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Fish and Wildlife Service Conducts Five-Year Status Reviews of 14 Caribbean Species

August 17, 2016

A white and brown snake coiled around a green vine.
Puerto Rican boa. Photo: Jan Paul Zegarra, USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct five-year status reviews of 12 endangered and two threatened species occurring in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. The public is invited to provide information and comments concerning these species on or before October 18, 2016.

These five-year reviews will ensure listing classifications under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are accurate. In addition to reviewing the classification of these species, a five--year review presents an opportunity to track the species’ recovery progress. It may benefit species by providing valuable information to guide future conservation efforts. Information gathered during a review can assist in making funding decisions, consideration related to reclassifying species status, conducting interagency consultations, making permitting decisions, and determining whether to update recovery plans, and other actions under the ESA.

This notice announces a review of two birds, two boas, and eight plants currently listed as endangered: Yellow-shouldered blackbird, Puerto Rican plain pigeon, Puerto Rican boa, Virgin Islands boa, and the plants Auerodendron pauciflorum, Catesbaea melanocarpa, Elaphoglossum serpens, Mitracarpus maxwelliae, M. polycladus, Polystichum calderonense, Tectaria estremerana, and bariaco (Trichilia triacantha).

Two Grenada County Men Pled Guilty To The Illegal Sale of Game Fish

August 1, 2016

A USFWS Office of Law Enforcement Badge
USFWS Office of Law Enforcement Badge

OXFORD, MS — Felicia C. Adams, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, and Luis Santiago, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, announced that:

Roger Lee Reed, 56, of Holcomb, Mississippi, and John Randle, 80, of Grenada, Mississippi, plead guilty before United States Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders, in Aberdeen, Mississippi, on July 29, 2016, and June 30, 2016, respectively, to one count each of the sale of game fish, including crappie, in violation of state and federal law. Curtis V. Brown, 73, of Coffeeville, Mississippi, was convicted on June 30, 2016, following a bench trial before Magistrate Judge Sanders of one count of the sale of game fish, including crappie, in violation of state and federal law.

Following their convictions, each defendant was sentenced to a term of probation of two (2) years and ordered to pay a fine of $975.00 each. As a condition of their probation, each defendant will be prohibited from hunting or fishing in any manner or any location for a period of one (1) year and each defendant will likewise be prohibited from entering any Corps of Engineers property for a period of two (2) years. Reed will also be prohibited from entering any National Wildlife Refuge property for a period of two (2) years.

UCF to Establish Permanent Sea Turtle Research Field Station on Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

July 27, 2016

A tiny sea turtle the size of a thumb waves it's scaly arm.
A rescued baby loggerhead sea turtle waves hello to the camera. Credit: Keith Fuller, USFWS.

ORLANDO, FL — The University of Central Florida and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have reached a historic agreement that will establish a permanent conservation research facility along the Brevard County coastline.

UCF has run a sea turtle monitoring and research program on the beaches of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in southern Brevard County for more than 30 years. UCF findings about sea turtle behavior are among the reasons the refuge was created in 1990. In recent years, UCF biologists and their students have used facilities at the refuge as a base from which they do most of their work, which includes early morning and overnight beach surveys.

The new agreement gives the university more control and responsibility for the existing structures onsite, establishes a protocol that will allow UCF to build research facilities and a plan that will give UCF oversight of the facilities for 40 years or more.

“This agreement cements a decades-old partnership between the University of Central Florida and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said College of Sciences Dean Michael Johnson, who worked with a team from the college to make the agreement happen. “I am thrilled at the opportunity that this gives us to shape the future science of marine turtle conservation.”

Corps and Service Agree On Actions for Conserving Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow and Restoring Balance to Everglades Ecosystem
Restoration efforts already underway must happen faster to protect water, wildlife habitat and other natural resources

July 22, 2016

A Cape Sable seaside sparrow perched on grass.
By David A. La Puma (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) are taking additional steps under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to restore balance to the Florida Everglades ecosystem and help reverse decades-long population declines of the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow.

These steps are outlined in a new biological opinion on the Corps’ Everglades Restoration Transition Plan (ERTP), which was implemented in 2012 to guide improved management of water flows in the Everglades. The new biological opinion will guide the Corps and partners in the Everglades restoration effort in better managing water in ways that improve habitat essential to the Cape Sable seaside sparrow.

Actions called for in the biological opinion include operational modifications and expediting restoration initiatives already planned for the southern portion of the Everglades ecosystem to aid in providing suitable nesting habitat for the sparrow. These measures will allow the movement of additional water southward under the Tamiami Trail One-Mile Bridge flowing through the Everglades and into Florida Bay in ways that avoid prolonged flooding of the sparrow’s habitat during the nesting season. They will also provide much-needed fresh water into the Everglades and Florida Bay, benefitting wildlife such as American crocodiles, West Indian manatees, sea turtles, dolphins, a variety of bird species and gamefish.

Service Proposes Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges
Hunting and Sport Fishing Expansion Proposed for Atchafalaya, Black Bayou Lake and Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuges in the Southeast

July 13, 2016

Two shotguns emerge from a duck blind at Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge.
Two hunters at Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Michael Johnson, USFWS.

The value to Americans provided by national wildlife refuges was highlighted today when U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe announced the agency is proposing to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 13 national wildlife refuges across the United States. This includes migratory bird, upland game, big game hunting and sport fishing.

Hunting for elk is proposed for the first time in designated areas of Baca National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado, as well as in expanded areas of Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge and Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, both in Colorado.

The proposed rule also includes opening sport fishing of state-regulated species for the first time at Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota, and expanding areas available for sport fishing at Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana. In addition, the proposal modifies existing refuge-specific regulations on more than 70 additional refuges and wetland management districts throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Reward Increased in Tennessee Bald Eagle Shooting Death
$7,500 for Information Leading to a Conviction

June 6, 2016

A bald eagle standing on a post
Bald eagle. Photo: USFWS

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are adding a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the shooting of a bald eagle found in Hamilton County, Tennessee. This reward comes following a $2,500 reward offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which continues to investigate the case with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Previous reward offerings have been unsuccessful in generating any leads.

The Case: On March 9, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers discovered a bald eagle in the Lost Lake Subdivision area of Hamilton County. Investigators believe the eagle was shot sometime between March 1 and March 9.

Bald eagles are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Penalties for violation of these laws include civil penalties, criminal penalties and/or prison.

“This senseless shooting and the blatant disregard for the survival of our national icon is appalling,” said Eric Swafford, Tennessee state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for their diligent efforts to bring the offender to justice.”

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Last updated: August 22, 2016