Southwest Region
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Southwest Region Highlights HotTopics

AESO's Scott Richardson is a 2016 Recovery Champion for his work to recovery the lesser long-nosed bat. Credit: USFWS
Southwest Region Recognizes City of Austin Watershed Protection Department and Biologist Scott Richardson as 2016 Recovery Champions

May 2017
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Endangered Species Program is recognizing an outstanding employee and partner through the annual Recovery Champions Awards. This annual award highlights the contributions of Service personnel and partner organizations for the recovery of endangered and threatened species.

City of Austin Watershed Protection Dept., 2016 Recovery Champions for their work to conserve endangered salamanders. Front L-R: Dee Ann Chamberlain, Donelle Robinson, and Nathan Bendik. Back L-R: Chris Herrington, Thomas Devitt, David A. Johns.  Credit: USFWS.

The Southwest Region is recognizing the City of Austin Watershed Protection Department for conservation efforts for the endangered Barton Spring and Austin blind salamander and the Service’s Arizona bat biologist Scott Richardson for his tireless, binational efforts to recover the endangered lesser long-nosed bat.

Congratulations and thank you, Champions!

Additional information on recipients is available at:

Austin Watershed Protection Department –

Scott Richardson – Scott Richardson New Release PDF

National Recovery Champions information –


Angela James holds a Colorado pikeminnow caught in the San Juan River, New Mexico. Credit: Jason Davis/USFWS.
Angela James to Receive Legends Award from the American Recreation Coalition.

May 2017
Angela James, a fishery biologist at the New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office in Albuquerque, has been named the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Legends Award by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC). James will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington DC in June—during Great Outdoors Month—for her extraordinary work with Native Fish in the Classroom which introduces school-aged children to conservation and science. The ARC presents the Legends Award for outstanding efforts to improve outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities for the American people. 


Phillip Land, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, and Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director of the Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, present the Regional Director's Conservation Award to Special Agent Jim Stinebaugh.  Credit: USFWS.
2017 Regional Director's Conservation Award

May 2017
The Southwest Region congratulates Special Agent Jim Stinebaugh on his selection as a 2017 Recovery Champion for his leadership in recovery of the whooping crane. Special Agent Stinebaugh worked tirelessly to successfully complete two investigations of whooping crane shootings in Texas that led to convictions under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Endangered Species Act (ESA). His leadership in establishing waterfowl hunter outreach details around Aransas NWR has been critical in educating the public about the importance of conserving the species. His leadership, professionalism, and commitment to both law enforcement and public outreach of whooping crane conservation have fostered highly-successful partnerships with federal, state and local partners including U.S. Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, International Crane Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Whooping Crane Conservation Association and Audubon Texas.


Photo of Bone Cave harvestman. Credit: Jean Krejca Bone Cave harvestman. Credit: Jean Krejca.
Blind Texas Cave Arachnid to Remain an Endangered Species Following Delisting Petition Review

May 2017
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed its review of an Endangered Species Act (ESA) petition to delist the Bone Cave harvestman, an eyeless relative of the spider found only in two Texas counties. The Service found the petition did not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that delisting may be warranted due to recovery or error in the original scientific data. The Bone Cave harvestman will continue to be protected as an endangered species under the ESA and the Service will take no further action on this petition.

Although this finding ends our formal consideration of the petition, we are in the process of conducting a species status assessment and a five-year status review of the Bone Cave harvestman, as required by the ESA. The assessment – expected to be completed by early 2018 – will help inform the five-year review, which will ensure that the species has the appropriate level of federal protection. The five-year review will likely be finalized in early 2019.

Additional information is available at


Alligator snapping turtle. Credit: USFWS.
Operation Snap
Four Men Charged With the Illegal Trafficking of Threatened Alligator Snapping Turtles

April 2017
The Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that four men have been charged for their involvement in the illegal trafficking of alligator snapping turtles.

Read the entire DOJ news release.



“Staff from Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery educate the public about the importance of healthy streams and clean water at Earth Day Texas. Credit: USFWS.
Every Day is Earth Day

April 2017
This year Earth Day was officially celebrated on April 22 with events and celebrations happening across the globe. One of the biggest events is Earth Day Texas in Dallas. A combination of hundreds of exhibitors, vendors, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers all come together for three days to greet nearly 150,000 people! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was proud to be part of Earth Day Texas and enjoyed raising awareness of how all of us can help create a cleaner, healthier world for wildlife and people. Remember, every day is Earth Day.

Learn more...



Whooping crane. Credit: USFWS.
Journeying Toward Recovery

April 2017
The whooping crane came close to being a museum artifact. Instead, thanks to science-driven conservation endeavors, the courtly crane has seen an uptick in numbers that pleases those involved. Read more about the crane and its marvelous recovery.


Cliff Schleusner, Chief, Southwest Region Wildlife Sport Fish and Restoration Program holds a Merriam turkey while his Dad Cliff Sr. looks on - harvested in the Gila Natoianl Forest New Mexico. Credit: USFWS.
Spring Ritual, Lasting Impressions
There's No Season Like Turkey Season

April 2017
Spring: The woods are alive with the courtship display of wild turkeys. Hunters across the Southwest will go afield to hunt them. In doing so they will contribute to conservation in no small way. Read how in this story by the Southwest Region's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program chief, Cliff Schleusner.   





Young Voices Demand We Stand for Wildlife video. Credit: Vermont School Commons.

Watch the Vermont School Commons production, "Young Voices Demand We Stand for Wildlife."

April 2017
The Vermont Comons School engages students with their world. Their programs and curriculums involve the students in local and global issues to help in their journey of self-discovery.

Watch the Vermont Commons School video, "Young Voices Demand We Stand for Wildlife."


Roundtail chub captured during renovation of Fossil Creek, Arizona in 2005. Credit: USFWS.
Service Withdraws Proposal to List the Headwater Chub and Roundtail Chub under the Endangered Species Act

April 2017
As the result of new scientific classification information, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is withdrawing the proposal to list two minnows, the headwater chub and a distinct population segment of the roundtail chub in the Lower Colorado River Basin (Arizona and New Mexico), under the Endangered Species Act. Scientists now classify the two species and the Gila chub as a single species – the roundtail chub.

Read the news release.
Learn more about the roundtail chub.


Sea turtle on the Texas coast. Credit: Donna Shaver.

Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins on the Texas Coast
Public Asked to be Observant

March 2017
The sea turtle nesting season along the Texas coast begins on April 1, 2017. Visitors to Texas beaches can help protect the most critically endangered sea turtle in the world, the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, as well as the loggerhead and green sea turtles, by keeping an eye out for their nests along the beach. Visitors to Texas beaches from April through September are urged to watch for nesting adult sea turtles and emerging hatchlings and report them immediately.

Today, the first Kemp’s ridley nest of the year was located on the Texas coast, on South Padre Island. This is the earliest that a Kemp’s ridley nest has been confirmed on the Texas coast and the first Kemp’s ridley nest that has ever been documented on the Texas coast during the month of March.

Read the entire bulletin.


A sculpture outside the Navajo Nation Eagle Aviary at Window Rock, Arizona, commemorates the golden eagle. Craig Springer, USFWS.
Tuggle: Tribal Eagle Aviaries in the Southwest Reflect the Spirit of the Ages

March 2017
Reverence for the golden eagle and bald eagle reveal our human passions. These majestic bird species live in our lexicon through verse, song and in symbol. Aviaries in the Service's Southwest Region reflect the essence of this age, where Native Americans seek to keep what is theirs—their languages, rites and customs.

Read the rest of Dr. Benjamin Tuggle's thoughts on tribal eagle aviaries.






The team is pictured here. L – R: Dennis Stone and Kirk Young with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s acting director, Jim Kurth, next to Randy Van Haverbeke and Michael Pillow attended by Acting Assistant Director for Science Applications, Seth Moth. Recipients Rick Deshler and Jim Walters not pictured. Photo Laura McClean/USFWS.
Southwest Region Biologists Earn Rachel Carson Award

March 2017
Former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee, Rachel Carson, wrote this in her 1965 book Sense of Wonder: “Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”

It’s entirely fitting that a group of fish biologists would earn the 2016 “Rachel Carson Award for Exemplary Scientific Accomplishment” for their untiring scientific endeavors in uncovering the wonders of humpback chub life-history and applying their findings in conservation measures for the endangered fish.  The Grand Canyon Humpback Chub Team from the Arizona Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office formally accepted this award at Wildlife Management Institute’s 82nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Spokane, WA, on March 11, 2017.


Tricolored bat. Credit: USFWS.

Fungus that Causes White-nose Syndrome in Bats Detected in Texas

March 2017
The fungus that causes deadly white-nose syndrome (WNS) in hibernating bats has been detected in Texas for the first time. The syndrome has killed millions of bats in the eastern parts of North America, raising national concern. A coalition of groups in Texas is continuing work to monitor the spread of the problem and is seeking willing landowners who could help scientists locate and access bat caves.

The fungus was detected on species of hibernating bats in six North Texas Counties: Childress, Collingsworth, Cottle, Hardeman, King, and Scurry. The three species are tri-colored bat, cave myotis, and Townsend’s big-eared bat. This is the first detection of the fungus on both cave myotis and western populations of Townsend’s big-eared bats.

Additional information on the WNS fungus in Texas is available at Additional information on White-Nose Syndrome is available at










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
Division of Human Resources Shines! 

The Division of Human Resources (HR) in the Southwest Region, who also serves the Southeast Region, was recognized today by Regional Director Dr. Benjamin Tuggle for their outstanding work over the past several months. 
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Women's History in the FWS

We recognize women in our ranks who work to conserve our natural resources in the Southwest Region. Check back to read more about extraordinary women in conservation.
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Our Stories
R2 LE Agent Receives Honor Award
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Arizona Game and Fish Department recognizes two of our employees
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Science Leadership Award
Grant Harris receives recognition for scientific leadership
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Southwest Region's Wounded Warriors
There are eight Wounded Warriors who have joined our ranks.
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Two New Refuges
Two new refuges in the Southwest Region are the 559th and 560th refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
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Last updated: May 22, 2017