Southwest Region
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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

a mexican wolf runs through the snow
Mexican wolf runs in the snow
Credit: Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

Service Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Changes to Mexican Wolf Management Rule

October 2021
We are proposing changes to the management regulations for Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act. “We believe these changes to the Mexican wolf 10(j) rule will allow us to recover Mexican wolves more effectively in the wild,” said Amy Lueders, the Southwest Regional Director for the Service. “The revision process presented an opportunity to work closely with our partners in aligning our regulatory framework with the science-based management recommendations in the 2017 revised recovery plan.”

Additional information on the proposal is available here.  

 

a pile of yellow green mussels in a riverbed
Texas pimplebacks. Credit: USFWS

Six Central Texas mussels proposed for protection under the Endangered Species Act

August 2021
Based on recently completed Species Status Assessments (SSAs), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to protect six central Texas mussels under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and designate critical habitat for each. The Service is proposing to list as endangered the Texas pimpleback, Guadalupe orb, Texas fatmucket, Guadalupe fatmucket and false spike, with simultaneous proposals for critical habitat. We are proposing to list the Texas fawnsfoot as threatened under the ESA, with a proposed 4(d) rule and critical habitat. As part of the proposal, the Service is also opening a 60-day public comment period and will host virtual informational meetings followed by public hearings on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 and Thursday, September 16, 2021. For the September 14 informational meeting/public hearing, please register at https://bit.ly/3sjfhPo. For the September 16 informational meeting/public hearing please register at https://bit.ly/3g1grdj

Additional information on the proposal is available here.  

 

a golden green fish held in a hand
A biologist holds a threatened Gila trout. Credit: USFWS

Gila Trout Draft Recovery Plan Available for Review and Comment

July 2021
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing the availability of a revised draft recovery plan for the Gila trout, a species of trout found in small, high mountain streams in New Mexico and Arizona. The species was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1973 and was down-listed to threatened in 2006. The new draft recovery plan is a revision of the 2003 plan and includes updated background and biological information on the species; a broad, prioritized list of recovery actions; objective, measurable delisting criteria; and estimated time and costs of recovery.  

Read the news release

a biologist holds four mussels
Texas Hornshell. Photo:Joel Lusk/USFWS

Service Proposes Additional Habitat Protection for Last Remaining Native Freshwater Mussel in New Mexico

June 2021
Protected as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2018, we are now proposing to designate critical habitat for the Texas hornshell, as required by the ESA. The designation is only for the specific areas in Texas and New Mexico that are occupied by the mussel and that are essential for its survival and recovery.

As part of the proposal, the Service is opening a 60-day public comment period. On Tuesday, June 29, the Service will hold a virtual informational meeting from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. MT, followed by a public hearing from 6:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m. MT. Anyone wishing to make an oral statement at the public hearing must register before the hearing. Please register for the hearing. The use of a virtual public hearing is consistent with our regulations at 50 CFR 424.16(c)(3).

Additional information is available in the News Release, FAQs and Federal Register Notice.

 


Guadalupe fescue (Festuca ligulata). Photo: Carolyn Whiting/University of Texas

Researchers Discover New Individuals of Rare Plant at Big Bend National Park

May 2021
Instead of using the permanent plot sampling style, which involved revisiting the same plants year after year, the team is counting the Guadalupe fescue plants found in a larger number of circular plots evenly distributed throughout the species’ potential habitat.

Read the story.

 

Kuenzler cactus
Kuenzler hedgehog cactus in bloom. Photo: Vance Wolf

Draft Recovery Plan for the Kuenzler Hedgehog Cactus Available for Review and Comment

May 2021
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing the availability of a draft recovery plan for the threatened Kuenzler hedgehog cactus, a small desert plant found in the northern and southern Sacramento mountains in Lincoln County, New Mexico, and the Guadalupe mountains in Eddy County, New Mexico.

Read the news release.


four texas hornshell mussels in the hands of a biologist
Texas hornshells. Photo: Joel Lusk

Draft Recovery Plan Available for the Texas Hornshell, New Mexico’s Last Remaining Native Freshwater Mussel

December 2020
The Texas hornshell, once abundant throughout the rivers in southern New Mexico and the Rio Grande basin in Texas, has experienced a dramatic decline. The Texas hornshell is the last remaining native mussel in New Mexico. The Service listed the hornshell as endangered in February 2018 and we are now requesting comments on a draft recovery plan. The public has until February 16, 2021, to review and comment on the plan.

Read the news release.


Dunes sagebrush lizard in sandy habitat. USFWS
Dunes sagebrush lizard. Photo: USFWS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Input for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard in West Texas

November 2020
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a notice of availability and request for public comment for an Enhancement of Survival Permit Application and draft Environmental Assessment for the dunes sagebrush lizard, a rare species found only in the active and semi-stable shinnery oak dunes in the Permian Basin of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico.

Read the news release.
See the draft Environmental Assesment.

Texas fawnsfoot and false spike. Credit:Clint Robertson, TPWD
Texas pimpleback mussel and the San Saba river. Photo: Aubry Buzek/USFWS

Imperiled Central Texas Mussels Bring Conservation Focus to the San Saba River

October 2020
The San Saba River is one of the last free-flowing river systems in Central Texas. Though up to two-thirds of the river has dried out completely at times due to drought and excessive pumping, it still harbors viable populations of four critically imperiled mussel species currently under review by the Service for an Endangered Species Act listing: the Texas fatmucket, Texas pimpleback, Texas fawnsfoot and false spike. A team of researchers are working to study how the extreme low and high flows that plague Texas rivers impact populations of these rare mussel species and how climate change might exacerbate their struggle to survive.

Read the full story.

 

Texas fawnsfoot and false spike. Credit:Clint Robertson, TPWD
Texas fawnsfoot and false spike. Credit:Clint Robertson, TPWD

Brazos River Authority Submits Draft Conservation Agreement to Conserve Two Central Texas Mussels

October 2020
Meandering through Texas from the dry northwestern plains to the southern Gulf coast, the Brazos River is the third-longest river in Texas. It is home to a diverse assortment of aquatic fauna including two freshwaters mussels, the Texas fawnsfoot and the false spike. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is announcing the availability of the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for the two mussel species and a draft National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) screening form in support of a Categorical Exclusion. The Brazos River Authority submitted the application for an “enhancement of survival permit” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that includes the CCAA. A 30-day public comment period will begin on October 6, 2020.

Read the news release.

 

Close-up of a Wright's marsh thistle plant in bloom. Photo credit: USFWS
Close-up of a Wright's marsh thistle plant in bloom. Photo credit: USFWS

ESA Listing and Critical Habitat Proposed for Rare Marsh Plant Found Only in New Mexico

September 2020
Following a rigorous review of the best available science, today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal to list the striking, 8-foot-tall Wright’s marsh thistle as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The public may comment on the proposal for the next 60 days. Proposed critical habitat will benefit the Wright’s marsh thistle by identifying areas essential to its recovery that may require special management or protection. The Service is proposing eight units of critical habitat totaling 159 acres in in Chaves, Eddy, Guadalupe, Otero and Socorro counties in New Mexico.

Read the news release.

 

Yellow-billed cuckoo perched on a tree with food in its beak. Photo credit: Felix Uribe/Creative Commons. 
Yellow-billed cuckoo perched on a tree with food in its beak. Photo credit: Felix Uribe/Creative Commons. 

Service Completes Finding on Petition to Delist Western Distinct Population of the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

September 2020
PHOENIX, Arizona, on 9/15/2020, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed its review of a petition to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection from the western distinct population segment (DPS) of the yellow-billed cuckoo. After thoroughly reviewing the best available scientific and commercial information, the Service findsthat delisting the yellow-billed cuckoo is not warranted at this timeand consequently,the DPS will remain listed as Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection fromthreatenedunder the ESA.

Read the news release.

 

 
Southwest Interior Region 6 Texas and Oklahoma Emergency Response
 

 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife News Publication
 
 
 
 
Spotlight
Apache Trout from Near Extinction to Eco Tourism
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Collaboration and Partnership Help Protect a Texas Treasure for Future Generations
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Enforcing Federal Wildlife Laws on the US-Mexico Border
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A Delicate Dance
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A "Field of Dreams" Moment: Endangered Razorback Sucker Numbers on the Upswing
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Southwest Region Archived News Releases

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Last updated: November 16, 2021
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