Southwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America
Southwest Region USFWS facebook page Southwest Region USFWS page Southwest region USFWS Flikr page USFWS YouTube site
A child finds pure joy hiking a trail at Anahuac NWR. Credit: Steve Hillebrand, USFWS. Mexican wolf link Lesser prairie chicken link Monarch Butterflies link Pollinators link
Southwest Region Highlights HotTopics
Sonoyta mud turtle. Credit: USFWS.
Sonoyta mud turtle. Credit: USFWS.
Federal Habitat Protection Proposed for Sonoyta Mud Turtle
Critical Habitat Proposal for Sole U.S. Population

December 2018
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing critical habitat designation for the Sonoyta mud turtle under the Endangered Species Act. The proposed critical habitat designation is limited to 12 acres of the turtle’s occupied habitat at Quitobaquito on Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The proposal will provide habitat protection of the subspecies’ sole location in the United States. Despite the Sonoyta mud turtle’s additional range, south of the national monument across the Mexican border, federal critical habitat designations can be made only in the United States. A 60-day public comment period on the proposed critical habitat designation and an associated draft economic analysis will begin upon publication of the proposal in the Federal Register December 6, 2018.

Read the news release.

 


A whiskered screech owl sits on a tree limb while the camera flash illuminates his big orange eyes. Credit: Bill Radke, USFWS.
Fort Worth Man Guilty of Possessing Eastern Screech Owl in Eastern District of Texas

November 2018
A 46-year-old Fort Worth man has pleaded guilty to federal wildlife violations. Jorge Fernando Mercado pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with unlawful possession of migratory birds. According to information presented in court, in Van Zandt County, Texas, Mercado, knowingly possessed, and then sold, a live Eastern Screech-Owl (Megascops asio) to another individual for $200.00. The Eastern Screech-Owl is a “migratory bird” which is protected by federal statute and international conventions.

Read the press release.

 

 

 

 

 


 

watch the video on the threatened Gila trout.
Watch the video on Gila Trout, a threatened species. Credit: Brett Billings/USFWS, John Bradley/USFWS, and Grant Langmaid/USFWS.
Biologists Strive to Recover the Gila Trout

November 2018
Gila trout, a threatened species, benefits from the science-based conservation work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and U.S. Forest Service. A team of biologists strive to recover this native trout found only the headwaters of the Gila River in the Southwest. Anglers rejoice as more streams are open to fishing for Gila trout. Their fishing tackle and license purchases fund conservation through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

Watch the video.

Read the transcript.

 

 

Mexican wolf from the Califronai Wolf Center. Credit: California Wolf Center.
Mexican wolf from the Califronai Wolf Center. Credit: California Wolf Center.
Search Underway for Escaped Mexican Wolf near Divide, CO

November 2018
Last week, a male wolf and two littermates were transported to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center (CWWC) near Divide, CO. The wolves arrived on the morning of November 11, 2018, and were released into an enclosure. By that evening, staff at the facility noticed one of the wolves was missing. Upon learning of the wolf’s escape, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contacted USDA Wildlife Services, who sent a team to initiate trapping efforts. To date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services have been unable to recapture the wolf. Officials believe that the wolf remains in the general area, and are continuing to maintain traps in hopes of recapturing the wolf soon.

Read the news release.

 

New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish biologist W. Yearling, holds a razorback sucker. Credit: USFWS.
Mexican wolf. Credit: Jim Clark, USFWS.
Man Pleads Guilty to Wolf Killing in Arizona

November 2018
Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille Bibles and Special Agent in Charge Phillip Land of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement of the Southwest Region, announced that Jason William Kunkel pleaded guilty yesterday to an Endangered Species Act, Class B misdemeanor for the unlawful take of a Mexican wolf in December 2017.

Read the news release.

 

 

New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish biologist W. Yearling, holds a razorback sucker. Credit: USFWS.
Matt Zeigler, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, caught this yearling razorback sucker in the San Juan River. Credit: USFWS.
A “Field of Dreams” Moment: Endangered Razorback Sucker Numbers on the Upswing

November 2018
Fishery surveys conducted by San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program have revealed surprising—and quite welcome—information about an endangered fish. The number of yearling razorback sucker discovered by biologists who examined fish populations in the San Juan River in northwest New Mexico during the fall of 2018 reached an all-time high.

Read the entire story.

 

 

Tiger looks out over his shoulder. Credit: USFWS
Tiger looks out over his shoulder. Credit: USFWS.
Grand Jury Adds Wildlife Charges to Murder-For-Hire Allegations Against “Joe Exotic”

November 2018
Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joseph Allen Maldonado, Joseph Allen Schreibvogel, and “Joe Exotic,” 55, formerly of Wynnewood, Oklahoma, has been charged in a 21-count superseding indictment that includes the two previously charged murder-for-hire counts and also alleges nineteen wildlife crimes. These charges include the alleged killing of five tigers and the illegal sale of tiger cubs, in violation of the Endangered Species Act and Lacey Act, announced Robert J. Troester of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma. A federal grand jury returned indictments for the murder for hire charges and wildlife crimes.

Read the entire news release.

 

 

Tri-colored bat. Credit: Gary Peeples, USFWS.
Tri-colored bat. Credit: Gary Peeples, USFWS.
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Announces More than $1.1 Million in Grants to Help Bats

October 2018
On the eve of Halloween, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has announced more than $1.1 million in grants to combat white-nose syndrome (WNS) and promote the survival of bats in North America. The grants were announced at the Ruffner Mountain Nature Center in Birmingham, Alabama, where Bat Conservation International (BCI), one of the grantees, is working with two non-toxic anti-fungal agents, ultraviolet light and polyethylene glycol, as a way to reduce the impact of WNS. This project builds on promising research funded last year.

The grants were awarded through the Bats for the Future Fund (BFF), a public-private partnership between NFWF, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Company and the Avangrid Foundation. They will fund efforts to test four different environmental treatments, as well as further develop a vaccine test to help manage the disease and improve survival and recovery of affected bat populations. In addition to Birmingham, experimental treatments will be deployed in Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.

Read the news release.

 

 


FWS staff, Williamson County Commissioners and staff and others gathered to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Williamson County Regional HCP. Credit: Adam Zerrenner, USFWS.

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Williamson County Regional Habitat Conservation Plan

October 2018
On October 25th, Williamson County Conservation Foundation was joined by partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Williamson County Regional Habitat Conservation Plan. The Regional Habitat Conservation Plan helps conserve listed species like the golden-cheeked warbler and coffin cave mold beetle, while reducing and eliminating costly and time consuming efforts associated with processing individual permits in a rapidly developing and expanding urban area.

Learn more about the WCCF and the RHCP at www.wilco.org/wccf.

Watch their “At the Park with Mark: Conservation” video.

 

 

American burying beetle. Credit:© Jay Pruitt.
American burying beetle. Credit:© Jay Pruitt.
American Electric Power American Burying Beetle Habitat Conservation Plan
Three-state plan will benefit the American burying beetle while enabling American Electric Power to manage electrical facilities

October 2018
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is publishing the final Environmental Impact Statement for the American Electric Power (AEP) Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Incidental Take Permit (ITP). The HCP covers impacts to the American burying beetle (ABB) that may result from AEP maintaining, operating and expanding its electrical facilities in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. FWS is publishing the final Environmental Impact Statement (fEIS) evaluating the direct, indirect and cumulative effects of issuing the ITP, supported by implementing the HCP. The HCP describes the conservation measures they will take to address the potential impact of their activities. The covered activities may impact up to 6,713 acres of occupied ABB habitat over the ITP’s life. The HCP and ITP will be in effect for 30 years. The ROD and ITP issuance will occur no sooner than 30 days after publishing this notice of availability.

Please read the News Bulletin for additional information.

 

Black rail flies over marsh grasses. Credit: Jesse Huth.
Black rail flies over marsh grasses. Credit: Jesse Huth.
Service Proposes to List the Eastern Black Rail as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act

October 2018
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are working to protect a small, secretive marsh bird that is in steep decline. Some populations of the eastern black rail along the Atlantic coast have dropped by as much as 90 percent, and with a relatively small total population remaining across the eastern United States, the Service is proposing to list the subspecies as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service also is using the flexibility provided under section 4(d) of the ESA to tailor protections for the bird, including prohibiting certain activities in known eastern black rail habitat during critical time periods such as nesting and brooding seasons. The proposed rule for the eastern black rail will publish in the Federal Register on Tuesday, October 9. The Service is accepting public comments on the proposal through December 10, 2018.

Read the news release.
Read additional information about the eastern black rail.





Southwest Region Archived News Releases

Search additional archived news releases for the Southwest Region

 
 
Wildlife Selfies
 
Southwest Emphasis Areas
 
Youth and Students
 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife News Publication
 
Southwest Region Weather Emergency
 
Spotlight
From Wildlife Refuge to Elite Law Enforcement
March 2018
Read the story...
 

First Deer Hunt at Buffalo Lake Wildlife Refuge
January 2018
Read the story...

 
Turkey Hunting and the Psalm of Life
October 2017
Read the story...
 

Mussel Building: A gathering on mussel conservation
December 2017
Read the story...

 
Hawaiian Hawk Hatched at Comanche Nation Aviary
2017
She goes by the name of “Wahine.”
Read the story
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Last updated: December 6, 2018