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.

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.

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Update: Red Wolf Recovery Review Progressing Towards Recommendations

Adult red wolf. Credit: Brad McPhee, Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

In June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its intent to gather additional science and research to guide recovery of the red wolf, protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for more than four decades. At that time, the Service reaffirmed its management practices would be confined to the 1995 special rule (10j) currently in place. Since that announcement, the Service has taken steps to involve state partners and key stakeholders in this review that will support the agency’s recovery effort in future actions for red wolves.

The Service is adjusting its timeframe to complete the review addressing what may be needed for recovery and whether it can be implemented across the landscape by summer 2016.

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Red Wolf Program Review Website


Chatham Conservation Partnership recognized Sarah McRae for dedicated service.

From L to R: Brooke Massa (WRC), Sarah, Catherine Deininger (Biocenosis, LLC), and Gretchen Smith (CCP volunteer for outreach)


  • Sarah McRae, Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the Raleigh Field Office, received the Dedicated Service Award from the Chatham Conservation Partnership (CCP). Chatham County includes critical habitat for the endangered Cape Fear shiner and natural areas important for at risk species and migratory birds. Sarah’s vision and presence were key to forming the CCP in 2006 and developing the MOU and Charter that officially solidified the group in 2007. Sarah has remained active to advance their mission to develop and implement strategies for a community conservation vision that builds awareness, protection and stewardship of Chatham County's natural resources.  Sarah’s service was recognized by the CCP’s steering committee for excellent assistance and leadership – a great example of the Service’s priority of working with partners.  Congratulations Sarah!



Public input sought on restoring Cape Fear River natural resources near Wilmington

NAVASSA, N.C. – State and federal agencies are seeking public participation

to identify opportunities to restore natural resources damaged due to decades of contamination from a former wood treatment operation near Wilmington.
The agencies released a restoration scoping document today that details the environmental injuries from the wood treatment operation in Navassa, a small town in southeastern North Carolina. The scoping document describes concepts for restoring the resources, criteria for identifying suitable restoration projects, and an explanation of the restoration planning process.

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USFWS seeks landowners to help conserve habitat for monarch butterflies in NC

Hard-to-find milkweed plants offered at no cost to landowners.


Migrating monarch butterflies are getting new hope in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, in cooperation with the North Carolina Botanical Garden, is seeking landowners in selected parts of North Carolina who are interested in creating and/or maintaining meadows to conserve monarch butterflies.

“We are looking for farmers, foresters, ranchers and other landowners interested in turning one or more acres of fallow fields or meadows west of I-95 into a welcome sight for the monarchs,” explained John Ann Shearer, USFWS biologist.  Qualifying landowners can receive up to 20 milkweed plants per acre at no cost to them.

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Restoring a Native Plant Meadow in North Carolina

Native prairies have disappeared across North

Carolina, and are now the least represented habitat in the state's Piedmont Region—the plateau nestled between the coastal plain and the Appalachian Mountains. Converted to croplands, pastures, roads, and housing, this land now offers little value to the diversity of wildlife it once supported.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is working to improve and recreate prairies, which offer high-quality habitat for wildlife. In 2011, the Service joined the Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC) to establish a demonstration project 

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Dan River Natural Resource Trustees Seek Public Input on Draft Damage Assessment Plan for Dan River Coal Ash Spill

June 16, 2015

Biologists assessing the injured natural resources. Photo: USFWS.

State and federal partners are seeking public feedback on a plan to assess potential natural resource injuries resulting from the release of hazardous substances into the Dan River and associated habitats downstream.  
A natural resource damage assessment and restoration process was initiated by the natural resource trustees (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources) to address the Feb. 2, 2014 coal ash spill at the Dan River Steam Station in Eden, N.C.
The trustees’ Draft Dan River Coal Ash Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan outlines the procedures to be used to evaluate potential injuries to natural resources and the services they provide to the public.
To obtain a copy of the draft assessment plan and learn more about the damage assessment and restoration process for the Dan River coal ash spill, visit http://on.doi.gov/1MZqV6p and select the Draft Assessment Plan link.

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Reclassification of green sea turtles proposed.

Comment period open through June 22, 2015

March 24, 2015

green sea turtle nesting on the beach

Green sea turtle nesting on the beach.


NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service propose to reclassify green sea turtles under the Endangered Species Act as certain populations improve. The proposal would recognize the listed species under the Endangered Species Act, not as single entity but as 11 Distinct Population Segments (DPS). Identifying distinct population segments across the globe would provide the flexibility necessary to help individual populations based on localized threats. The 11 populations would include: 1. North Atlantic, 2. Mediterranean, 3. South Atlantic, 4. Southwest Indian, 5. North Indian, 6. East Indian-West Pacific, 7. Central West Pacific, 8. Southwest Pacific, 9. Central South Pacific, 10. Central North Pacific, 11. East Pacific.

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Service Teams with Conservation Partners to Launch Campaign to Save Beleaguered Monarch Butterfly, Engage Millions of Americans

February 9, 2015


monarch butterfly side view.

A monarch butterfly


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today launched a major new campaign aimed at saving the declining monarch butterfly. The Service signed a cooperative agreement with the National Wildlife Federation announced a major new funding initiative with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and pledged an additional $2 million in immediate funding for on-the-ground conservation projects around the country. While monarchs are found across the United States their numbers have declined by approximately 90 percent in recent years, a result of numerous threats particularly loss of habitat due to agricultural practices, development and cropland conversion. To directly tackle these challenges, the new cooperative effort will build a network of diverse conservation partners and stakeholders to protect and restore important monarch habitat, while also reaching out to Americans of all ages who can play a central role.
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Save the Monarch


NOAA, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, North Carolina to Restore Natural Resources Affected by Wood Treatment Plant

February 4, 2015


Aerial Map illustration showing the restoration site at the Kerr-McKee former wood-treatment processing plant in Navassa, North Carolina. Credit: NOAA

A fund administered by NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in their capacity as natural resource trustees, has received a disbursement of more than $13 million and anticipate receiving an additional estimated $9 million to restore natural resources harmed by the activities of Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp. as part of the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history.

The jointly recovered funds will be used in a multi-year effort to restore natural resources and habitats injured by the release of hazardous substances from the former Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp. wood treatment facility in Navassa, North Carolina. The trustees also received an earlier disbursement of $915,836 for the site.

The two disbursements are part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) settlement with Andarko Petroleum Corp. and it subsidiaries. The $5.15 billion settlement is the largest payment for the cleanup of environmental contamination ever obtained in a DOJ lawsuit.


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