by the community for the community.”

To continue the grassroots support of the refuge – a key part of Environmental Justice –Jillson says the Friends “make sure to ask people what they would like to see on the refuge.” The Friends of Valle de Oro also developed a unique partnership with longtime community organizers and Environmental Justice advocates, Los Jardines Institute. Together the Friends, Los Jardines Institute, the Mountain Veiw Neighborhood association and Valle de Oro have been working on a shared future for the refuge and its host community. 

Richard Moore, a national leader of the Environmental Justice movement, co-coordinator of Los Jardines Institute and a local resident, says: "This is an example of putting justice back into the hands of a community that has been historically treated unjustly. This is why Los Jardines Institute has been a significant partner on the planning, implementation and delivery of the Environmental and Economic Justice strategy for Valle de Oro."

The enthusiastic community support is one reason the Interagency Environmental Justice Working Group decided that the creation of the Valle de Oro Refuge could be a model for other communities, federal agencies and others working on Environmental Justice.

 Celebration of Environmental Justice   The community celebrates Environmental Justice. Photo by Kyle Cahall/Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

“We are really excited about is the fact that Valle de Oro is a model for the nation, and we take that very seriously,” Jillson says.

To help put together films and blogs needed as a model, Valle de Oro turned to Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), a National Indian community college and land grant institution in Albuquerque, through the College Underserved Community Partnership Program.

SIPI “happily agreed to produce the education films and blogs at no cost to federal government,” says Kim lambert, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Environmental Justice specialist.

“It’s a win for all,” she says. “Students benefit by utilizing their learned curriculum to gain practical experience that can serve as a resume builder, while earning college credits through their academic institution. Federal agencies benefit by seeing an improvement in the effective and efficient use of resources. And the community benefits from the refuge and its Environmental Justice stance.”

The community is definitely benefitting.


At a ceremony last year highlighting a $1 million increase in funding for the refuge, Sara Carrillo, principal at Mountain View Elementary School in Albuquerque's South Valley, said of the refuge, “It is giving our families a safe place to connect with nature, spend time together, be healthy and reconnect with our history."

The refuge also provides direct benefits to the community in such areas as education, job creation and a local economic boost.

One project helps not just Mountain View but also Valle de Oro’s wildlife. The Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority is funding work to create habitat that will improve storm water drainage in the neighborhood.

Partners like the flood control authority have made Valle de Oro the success it is. The refuge lists more than 100 groups and agencies as partners. And they will continue to determine the refuge’s success overall and in Environmental Justice.

Says Owen-White: “My job is to put the community's amazing ideas together with sound science and engineering to create something that is sustainable for wildlife and people.”

Jillson works with Owen-White toward that goal. She is not just president of the Friends group; she is also a 22-year Mountain View resident who has raised two children there.

To her, Valle de Oro “represents a community victory and establishing something positive for the Mountain View neighborhood.”

That’s the fruit of Environmental Justice. 

-Matt Trott, External Affairs, Headquarters

Mothers of the Wild

Wood ducks    Fuzzy family. Wood ducks huddle at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. Photo by Jessica Bolser/USFWS

As in humans, motherhood is a primal force in most animals. In honor of Mother’s Day, we present a gallery of mothers and offspring at national wildlife refuges in this week’s Refuge System photo story, “Mothers of the Wild.”

   Bison calf and mom You lookin’ at us? Bison calf and mom at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. Photo by Doreen Van Ryswyk/USFWS

After a nine-month pregnancy, female bison give birth to one calf – away from the herd in a sheltered area. Mothers protect calves from danger without the help of males. The calves are orange-red in color and sometimes are called “red dogs.” After a few months, their hair starts to change to dark brown. Spring is a good time to see bison calves at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge.

Kodiak brown bear sow and two cubs    Sniffing for scents. A Kodiak brown bear sow and two cubs at Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Photo by Lisa Hupp/USFWS

Female Kodiak brown bears, called sows, usually have two cubs in their first litter and up to four cubs in subsequent litters. Typically, cubs remain with their mothers until they are two or three years old. In spring, mothers usually move their cubs from the den to areas where they can feed on carrion or roots and other vegetation. In summer, mothers take their cubs to fish in salmon streams.

   Western grebes Got your back. Western grebes at Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota. Photo by Kelly Preheim

“Mothers of the Wild,” is part of the Refuge System’s series of photo essays that highlight the conservation work and visitor opportunities at national wildlife refuges, wetland management districts and marine national monuments. A new photo essay is posted regularly on the Refuge System home page. The essays are archived here.

We Make Fishing Better!

Fishery Biologist Jim Bowker tells us about a unique program for fish health.

   hand holding cutthroat trout in waterA calmed cutthroat trout. Photo by Jim Bowker/USFWS

Every member of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership (AADAP) Program has heard, at one point or another, that being a fisheries biologist in Montana must be one of the best jobs in the world. We like to tell folks that it is, but not for the reasons they might think.

Those unfamiliar with our program likely envision casting to the fish in Montana’s many trout streams. While we most certainly wet a line from time to time, we find our jobs fulfilling because we work in a program that helps to ensure that fish raised for stocking and conservation in the United States are healthy. We work for the only program in the country focused solely on getting medicines approved for use on fish.

When people learn what we do, we hear something else common to us AADAP folks: “Wait, what? Medicines for fish?”

Medicine for Fish

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the regulatory agency responsible for ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply considers fish to be food animals. That means that FDA must evaluate and approve a medicine before it can be used on fish. 

And what kinds of medicines do fish need? Consider these examples:

• People who study or raise fish for stocking into public lakes, rivers or streams for anglers or the dinner table will likely need to move them from one place to another, sort them, take measurements, or collect tissues for analysis. When fish are handled, they become stressed and might injure themselves or the handler. If a fish can be calmed by placing it in a bucket or tub of a proven safe and effective fish sedative solution immediately after capture, handling it is easier and less risky.

• Suppose you are trying to save a species of fish on the brink of extinction. It’s quite common to capture a few of the remaining adult fish, spawn them in captivity, and return their offspring to the environment to help boost population numbers and the recovery effort. This has been done with pallid sturgeon, Apache trout, Lahontan cutthroat trout, and certain strains of salmon and steelhead trout. It might sound easy—just put the fish in a tank together, turn down the lights, maybe play a little soft music and wait for the magic to happen—but it turns out that spawning fish in captivity is far from a sure bet. If left to their own devices, captive fish may spend the rest of their days without so much as a second look at their tank-mates. Virtually every successful endangered fish restoration project, such as restoring salmon and steelhead runs in the Pacific Northwest, has relied on spawning aids to produce the next generation of their species. 

• Lots of people get sick during cold and flu season, especially kids in school or daycare. When one child gets sick, unless they are sent home immediately, it’s quite likely that they’ll pass their sniffles on to the rest of the class. The same can happen in hatcheries, particularly among young fish that haven’t yet fully developed their immune system. If one fish gets sick, the others are likely to come down with the same infection. We tell our kids to wash their hands, and we might give them a few rounds of cough syrup and decongestants when they’re under the weather. For fish, it’s equally important to prevent the spread of disease and help fish recover quickly. 

The AADAP staff takes great pride in our ability to conduct research required to provide high quality data to FDA to support approval of safe and effective fish medicines. We are thankful that we have the opportunity to contribute to our nation’s fisheries with the help of our partners and others who have supported our small program over the years. Our work may not conjure as much envy as fishing Montana waters for a living, but we are proud to help improve fishing opportunities nationwide by keeping our fish healthy.


Tarpon Tourney Raises Money for Florida Refuge

   tarponTarpon. Photo by Al Hoffacker

The tarpon is not considered an edible fish, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of the most popular game fish in Florida.

Charter boat Captain Matt Johnson told the News-Press of Fort Myers, Florida, that tarpon is his favorite fish.

"The fight is like no other," he told the newspaper. "It's such a tough fish." 

   tarpon caught
An angler with a tarpon.

It’s no surprise then that tournaments have sprung up across Florida to catch tarpon, sometimes called “silver kings” because of scales as big as silver dollars on a full-grown adult.

One popular tournament will be held in a little over a week at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on the barrier island of Sanibel in the Gulf of Mexico.

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge hosts the sixth annual “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tourney on May 19. One thing that makes this tournament special is that it raises money for the refuge.

Donations and a silent auction have helped the “catch, care and release” tournament raise a quarter of a million dollars for the refuge in its first five years, says Birgie Miller, Executive Director of the Friends group.

That money goes to various projects and environmental education at the refuge, Miller says. Ding’s Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland praises the tournament for “raising needed funds to support our refuge.”

   tarpon sign

In 1885, the first documented tarpon caught on a rod-and-reel took place in the refuge’s Tarpon Bay in 1885, and the tournament celebrates that history.

"This tournament not only mirrors ethical angling and teaches the importance of connecting people with nature,” Westland says,  “it also raises awareness of our refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System to experienced anglers in not only Southwest Florida but around the world."

Fishing is big at Ding Darling Refuge, and at refuges and national fish hatcheries nationwide.

"Saltwater angling opportunities at Ding refuge are the best in the system," Westland says.

Quality fishing opportunities, representing virtually every type of sport fishing on the continent, are available on more than 270 national wildlife refuges. Hatcheries, too, keep anglers busy, both with fish production and fishing opportunities.

With fishing, anglers help local economies, conservation and have a whole lot of fun. Even if you can’t make the Tarpon Tourney (registration is filled anyway), why not give fishing a try? Yes, I’ll say it, you’ll be hooked!

Spring Ritual Leaves Lasting Impressions

Cliff Schleusner is Chief of our Southwest Region’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. He oversees the program in Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, where he lives. Here, he tells us about an outdoors tradition he happily carries on.

   Cliff Schleusner and dadCliff Schleusner holds a Merriam's turkey while his dad Cliff Sr. looks on.

Spring:  It’s the most wonderful time of the year in New Mexico. The woods are alive with sights and sounds, none greater than the courtship display of wild turkeys. New Mexico is graced with three of the six subspecies of the wily bird—Rio Grande, Merriam’s, Gould’s—from Raton to Rodeo.  More than 14,000 hunters will go afield before  turkey hunting season ends  May 10  trying  to fool a strutting tom into shotgun or bow range.

For the uninitiated, it’s more difficult than it appears to outwit a wild turkey. And you can count me among those who spent days sitting stock-still in the ponderosa forest on a cold morning yelping and cutting with a box call at daybreak hoping to hear that signature response sound that speaks to turkeys nearby. Turkey hunting requires alertness and awareness—a Zen-like living in the moment—like no other endeavor.

Lucky for me I have the privilege to be in the woods this spring once again with my aging father and my teenage son.  With my boy, I will do what my dad has done with me going on 45-plus years.  It has become ritual with my family and many others alike.

But were it not for conservation, that ritual may have never come to be. There was a time that wild turkey faced extirpation from unregulated market-commodity harvest and ruined habitats. The woods were hushed in April.

The tide turned 80 years ago with the passage of the Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, commonly called the Pittman-Robertson Act, named for the authors of the federal legislation.  It was an ingenious law.

Few are the folks who actually enjoy paying more in taxes, but you can count hunters among those who do. The Wildlife Restoration Act was supported by organized sportsmen and -women, state fish and game agencies, and industry to tax firearms and ammunition with the proceeds going specifically to wildlife conservation.

The outcome has been nothing short of remarkable:  State agencies have for 80 years been assured of a steady stream of funding based on license sales and purchase of hunting gear. It’s no coincidence that the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish began trapping and relocating wild turkey in 1939, two years into the new law, to ensure the expanding population was comprised of genetically robust animals. In 1940, the agency bought a reach of the Rio Cebolla in the Jemez Mountains for waterfowl conservation, today’s Fenton Lake State Park. That was followed on by the purchase of an eight-mile reach of the Cimarron River and adjacent uplands and many other wildlife management areas across the state, including large tracts of short-grass prairie, prime lesser prairie-chicken habitats. The law funded scientific wildlife research, habitat management and restocking of wildlife. The agency was the first in the country to capture and relocate pronghorn at a time when the population was an anemic 2,400 animals. All this was facilitated by a tax on sporting arms.

In 1950, the Sport Fish Restoration Act was added to the mix to do for fish what the former law did for wildlife. In eight decade’s time, more than $18 billion has been returned to the states for conservation.

When you buy that new turkey gun, arrows or a new bow, a box of shotgun shells or fishing tackle you should know you are making an investment in conservation’s cycle of success. As much as 11 percent of your purchase will be divvied to the state fish and game agencies and returned to you in the form of science-based wildlife and fisheries conservation; you’ll help pay the salary of a game warden; you will buy fuel for aircraft that carry wildlife biologists who conduct aerial big game or waterfowl surveys to inform future decisions.  Your money will feed Rio Grande cutthroat trout destined to be restored to a high mountain stream. And even if hunting and fishing are not your thing, the conservation supports plenty of nongame wildlife, too.

In New Mexico, more than 200,000 people annually buy hunting and fishing licenses.  This supports more than 7,900 jobs contributing more than $800 million in spending and labor while putting another $106.5  million back into the public coffers as income and sales tax revenue.  Certainly hunting and fishing is an economic boon for New Mexico.

But the greatest dividends for me have immeasurable value:  the splendor of watching the first light of day awaken the woods; the sound of a talking tom turkey fills the air from the ridge above me while I sit next to those who I love the most.  I will never grow tired of these experiences.


Pearl Parties – What You Need to Know

Oyster Shell surrounded by a lot of pearls


Online “pearl parties” are trending now with several direct marketing companies recruiting independent consultants as a new business venture. Oyster shells are opened online “live” to reveal a pearl that can be made into jewelry. There are a few things to know about oysters before undertaking this commercial activity.

Know When You are Importing Oysters

Oysters used in a pearl party typically originate from a foreign country, and thus are considered imports. Because oysters are wildlife, imports of these oysters (even if the animals are ‘farmed’) are regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). 

Steps to Take:

  • Importing oysters used in a pearl party as a business venture is considered a commercial activity and requires an Import/Export License from the Service prior to the first shipment arriving in the U.S. 

  • Import/Export Licenses cost $100 and are valid for one year from the date of issuance. 

  • Each shipment of oysters imported is required to enter the U.S. through a designated port, unless otherwise authorized by the Service. 

  • Shipments of oysters imported to be used in a pearl party must be declared to the Service. 

  • Each commercial shipment of oysters imported to be used in a pearl party requires the importer to pay user fees; $93 per shipment minimum. 

If you have any questions, you can contact the closest Wildlife Inspection Office.

Importers bringing in shipments of oysters into the U.S. without a valid Import/Export License and/or not declared are subject to enforcement action by the Service, including seizure of goods and possible monetary penalties. 

Return of the Plovers

If you live in the right parts of the country, you might be starting to see plovers return to your area.

 Old Man Plover  At 15 years old, BO:X,g, also known as Old Man Plover, is the oldest Great Lakes piping plover to return to its breeding grounds. Photo courtesy of Alice Van Zoeren

Old Man Plover, a Great Lakes piping plover, has made it back to his breeding site once again at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan.

   Pink 85Photo by Jesse Amesbury/CWFNJ

On the Atlantic Coast, piping plover Pink 85 is back on the beaches of Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey.

Western snowy plovers at Malibu Lagoon State Beach.Western snowy plovers at Malibu Lagoon State Beach. Photo by Chris Dellith/USFWS

And, for the first time in nearly 70 years, Western snowy plovers are nesting on Los Angeles County beaches.

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