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

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

Wildlife Selfies
Youth and Students
U.S. Fish and Wildlife News Publication
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 Munbers on the Upswing
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Trump Administration Announces More Than $130 Million in Public-Private Funding for Wetland Conservation Projects

September 2020
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, chaired by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt, approved more than $130 million in funding for various wetland conservation projects.

The 2020 North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants will be used to ensure waterfowl and other birds are protected throughout their life cycles. Of the projects approved, $33.3 million will be allocated for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to conserve or restore more than 157,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds for 32 projects in 21 states throughout the United States. These grants will be matched by almost $85 million in partner funds.

Read the news release.


American burying beetle. Credit: © Jay Pruett.
Partnership-Driven Efforts Lead to Downlisting of the American Burying Beetle
Conservation efforts will focus on fully recovering North America’s largest carrion beetle

September 2020
Thanks in part to the efforts of dedicated partners across this species’ range, the first insect added to the endangered species list is staging a comeback: the American burying beetle (ABB). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is downlisting the ABB under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), from endangered to threatened.

The Service will continue to monitor and conserve the species and its habitat across federal, tribal, state and private lands. The beetle’s downlisting is based on the ABB’s improved status and is the result of the cooperative and collaborative conservation efforts of the Service; tribes, the states of Oklahoma, Texas, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Massachusetts; the Department of Defense, The Nature Conservancy, zoos, conservation bankers, the oil and gas industry, private landowners and non-governmental organizations.

Additional information on the final rule downlisting the American burying beetle is available at


Purveyors of Fraudulent Native American-style Goods and Products Sentenced in Federal Court

August 2020
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Jawad Khalaf, 72, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nashat Khalaf, 73, of Gallup, New Mexico, Sterling Islands, Inc., a wholesale jewelry business in Albuquerque, and Al-Zuni Global Jewelry, Inc., a wholesale jewelry business in Gallup, were sentenced in federal court in Albuquerque yesterday. In April, the defendants pled guilty to misrepresentation of Indian-produced goods and services in an amount greater than $1000 as part of a scheme to import Native American-style jewelry from the Philippines and sell it to customers in the United States as authentic.  Another defendant, Taha Shawar, 49, of Breckenridge, Colorado, remains a fugitive.

Read the news release.
Watch the KRQE spot.


A Ruby-throated humming bird. Credit: Pslawinski / Wikimedia Commons.
A Ruby-throated humming bird. Credit: Pslawinski / Wikimedia Commons.
Dallas Mystic Shop Owner Pleads Guilty to Wildlife Crimes | USAO-NDTX

August 2020
A Dallas mystic shop owner has pleaded guilty to trafficking dried hummingbird carcasses in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

Read the news release.



Secretary Bernhardt Announces Historic Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities on Public Lands
New hunting and fishing opportunities across 2.3 million acres at 138 national wildlife refuges and nine national fish hatcheries

August 2020
Continuing the Trump Administration’s unprecedented efforts to increase recreational access on public lands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced today at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge the historic opening and expansion of over 850 hunting and fishing opportunities across more than 2.3 million acres at 147 national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. This rule is the single largest expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in history.

Read the news release.
Read the final hunt/fish rule is published in the Federal Register

The Service's hunting and fishing pages with links to final station documents have been updated as well:



Packaged of seized evidence of federally protected bird feathers. Credit: USFWS.
Montana Resident Found Guilty of Smuggling Bald Eagle Feathers into Arizona

July 2020
Dennis Raymond McPherron of Hamilton, Montana was found guilty of illegally smuggling into Nogales, Arizona Port of Entry bald eagle feathers (and other feathers from protected species) into the United States, in violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.  

Read the news release.


These protected Mexican wood turtles were intercepted in a U.S. mail package by the OLE during the investigation. Credit: USFWS.
Texas Man Pleaded Guilty to Trafficking Illegal Wildlife Worth Millions

 July 2020
Brief:  Alejandro Carrillo of El Paso, Texas was a middle-man for an international network that smuggled live reptiles, amphibians, and birds from Mexico into the United States.  He admitted that he was paid to illegally transport thousands of animals, valued at more than $3.5 million, into the country and then arranging for them to be delivered to domestic customers, who had purchased the animals from the Mexico-based suppliers.

Read the DOJ news release.


The dunes sagebrush lizard. Credit: USFWS.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Publishes 90 Day Finding and a Notice of Availability for a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard.

July 2020
The Service has completed its initial review of a petition to list the dunes sagebrush lizard under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service has concluded that the petition presents substantial information indicating listing may be warranted. Accordingly, the Service will now begin an in-depth review of this species to determine whether it should be listed under the ESA. The notice is available in the Federal Register online at FWS-R2-ES-2018-0093.

In addition to the 90 Day Finding, the agency is also announcing a 30-day public scoping period for a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for the dunes sagebrush lizard. The agency is seeking public comments and input to facilitate early identification of issues and concerns that will assist in developing an Environmental Assessment that will be used to assist with future decision-making. The 30-day scooping period ends August 17, 2020.

Read the 90 Day Finding News Bulletin.
Read the ESA Listing Process.
Read the CCAA Document.
Read the CCAA News Release.

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle. Credit USFWS.
Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle. Credit USFWS.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins on the Texas Coast

Sea turtle nesting season is about to start along the Texas coast. This includes the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, which is the most critically endangered sea turtle in the world, as well as the threatened loggerhead and green sea turtles. We urge Texas Coastal visitors to do their part to help detect and protect threatened and endangered sea turtles on the beach. If you see a nesting sea turtle, the FWS advises that you quickly report the event by calling 1-866-TURTLE5 (1-866-887-8535). Additional information is available at

Read the Bulletin.

Sandhill cranes fly over Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Temporarily Suspends Entrance Fees at National Wildlife Refuges

After careful consideration, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to temporarily suspend the collection of all entrance fees at national wildlife refuges that charge a fee until further notice.

Refuge lands and outdoor spaces remain open to the public at most refuges where it is currently possible to adhere to public health guidance. In an effort to support social distancing, facilities such as visitor centers, however, will be closed. Please check your local refuge’s web page before you visit.

Read the news release.
Find a refuge near you.
Access additional regional emergency Coronavirus information.
Read the Service response to Coronavirus.


Southwest Region Archived News Releases

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Last updated: September 15, 2020
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