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Pronghorn stands in the prairie grasses. Credit: USFWS. Mexican wolf link Lesser prairie chicken link Monarch Butterflies link Pollinators link
Southwest Region Highlights   HotTopics

Tropical Storm Imelda

Heavy rains in the Houston, Texas area from Tropical Storm Imelda have impacted several U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offices and field stations resulting in closures.  Over 25 inches of rain has fallen with more expected. Sections of Interstate 10 and Hwy 73 in the Houston area are closed.

The following offices and refuge lands are closed to all public entry:

The following offices and refuge lands are Open and operating under normal conditions:

 

 
Wildlife Selfies
 
Youth and Students
 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife News Publication
 
Southwest Region Weather Emergency
 
Spotlight
Apache Trout from Near Extinction to Eco Tourism
2019
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Collaboration and Partnership Help Protect a Texas Treasure for Future Generations
2018
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Enforcing Federal Wildlife Laws on the US-Mexico Border
2018
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A Delicate Dance
2018
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A "Field of Dreams" Moment: Endangered Razorback Sucker Munbers on the Upswing
2018
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The Mount Graham red squirrel's historical and current range is limited to the Pinaleño Mountains in Graham County, Arizona. Credit: Marit Alanen, USFWS.
Service Completes Initial Reviews on ESA Petition for Mount Graham Red Squirrel

September 2019
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed initial review of an Endangered Species Act petition for the Mount Graham red squirrel. The Service concluded that the petition requesting critical habitat designation for the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel presents substantial information indicating that revising critical habitat for this species may be warranted.

Read the news release.

 

American burying beetle. Credit: Jay Pruitt.
American burying beetle. Credit: Jay Pruitt.
Public Hearing Scheduled on Downlisting of American Burying Beetle

September 2019

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is holding a public hearing on the proposal to downlist the American burying beetle on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 at the Schusterman Center, Perkins Auditorium in Tulsa, OK. We will hold a public open house and hearing, including the opportunity to provide comments on the record, on September 24, 2019, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Service is also reopening the public comment period for 30 days. The Service proposed downlisting the beetle with a 4(d) rule on May 3, 2019.

Read the news release.

Read additional information about the American burying beetle. 

 

The HCP identifies actions to minimize and mitigate the impacts on endangered and threatened species like the the golden-cheeked warbler. Credit: Steve Maslowski, USFWS.
The HCP identifies actions to minimize and mitigate the impacts on endangered and threatened species like the the golden-cheeked warbler. Credit: Steve Maslowski, USFWS.
Service Approves Lower Colorado River Authority Plan to Conserve More than 20 Species 


September 2019

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved the Lower Colorado River Authority’s Transmission Services Corporation’s Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and associated Incidental Take Permit. The HCP is designed to minimize potential impacts of power transmission line construction and maintenance across 241 Texas counties on 22 federally endangered species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and a mammal, and one unlisted lizard species.

Read the news release.

 

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and interagency partners burn private lands in Menard County, Texas, under an agreement to benefit monarch butterfly habitat and rangeland ecosystems using funds from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant. Photo credit: Jeff Adams/USFWS.
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and interagency partners burn private lands in Menard County, Texas, under an agreement to benefit monarch butterfly habitat and rangeland ecosystems using funds from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant. Photo credit: Jeff Adams/USFWS.
First Statewide Prescribed Fire Council Established in Texas

August 2019
The leading prescribed fire experts and practitioners from across Texas gathered on August 8, 2019 for the inaugural meeting of the Texas Prescribed Fire Council (TPFC). Led by a newly elected board and a set of recently drafted by-laws, the Council was established to foster cooperation and build capacity for using prescribed fire to manage the state’s iconic landscapes.

Read the news release

 

Biologists give a Mexican wolf pup a health check during this year's cross-fostering efforts. Credit: USFWS.
Biologists give a Mexican wolf pup a health check during this year's cross-fostering efforts. Credit: USFWS.
Dozen Zoo-Born Mexican Wolf Pups Find New Homes in Wild After Successful Fostering Effort

June 2019
Twelve Mexican wolf pups are now being cared for and raised by surrogate wild wolf parents after successful efforts to introduce them into existing wolf litters in Arizona and New Mexico. The young wolves were placed in their foster dens by scientists from the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan group and Interagency Field Team. The cross-fostering is part of an effort to restore the rare gray wolf subspecies to its former range and increase genetic diversity in the wild population.

Read the news release.

 

Black-chinned hummingbird. Credit: USFWS.
Black-chinned hummingbird. Credit: USFWS.
Man from Cochiti Pueblo Sentenced to 37 Days in Prison for Violating Migratory Bird Treaty Act

ALBUQUERQUE – Wayne Martin, 47, of Cochiti Pueblo, N.M., was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to 37 days in prison for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by shooting and killing at least two dozen protected birds and selling them to an undercover federal agent.

Martin previously pleaded guilty to this offense on January 5, 2017.  According to court documents, he admitted to killing robins, hummingbirds, hawks, and other species.  He then failed to appear in court for his original sentencing hearing and stayed away for 21 months before agents arrested him.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigated this case with assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Peña prosecuted the case.

Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

 


Regional Director Amy Lueders presents Cynthia Dale and her team the Recovery Champion Award at the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society national conference.Credit: Vanessa Burge, USFWS.
Southwest Region Congratulates 2018 Recovery Champions

May 2019
Omar Bocanegra and Cynthia Dale and her team have been named the Southwest Region’s 2018 Recovery Champions. Omar is a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Ecological Services Field Office in Arlington, Texas.  His efforts and leadership in recovering the endangered black-capped vireo led to the bird being delisted this past year.  Cynthia Dale is the Sensitive Species Coordinator with the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona.  She and her team have worked tirelessly on Mexican gray wolf conservation and are a vital partner to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in recovering the species.

Congratulations to Omar and to Cynthia and her team!
Learn more about Recovery Champions

 

Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus Cylindraceus)...which is just one example of the species unlawfully collected.... are CITES II; however, the charges and sentencing stem from Smuggling and Lacey Act false labeling (no CITES/ESA charges). Credit: USFWS.
Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus Cylindraceus)...which is just one example of the species unlawfully collected.... are CITES II; however, the charges and sentencing stem from Smuggling and Lacey Act false labeling (no CITES/ESA charges). Credit: USFWS.

Meadview Man Sentenced to Prison for Drug Sales, Theft of Government Property, and International Smuggling of Federally- Protected Cacti

May 2019
William Starr Schwartz, 54, of Meadview, Ariz., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan to 24 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release.  Schwartz was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $22,655 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a charitable and nonprofit corporation established to further the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, plants, and other natural resources.  Schwartz had previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, theft of government property, smuggling cacti from the United States, and Lacey Act false labeling charges. 

Read the news release.

 

 

American burying beetle. Credit: © Jay Pruett.
American burying beetle. Credit: © Jay Pruett.

Conservation Partnerships Contribute to Proposed Downlisting of American Burying Beetle 
Endangered since 1989, North America’s largest carrion beetle appears to be staging a comeback  

May 1, 2019
The American burying beetle, one of nature’s most unique creatures, appears to be more plentiful, thanks in part to the efforts of a wide array of partners across its range. Following the beetle’s listing in 1989 as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and stakeholders implemented conservation and recovery efforts, and now the Service is proposing to downlist it from endangered to threatened.  

Along with the proposal to downlist the species from endangered to threatened, the Service is proposing a rule under section 4(d) of the ESA that would tailor ESA protections to only those the beetle needs for recovery.  

The Service is requesting comments or information from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning the proposed downlisting and 4(d) rule. Comments must be received within 60 days, on or before July 2, 2019. 

Additional information on the proposed downlisting and 4(d) rule and Species Status Assessment is available at the Ecological Services Oklahoma site. https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/oklahoma/.

Read the news release.
Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Read how the Cherokee Nation contributes to the American burying beetle.

 

 

Southwest Region Archived News Releases

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Last updated: September 20, 2019
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