New York Field Office
Northeast Region

Welcome to the New York Field Office of Ecological Services website. We are located in Cortland, New York, including the Long Island Field Office located in Shirley, New York. The Ecological Services function of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is responsible for the conservation and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat, especially wetland habitat. Field office biologists investigate the effects of contaminants and the measures and costs of contaminant clean-up, help recover threatened and endangered species, review proposals for wetland alterations from construction, and recommend measures to enhance fish and wildlife resources in conjunction with the licensing of power facilities and other Federal projects such as shoreline protection, storm flooding, etc. Our work with private individuals, organizations, and other State and Federal agencies protects and enhances fish and wildlife habitat on private, State, and Federal lands. The Offices also provide public information about the value and benefits derived from the conservation and restoration of fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats.

Find out more about us and the work we do in our 2014 Strategic Habitat Conservation Plan (7.4 Mb pdf)! This is a planbook of office events and goals for various focal areas in New York, each containing representative species that we are working to protect and/or enhance.


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Current Issues

11/26/2018 Restoration for the Onondaga Lake Natural Resource Damage Assessment is well underway. For more information go here.

Backhoe in action on Onondaga Lake

10/11/2018 First Recorded Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Hatchlings in New York State

In Queens, NY, an adult Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was observed in July 2018 depositing eggs on West Beach on the Rockaway Peninsula located within the Gateway National Recreation Area, National Park Service (NPS).  This is the first recorded case of a Kemp’s ridley, which primarily nests in the Gulf of Mexico and southeast United States, nesting and depositing eggs in New York State. During the week of September 24, ninety-six hatchlings from this nest crawled out to sea.

Kemp's ridley sea turtle hatchlings

Photo: Steve Sinkevich, USFWS 2018

Kemp’s ridley is the smallest of all sea turtles and critically endangered. It was listed in the United States as endangered throughout its range in 1970.  The Service assisted, coordinated and consulted with the NPS along with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

12/8/2017 Notice of Intent to prepare a draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Buffalo River, Buffalo, New York; request for restoration project suggestions 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Tuscarora Nation, and the State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation (collectively the Trustees) are issuing this notice of intent to prepare a draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for Buffalo River natural resource restoration pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) regulations. The Trustees are requesting public input in identifying specific restoration project ideas to assist the Trustees in the development of the draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Buffalo River, in Buffalo, New York.  In addition to ideas for feasible restoration projects, the draft Restoration Plan will provide criteria and guidance for the Trustees to use in the selection of feasible natural resource restoration projects; it will also identify and evaluate the environmental impacts associated with restoration actions that may be implemented.  More information on the Buffalo River NRDAR, this notice, and the draft Restoration Plan can be found at:  

9/15/2017 Snail survey & release fuels the media! On September 13th, we moved the Chittenango ovate amber snail closer to recovery by releasing 20 captive individuals to the wild.  SUNY ESF technician Cody Gilbertson, has been rearing the snails for 8 months before their release.  The project is funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail close-up

Photo credit: Justin Dalaba, USFWS

Video: Near-Extinct Snail Coaxed into Reproduction at ESF

Biologists searching snail habitat

Photo credit: Justin Dalaba, USFWS

7/17/2017 Service Provides 1 Million to States to Combat Bat-Killing Fungal Disease: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced over $1 million in grants to 37 states and the District of Columbia to help combat white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that has killed millions of North American bats in recent years. Funds will help states find ways to prevent the spread of WNS while increasing survival rates of afflicted species.

The full press release can be viewed here.

6/8/2017 Annual Lake Sturgeon Egg Take: With supportive funding from the Fish Enhancement, Mitigation, and Research Fund, a partnership effort between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the New York Power Authority, aims to recover sturgeon populations within the St. Lawrence River. A crew of NYFO biologists helped with the annual lake sturgeon egg take on the St. Lawrence River. The eggs collected and raised at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin and the Oneida Lake Fish Cultural Station in New York to be stocked as fall fingerlings.

See the New York Time's story.

Collecting Sturgeon eggs

Photo credit: Justin Dalaba, USFWS

3/7/2017 Notice of Final Settlement with Atlantic Richfield Company for Natural Resource Damages at the Sinclair Refinery Superfund Site: Located in Allegany County, New York under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. The Settlement Agreement was finalized on February 28, 2017. The Natural Resource Trustees (USFWS and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) will use $264,500 of the $273,500 settlement to fund projects to restore, rehabilitate, replace, and/or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources injured at the Site. This includes the costs of restoration planning and oversight activities.

More information about the Superfund Site and Settlement can be found at:

1/27/2017 New Biological Technical Publication - Contaminants of Emerging Concern in the Great Lakes Basin: A Report on Sediment, Water, and Fish Tissue Chemistry Collected in 2010-2012: The report summarizes sediment and water chemistry data collected from 2010 to 2012 and fish liver tissue chemistry data collected in 2012; characterizes the sampling locations with respect to potential sources of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in the landscape; and provides an initial interpretation of the variation in CEC concentrations relative to the identified sources. 

The Biological Technical Report can be found at:

More information about the CEC Project can be found at:

11/2/2016 Northeast bulrush propagation: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service New York Field Office (NYFO) has been partnering with the Upper Susquehanna Coalition to propagate northeast bulrush (Scirpus ancistrochaetus) – a federally listed species – within restored vernal pools. Approximately 1700 individual plants were planted in September 2015. After a year, there has been good survival, some seed production, and some recruitment of new plants. With remaining funding from the Upper Susquehanna Conservation Alliance of the New York Field Office, follow-up data will be collected for the New York Natural Heritage Program.

More info about USCA can be found here:

Northeast bulrush in vernal pool

Photo courtesy of Upper Susquehanna Coalition

10/21/2016 Avian Radar Case Study Report: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, initiated a study to document migration patterns along the shoreline of Lake Ontario using four Avian Radar units. This report provides insight on areas with avian migration that could be at high risk from wind energy development. For more information on this project, see here.

Avian Radar Unit

9/29/2016 Eastern Massasauga Listed as Threatened: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is protecting the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. We also determined that designating critical habitat for the eastern massasauga is not prudent due to an increased risk of collection and persecution. The final rule will publish in the Federal Register on September 30, 2016, with an effective date of October 31, 2016. The public inspection version is available September 29, 2016 at

8/31/2016 White-Nose Syndrome Request for Proposals:

USFWS is pleased to announce that the White-Nose Syndrome Small Grants Program for 2016 is now accepting proposals.  As in 2015, we are partnering with Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) to offer this opportunity for funding.  This year we are accepting proposals of up to $40,000 to fund identified priorities. The deadline for proposals is October 12. More info at the WMI website.

7/27/2016: USFWS announces availability of incidental take permit Environmental Action Statement (136 KB pdf) and draft Habitat Conservation Plan (7.9 MB pdf) for Karner blue butterflies from the Slack Chemical Company. More information:
Karner blue butterfly page
Federal Register Notice

7/19/2016: Notice of Availability for Public Comment, Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for Genesee River Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act

The Draft Plan can be found at: Genesee_River_DRAFT_Restoration_Plan.pdf (10 MB pdf)
More information about the Settlement can be found at: 

6/16/2016: Directory Dan Ashe signs Biological Opinion on Transportation Safety Solutions for bats!

Programmatic Biological Opinion Signing

5/21/2016: World Fish Migration Day:

We are celebrating "WFMD" with a new website including graphics from our beloved former Deputy Supervisor Laury Zicari and some new posters as well as a video below. Please check out the "Migration Station" website:


3/15/2016 Comment period for the Great Thicket Land Protection Plan has been extended until April 3, 2016 Read the full press release here.

3/7/2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Revises its Policy on Mitigating Impacts of Development to Further Conservation of the Nation’s Wildlife and their Habitats Read the official press release for more information.




11/6/2018 Neonicotinoid Pesticides in NY/PA streams report:

Biologist sampling for neonecotinoids in a river

You may have heard about a new type of pesticide called neonicotinoids. They are increasingly being used to treat our crops, including crop seeds before they are planted. They end up in farm soil, in wild plants growing near crop fields and in our streams. We found neonicotinoids in almost half of the streams we sampled in New York and Pennsylvania. In two New York streams, neonicotinoids were present at concentrations that could reduce the abundance of beneficial stream insects like mayflies. In one Pennsylvania stream, we found these pesticides in freshwater mussels and in one New York stream, we found them in crayfish. There is also preliminary evidence that neonicotinoids in crops or wild plants may impair the growth and development of butterflies, some of the very insects we need to pollinate our crops.

A report is available here (1MB pdf).

6/7/2018 Aquatic Connectivity in the Genesee River
New York Field Office Partners for Fish and Wildlife staff gave a presentation to the Town of Caneadea members, local farmers, the Genesee RiverWatch, and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) on stream restoration practices focusing on adding large trees with intact root wads to stabilize stream banks (instead of rock or rip rap). 

Genesee River

After the presentation, NYFO staff visited the site of four eroding streambanks near the Towns of Caneadea and Angelica.  The restoration of eroding streambanks is a preferred restoration option within the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Draft Restoration Plan for the Genesee River.  The goal is to finalize the Restoration Plan for the Genesee River and request project proposals in 2018 and select projects for funding and begin restoration project implementation in 2019.

10/4/2017 Service Finds Migratory Songbird Does Not Warrant Endangered Species Act Protection

The Bicknell’s thrush, a migratory songbird that summers in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act. Although the agency expects the species to face some range-wide losses in its forested habitat, a review completed earlier this summer suggests that populations are likely to persist through the foreseeable future.The Service found that temperature and precipitation patterns are changing, and deforestation is expected to continue, but these threats are not likely to place the Bicknell’s thrush in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future, considered for this decision to be the next 30 years.

More information -

5/16/2017 Questions and Answers Regarding Habitat and Beach Management at Smith Point County Park, Suffolk County, New York: Recently there have been several statements and inquiries made regarding our involvement in Smith Point County Park vegetation and off-road vehicle management as outlined in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Fire Island Inlet to Moriches Inlet Stabilization Project. As a result, we are providing clarity regarding our role.

Questions and answers can be viewed here.

4/24/2017 Officials Propose Projects for Restoring Wildlife Habitat and Recreation on Onondaga Lake: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are considering a series of projects to restore and protect wildlife habitat and water quality and increase recreational opportunities at Onondaga Lake. The draft restoration plan and environmental assessment has been released for public comment through July 17th, 2017.

For more info, see:

Biologist in boat with binoculars

1/12/2017 Notice of Availability for Public Comment - Proposed Settlement with Atlantic Richfield Company for Natural Resource Damages at the Sinclair Refinery Superfund Site: Located in Allegany County, New York under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

The Federal Register Notice can be found at:

More information about the Superfund Site and Settlement can be found at:

12/8/2016 IJC Announces Approval for Implementing Plan 2014 - A Win for the Environment: After years of debating the outdated water level regulation plan, the International Joint Commission (IJC) has approved the new Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Water Level Regulation Plan.  Under this plan, water levels will vary more naturally and be allowed to go slightly lower and higher than the current plan, 1958DD.  Plan 1958DD is outdated and resulted in thousands of acres of wetlands becoming monotypic cattail stands.  Approximately 64,000 acres of wetlands will substantially benefit from the new regulation plan, along with their respective fish and wildlife.  At the same time, hydropower production will increase and recreational boaters will benefit.  The Service has been involved in the development of this plan since 2000.

Read the full news release here:

11/21/2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Final Policy on Mitigating Impacts of Development to Further Conservation of Nation’s Wildlife and their Habitats This final policy provides a framework for more efficient and effective mitigation measures while facilitating review and approval of development projects.

More information can be found at this link:

10/31/2016 Eastern Massasauga (rattlesnake) Final Listing Rule (NY, PA): The rule to list the eastern massasauga as a threatened species became effective October 31, 2016. The Service had previously determined at the time of the 2015 proposed rule that designating critical habitat for the species was not prudent. The final rule and supporting documents can be found at

10/26/2016 Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge Approved: After an extensive public process, plans for the nation's newest wildlife refuge have been finalized and approved! With the cooperation of landowners and other partners, the Service can now acquire up to 15,000 acres of land dedicated to conserving and maintaining young forest habitat across New England and eastern New York. The goal is to return balance to northeast woodlands and to benefit shrubland-dependent wildlife.

Read more about the refuge and the species it will benefit here:

Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge

10/25/2016 Invasive Aquatic Plant Confirmed in Tioga County:

The highly invasive aquatic plant, Hydrilla verticillata, has recently been confirmed in Tioga County. The plant's ability to dominate a waterbody in thick mats, which block sunlight, is a concern for the displacement of native vegetation and the alteration of water chemistry ( To learn more about this organism and how to help prevent the spread of invasives, visit

Invasive Aquatic Hydrilla verticillataPhoto courtesy of

9/21/2016: Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Proposed Endangered:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Publication of the proposed rule opens a 60-day public comment period that will close on November 21, 2016. More information can be found at

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

6/20/2016: It's pollinator week!

Check out our National Blog.

4/25/2016 Bird's Eye View of Conservation! The New York Field Office has been working to assess and restore habitat in the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern since 2010. See some of the habitat restoration work our staff has done in this great flyover video. More video and information is available on the USFWS Northeast Regional Blog.

Bicknell's thrush
Photo by T.B. Ryder, USFWS

4/4/2016 USFWS Seeks Information Concerning Bicknell’s Thrush This migratory songbird with summer breeding grounds in the high-elevation forests of New York and New England is currently being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act.  We are seeking the best available scientific and commercial information concerning the species’ biology, range, population trends, stressors/threats, as well as conservation needs for it and its habitat.

We would appreciate receiving any relevant information by May 1, 2016 submitted to the following address:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New England Field Office, Attn: Bicknell’s Thrush, 70 Commercial Street, Suite 300, Concord, New Hampshire 03301

Questions can be directed to Tim Sullivan at our office: or 607-753-9334.

1/21/2016 Seeking public comment on proposed Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge  The USFWS has proposed a brand new National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in the Northeast!  The proposed Great Thicket NWR would focus on providing shrubland and young forest for species like the New England cottontail, American woodcock, and many others that rely on this habitat type.

We’re looking for comments from YOU on the draft land protection plan for Great Thicket.  To see the full draft plan and learn more about the proposed refuge or how to submit comments, visit

Nothern Long-eared Bat

1/14/2016 Northern Long-eared Bat Final 4(d) Rule The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a final rule today that uses flexibilities under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to tailor protections to areas affected by white-nose syndrome during the bat’s most sensitive life stages. The rule is designed to protect the bat while minimizing regulatory requirements for landowners, land managers, government agencies, and others within the species’ range.

eastern newt

1/12/2016 Listing Salamanders as Injurious Due to Risk of Salamander Chytrid Fungus To help prevent a deadly fungus from killing native salamanders, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published an interim rule list 201 salamander species as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act. The fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, also known as Bsal or salamander chytrid, is carried on the skin of various salamander species. Bsal has caused major die-offs of salamanders in Europe and poses an imminent threat to U.S. native salamander populations. The fungus is not yet known to be found in the United States, and to help ensure it remains that way, the Service is publishing an interim rule that will take effect on January 28, 2016. At that time, the importation and interstate transportation of the listed species will be prohibited. The rule also opens a 60-day public comment period (please see the rule in the Federal Register for instructions on how to submit a public comment).

News Release (pdf): “Service Lists 201 Salamander Species as Injurious to Help Keep Lethal Fungus Out of U.S." January 12, 2016

Interim Rule (pdf): in Federal Register on January 13, 2016

Please see the first page of the Interim Rule for instructions on how to submit public comments. The comment period ends on March 14, 2016.

1/4/2016 Service Releases 2015 List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act Protection The Service today released the Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly status appraisal of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act protection. Two species were removed from the list, and two changed in priority from the last review, conducted in December 2014, including the whitebark pine and Hirst Brothers' panic grass. There are now 60 species recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection.

See our other updates at the Newsroom!

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Last updated: November 26, 2018
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.