A curious pair of black-footed ferret kits. Photo: Ryan Moehring, USFWS.

Cooperative Recovery Initiative

Through the Cooperative Recovery Initiative (CRI) the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with partners to help prevent extinction, recover species and protect habitats that benefit both wildlife and people.

CRI is a strategic, cross-programmatic approach to recovering federally listed species on National Wildlife Refuges (Refuges) and surrounding lands that provides opportunities for focused, large scale on the ground conservation efforts that typically have few venues for funding. Projects are focused on implementing urgently needed actions for critically endangered species that are at risk of going extinct without intervention, or for implementing recovery actions for species near delisting or reclassification from endangered to threatened or that will significantly improve the status of one or more listed species.

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Cooperative Recovery Initiative at National Wildlife Refuge Means Hope for Miami Blue Butterfly

One of Nine Projects Receiving Funding for Species Recovery on 12 Refuges across 12 States

Miani Blue Butterfly
Miami blue butterfly. Photo: Molly McCarter, USFWS

The monarch butterfly may get more publicity, but the Miami blue is even more imperiled and one of North America’s most critically endangered insects. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to change that. This small, brightly colored non-migratory butterfly can only be found in a handful of populations on remote islands within the Key West National Wildlife Refuge and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Staff will be working to establish populations over a much larger geographic range in south Florida. The Miami blue project will enable experts to learn about captive breeding and reintroduction so a stable population can be established across the Florida Keys and eventually in the Everglades.

Since 2013, the Service has funded 66 projects for nearly $27 million through the CRI. The Miami blue project is one of 9 projects on 12 national wildlife refuges across 12 states, which are receiving more than $3.74 million in fiscal year 2017 through the Cooperative Recovery Initiative (CRI) to help recover threatened or endangered species on or near national wildlife refuges. Besides the butterfly, other species to benefit from CRI funding include ocelots, Puritan tiger beetles, masked bobwhite quail and spectacled eiders.