What We Do

Endangered Species Conservation in North Carolina

On April 14, 2014, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the Service translocated about 400 shiners into the upper Rocky River, where numbers of the species had been very low. Monitoring demonstrated that the shiners were doing well and likely spawning.

Early intervention to maintain biodiversity

Documenting populations of At-Risk Species is vital before declines and damage to populations escalate. Restoration and conservation activities can also be applied so protection under the Endangered Species Act becomes unnecessary.

Managing protected species

Accelerating recovery for species that are already protected or proposed for protection as threatened or endangered is a core component of our work. Plants and animals endemic to our state and neighboring states are a priority for us. We work cooperatively with the state of North Carolina and other partners to fulfill mandates, aspects of the ESA that only the Service can do including developing and publishing recovery plans, five-year reviews, down- and de-listing rules, responsibilities that cannot be delegated.

Special emphasis is devoted to the Red Wolf Recovery Program with staff based in Manteo, North Carolina and a footprint on the five counties that comprise the Albemarle Peninsula: Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington counties. In Moore County, we deliver the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Safe Harbor Agreement for the Sandhills Ecoregion.

We also collaborate with biologists in other field offices to recover listed species having a broad geographic range (extending beyond our work area, but with significant populations locally). We provide expertise about the following species and their habitat requirements within eastern North Carolina: the Northern long-eared bat, dwarf wedgemussel, James spinymussel, shortnose sturgeon, red-cockaded woodpecker, Bermuda petrel, Great Lakes population of piping plover, Michaux’s sumac, Seabeach amaranth, Cooley’s meadowrue and rough-leaf loosestrife.

Population management

Supporting other institutions holding and propagating rare species in captivity, and stocking captively raised individuals into appropriate habitat in the wild is fundamental for narrow endemic animals like the Carolina Madtom catfish, the Atlantic pigtoe mussel and the Magnificent ramshorn snail. 

Funding support

Assisting others identify funding sources to carry out habitat enhancement/restoration activities that benefit trust resources in their lands.

Habitat conservation

Assisting various federal agencies in analyzing impacts to fish and wildlife resources of the projects that they either perform, permit, license, or fund is a a core responsibility for many in our team. Guidance on how and when to submit a project for review can be in the Project Planning and Consultation section of our website.

Habitat management

Restoring degraded streams and wetlands that are home to imperiled species. This can include identifying and eliminating sources of sediment, removing stream barriers such as decrepit dams, or controlling invasive exotic plants that threatened the nature of a habitat. When environmental contaminants are involved, we also assist identify harm and quantify damages caused to trust resources and assist in the recovery of damaged habitats that support trust resources.

Coastal Program in North Carolina 

Saltmarsh in Carteret County within the  Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary in North Carolina. Photo by L. Serrano.

The National Coastal Program is one of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s most effective resources for restoring and protecting fish and wildlife habitat on public and privately-owned lands. North Carolina has a vast and rich coastal ecosystem that many people depend on for fishing, farming and recreational activities. In North Carolina, the coastal program works beyond our sandy beaches to help the extensive river system that empties into the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.  

Population shift and climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
exacerbate the loss of natural habitat. The coastal program in North Carolina restores, protects and enhances habitat important for rare plants and animals. Together with its partners it has restored fish access to more than 1,500 miles of river and streams through the removal of dams or the building of fish ladders. The Coastal Program in North Carolina along with its partners has been instrumental in the development of techniques that restore habitat such as new seedling technology for the Atlantic White cedar, a globally threatened ecosystem.  

The North Carolina Coastal Program works with willing partners to restore and conserve coastal waters and wetlands. Recent work supported the federally protected plant, sensitive joint-vetch.  At Mattamuskeet Refuge, Sensitive joint-vetch was last observed in 1995.  The Raleigh Field Office (Coastal Program and Endangered Species biologist) and Mattamuskeet Refuge partnered with the NC Botanical Garden (NCBG) to reintroduce this rare plant to the Refuge.  

Barrier Islands and Estuary Focus Area  

This area supports many federally listed and at-risk species on the barrier islands and in the Albemarle Pamlico Estuary, the second largest estuary in the country. 

Cape Fear and Deep River Focus Area  

The Cape Fear and Deep Rivers provide important habitat to many listed and at-risk species and have the potential for great improvement with the continuation of on-going efforts. 


Atlantic White Cedar Restoration Project at Pocosin Lakes NWR Reports: 

  • Back Bay Currituck Sound Data Reports 
  • Introduction and Vegetation Reports 
  • Waterfowl Reports 
  • Fish Reports 


Mike Wicker, Coastal Program Coordinator, Raleigh Field Office at 919-856-4520, ext. 22 ormike_wicker@fws.gov

Our Services

We offer multiple services connected to wildlife conservation:

  • Evaluate current conditions for imperiled species, model future conditions and develop recovery implementation strategies for some of the most imperiled listed, proposed, or rare-endemic species in our work area 
  • Collaborate with others to recreate natural channel designs to restore hydrology and vegetation to benefit fish and mussels.
  • Fund and help conduct surveys on at-risk species; 
  • Help private landowner introduce prescribed fire to grasslands-and other management actions- to benefit imperiled species like the Venus flytrap.
  • Conduct consultation, habitat conservation planning activities, and candidate conservation activities under the Endangered Species Act; 
  • Reduce impacts to fish, wildlife, and their habitats in the state from federally funded or authorized projects (e.g., Federal Energy Regulatory Commission activities)
  • Conserve wetlands through the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act
  • Plan and implement stakeholder engagement strategies to promote conservation of rare aquatic species in key locations of our work area
  • Identify, reduce, and prevent contamination of fish and wildlife resources through technical assistance, investigations, monitoring, and technical reviews of environmental contaminant issues
  •  Protect the ecological integrity of our national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries statewide
  • Conserve migratory birds
  •  Conduct education and outreach activities in support of fish and wildlife conservation
Mojave desert tortoise

Since two-thirds of federally listed species have at least some habitat on private land, and some species have most of their remaining habitat on private land, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has developed an array of tools and incentives to protect the...

Monarch butterfly sitting on flower

NOTE: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) finalized new Endangered Species Act (ESA) section 10(a) implementing regulations, which became effective on May 13, 2024. The changes simplify section 10(a)(1)(A) by combining Candidate Conservation...

Butterfly rests on tall flowering plant.

The purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is to provide a means to conserve the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend and provide a program for the conservation of such species. The ESA directs all federal agencies to participate in conserving these species....

Our Projects and Research

Laws and Regulations

  • Endangered Species Act 
  • Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act 
  • National Environmental Policy Act 
  • Clean Water Act 
  • Federal Power Act, 
  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act 
  • Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act 
  • Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act