Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America

Raleigh Field Office

Welcome to the Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office web site. We work to protect endangered and threatened species, migratory birds and migratory fish and their habitat in North Carolina. To accomplish our mission the Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office has these programs: Coastal, Environmental Contaminants, Endangered Species, Project Planning, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finds Yellow Lance Mussel Warrants Endangered Species Act Protection

A freshwater mussel native to waters from Maryland to North Carolina along the Atlantic seaboard is declining. Recent surveys showed the yellow lance mussel has lost 57 percent of its historical range. As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing that it be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Comment period open until June 5, 2017. Read the complete story...

For more information download the frequently asked questions(pdf) for this proposal, review the Yellow Lance Species Status Assessment (pdf) or visit the yellow lance species profile.

Manatee Reclassified from Endangered to Threatened as Habitat Improves and Population Expands – Existing Federal Protections Remain in Place. Partnerships bringing giant sea cow back from brink of extinction.




On the heels of Manatee Appreciation Day, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the downlisting of the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened. Notable increases in manatee populations and improvements in its habitat allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to change the species’ status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Find out more.

Raleigh Field Office launches online project reviews.

January 13, 2017

Join us on January 26, 2016 or January 31, 2016, at 11:00 AM for an online presentation to get acquainted with our online project review. We are very excited to announce the launch of a new website for Project Planning. Visit us and browse through it at https://www.fws.gov/raleigh/pp.html. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) Raleigh Field Office provides technical assistance to private individuals and organizations, as well as federal, state, and local agencies under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). We are asking people to sign up here to ensure we have enough lines available.  Make the headcount! Find out more.

Citizens Urged: Report Manatee Sightings to Ensure Timely Rescues

manatee snouts above water

Manatee snout

Photo by: FFWCC, Florida, US

News Advisory

December 2, 2016
Fall at North Carolina’s coast is fantastic! Crowds dwindle as the cooler temperatures sweep away summer's heat.  A continually more refreshing breeze gives advanced notice that winter is coming. Most of the bugs are gone by now. They know all too well that fall weather can change on a whim. But, while the warmth of the sun remains strong and steady, enchanting all that remain by the shore into a state of complacency this can lead one to ignore the fact cold weather can disable and even result in death.

Manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) are often seen along the North Carolina coast and in estuaries, rivers and sounds in warmer months of the year. These animals are particularly vulnerable to cold stress from rapidly cooling water temperatures in the fall. Each year, manatees throughout the southeastern Atlantic coast are affected by the cold, a condition better known as Manatee Cold Stress Syndrome (CSS). Cold stressed manatees become torpid, sluggish, and incapable of swimming to southerly warm water sanctuaries where they are safe from the cold. In such situations the manatees can die unless rescued and treated promptly.

Read the full story...

Manatee Viewing Guide for North Carolina

Programming Conservation

Gary Jordan in Johnston County, NC on June 21, 2016.

Oct. 31, 2016

Gary Jordan is really looking forward to tonight. His gear is ready. The headlamp has fresh batteries, his gloves are packed, and the new net is loaded in the back of his truck. Gary is a biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Raleigh, North Carolina, and he will be looking for bats. He’ll drive a little more than two hours from Raleigh to the Coastal Plain. Once there, he’ll meet up with private consultants working as contractors. They’ll set up nets near swamps after they thoroughly think through the best location. They’ll try to outsmart the bats by predicting which direction they might fly. They’ll need to work quickly to be ready before the sun goes down. That’s when the bats start coming out. There is no way to predict which kinds of bats they'll get or how many. But they are looking for one in particular: the northern long-eared bat (NLEB). Gary and his friends will have fun tonight regardless of what happens, because for them, the thrill is in the chase. Read more...

Science Leads Fish and Wildlife Service to Significant Changes for Red Wolf Recovery

Photo by J. Froshauer

Sep. 13, 2016

Recovery of the red wolf in the wild is feasible with significant changes that must be implemented to secure the captive and wild populations.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said today it will begin implementing a series of actions based on the best and latest scientific information gathered over the past 21 months. Today’s announcement comes after a two-year, two-step evaluation of the entire red wolf recovery program, including the evaluation of the captive population and the non-essential, experimental population in Eastern North Carolina, that began in 2014 with a peer-reviewed program assessment by the Wildlife Management Institute. This review was expanded last June to include the recommendations of a red wolf recovery team that examined feasibility of recovery in the wild, population viability, red wolf taxonomy, the historical range, and human dimensions. https://www.fws.gov/redwolf/evaluation.html

Welcome Back to School and the Shad in the Classroom Program

big group of kids standing on a river bank watching a science demonstrationStudents from the Vance Charter School release at the Roanoke River. Photo by the NC Museum of Natural History, Shad in the Classroom Program, 2016.

Aug 16, 2016

Children are naturally curious about water and fascinated by creatures that swim. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is banking on this premise to bring kids closer to nature and help recover the American Shad.

A new school year is here, which means over 600 new students will get the chance to go through the Shad in The Classroom experience. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences educates teachers and they in turn educate their students. A teacher orientation and training session kicks off the activities early in the year. Teachers receive equipment and instruction for raising shad in the classroom. They learn ways to incorporate shad and aquatic ecology into their curriculum through immersive and hands-on activities. Discussions about key topics include the American shad’s survival, the species cultural and biological importance, its ecological connections to other species and habitats, and the significance of genetic integrity. The kids will get to know their local rivers better, help restore American shad and hopefully be inspired to become the biologists and ecologists of tomorrow. Read the complete story here.

United States Fish & Wildlife Service recognized as Federal Government-Conservation Partner of the Year.

(L. to R.) Janice Allen (NCCLT) with Raleigh field staff, John Ann Shearer, Sara Ward and Mike Wicker, recipients of tthe 2016 Government Partner of the Year Award. Photo by Conservation Trust for NC 6/25/2016, Raleigh, NC.

June 14, 2016

Our conservation efforts in North Carolina have clearly aligned with those of local land trusts. The Conservation Trust for North Carolina- an organization comprised of 24 local land trusts - gathered May 25-26, 2016 for their annual Land Trust Assembly and awards ceremony. During the event, Service representatives from multiple offices received the 2016 Government Partner of the Year Award. The NC Coastal Land Trust nominated the Service for this award, thus acknowledging fruitful collaboration with biologists John Ann Shearer, Mike Wicker, Sara Ward (Raleigh, NC Office), Kendall Smith (Columbia Migratory Bird Office), Craig Watson (Charleston, SC Field Office) and Cynthia Bohn (Atlanta, GA Regional Office). In a statement, Janice Allen, Deputy Director of the NC Coastal Land Trust, said “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been a solid partner to the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust and other NC land trusts for many years. The federal biologists we have had the pleasure to work with are positive, energetic, helpful and well-respected. They have contributed a tremendous amount of time and resources to so many of our successful wildlife and wetland conservation projects.”

More information available here.


Field Discoveries

June 13, 2016

We want to share some photos our biologist, Dale Suiter took during recent field visits in eastern NC. The alligator was spotted at Holly Shelter Game Land in a wet ditch, but otherwise not a place you'd expect to see an alligator, especially one of that size.  Last week, while establishing some seabeach amaranth seed plots at Topsail Beach, Dale and his colleagues Mike Kunz and Jacquelyn Fitzgerald with the NC Botanical Garden found one seabeach amaranth plant and a piping plover nest with two eggs.  They reported the plover nest to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and Audubon North Carolina.


We can save the monarch with a concerted national effort.

June 8, 2016

Monarch butterfly by Lilibeth Serrano, FWS, 9/8/15

The North American monarch butterfly, one of the world's most remarkable and fascinating migrant creatures, travels thousands of miles over North America. Over recent years, scientists have documented a decline in the supply of milkweed plants the monarch needs and a sharp drop in the monarch population. The monarch is in trouble, but we can reverse the trend with a concerted national effort.

National Pollinator Week is Coming Up: June 2o-26, 2016

The state of monarchs reflects the health of the American landscape and its pollinators. In 2006, the U.S. Senate designated the last week in June as “National Pollinator Week” to educate the public about the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats, and beetles, and their declining numbers.

Get involved

Share your monarch pictures with us here. Visit Pollinator Partnership to find an event near you or put yours on the map. The site offers a wealth of information to plan and promote a broad range of activities. It can be as simple as planting a window box at home or you can design a bigger project to amplify the benefits. The Service documented the experience of a school in Eastern North Carolina that planted a Schoolyard Pollinator Garden during the 2015-2016 academic year. Follow these links to find out more: project description, photo album, and video.


The Northern Long-eared Bat in Eastern North Carolina

May 3, 2016

hand with blue glove holding down a bat.
NLEB captured during a survey in March 2016.

Click on the image for a downloadable high-resolution version .

We are conducting surveys in Eastern North Carolina

In early March, a group of biologists captured four northern long-eared bat (NLEB) on two separate surveys at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare County, NC and the Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge in Bertie County, NC. The goal of the surveys was to find evidence of the NLEB roosting in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain during the winter. 

New information resources are available for project planning.

We are making available to the public new maps to help you identify areas that need attention due to the proximity to maternity roosting sites.

Services Revise Proposal for Improving Endangered Species Act Petition Process

April 19, 2016

In consideration of feedback from the public and stakeholder groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) have revised their proposed improvements to the regulations governing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) petitioning process. The regulations guide how species are petitioned for listing, delisting or reclassification under the ESA, and how critical habitat is petitioned for revision. The proposed changes are designed to improve the quality of petitions the Service receives and promote better coordination with state wildlife agencies.

Comment period closes 05/23/2016. The Federal Register Notice isavailable for public inspection at https://federalregister.gov/a/2016-09200.

Read the full story...


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Last Updated: March 31, 2017