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Southwest Region Highlights HotTopics

Black-capped Vireo. Credit: Gil Eckrich
Proposed Plan for Ensuring Long-Term Health of Recovered Songbird Available for Public Comment

March 2018
In December 2016, as a result of collaborative conservation efforts with a range of long-standing partners, the Service determined the black-capped vireo had recovered and proposed removing it from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. To ensure the species continues to thrive if the delisting is finalized, we are now announcing the availability of a Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan (PDMP) for the songbird.

The Service developed the draft PDMP for the black-capped vireo in collaboration with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Fort Hood and Fort Sill Military Installations and The Nature Conservancy of Texas. The draft PDMP describes the methods we propose to monitor the status of the vireo and its habitat, in cooperation with our partners for a 12-year period if the vireo is delisted. The draft PDMP also provides a strategy for identifying and responding to any future population declines or habitat loss.

The draft PDMP is available for review at in Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2016-0110, and Public comments must be received within 30 days, on or before April 13, 2018. Additional information is available at

Alpha Female 1553 from the Sheepherders Baseball Pack prepares to rejoin her pack after being captured, collared, and released back into the wild. Credit:USFWS Interagency Field Team
2017 U.S. Mexican Wolf Population Survey Completed

February 2018
The Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team (IFT) has completed the annual year-end population survey, documenting a minimum of 114 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico at the end of 2017.

Read the news release.

Western Meadowlark. Credit: USFWS
Learn About the Great Backyard Bird Count

February 2018
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. University of New Mexico Wildlife Biology student Jason Kitting explains how anyone can participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count.The count took place on Feb 16-19, and similar events are coming up in May, October, and December 2018.

Watch the backyard bird count video.

Texas hornshell mussel. Credit: Dan Trujillo, NMDGF.
Last Remaining Native Mussel in New Mexico to be Listed as Endangered

February 2018
The Fish and Wildlife Service is finalizing Endangered Species Act protection for the Texas hornshell, a once abundant freshwater mussel that now occupies only 15% of its historical range in Texas and New Mexico. To provide conservation benefits for the hornshell and regulatory certainty for landowners and industry, the Service has worked closely with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, the Center for Excellence, the New Mexico State Land Office, the oil and gas industry and landowners to develop a Candidate Conservation Agreement and a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for the Texas hornshell on the Black and Delaware Rivers. In October 2017, we finalized a Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) and a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for the hornshell, as well as the Rio Grande river cooter, gray redhorse (a fish), blue sucker and Pecos springsnail. Interested landowners or industry can enroll in the CCA or CCAA until March 12, 2018, the effective date of the hornshell listing. The CCA and CCAA will be in effect for 30 years and cover conservation activities that take place on federal and non-federal lands in the Black and Delaware Rivers in Eddy County, N.M. and Culberson County, Texas.

Read the news release.
Read Frequently Asked Questions
Read the Federal Register Notice
Access additional information is available on the Texas Coastal Ecological Field Office site.


Southwest Region Archived News Releases

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Wildlife Selfies
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife News Publication
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Hawaiian Hawk Hatched at Comanche Nation Aviary
She goes by the name of “Wahine.”
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Two Texas Songbird Populations Improving
Fort Hood is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Military Conservation Partner Award. It serves as a symbol of the Region's appreciation for our partnership with Fort Hood and recognizes their outstanding contributions to natural resource conservation.
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Last updated: March 13, 2018