Southwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America
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Regional Director's Corner  
Amy Lueders
The ability to look beyond our own jobs and our own programs and make a broader contribution. In essence, it means modeling our behavior to function as
“One Service
and One Region”
About Our Leadership

Current Student Opportunities in Region 2

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employs many students in various career and educational fields. The Student employment program Pathways is a way to attract talented students to work with the Service and it's an opportunity for students to continue their education and apply their academic studies to on-the-job experience. Visit our Youth and Student Opportunity page for more information.

Highlight Series
In the coming months, the Southwest Region will highlight each of its programs as a means to introduce the extraordinary activities that the Region's staff bring to the diverse habitats, species and conservation efforts within its boundaries. The next in the series is Migratory Birds. Read Highlight Series Archives


Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan arrived at Bosque del Apache NWR in time to see the evening fly-in, when waves of cranes and geese come in for the night. Credit: USFWS





Southwest Regional Office Welcomes Principal Deputy Director Sheehan

January 2018
This week, Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan paid a visit to the Southwest Regional Office in Albuquerque, NM to meet with employees and tour the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). During his visit, Sheehan discussed new priorities for the Service and answered questions from staff at an All Employee Meeting. Later in the day, Regional Director Amy Lueders and members of the Southwest Regional Directorate Team provided Sheehan with a tour of Bosque del Apache NWR, the winter home of thousands of snow geese, sandhill cranes and other migratory birds.

Gulf Coast Joint Venture shorebird map

Gulf Coast Joint Venture: A Bird Habitat Conservation Partnership (Migratory Birds)
Two short-billed dowitchers skim the water. Credit: USFWS.
Two short-billed dowitchers skim the water. Credit: USFWS.

The origin and current role of Migratory Bird Joint Ventures (JVs) nationwide, maintains an emphasis on the Gulf Coast Joint Venture and a distinction between the Service's JV Program and multi-organizational JV Partnerships. Details of the GCJV partnership are, including the management board composition, JV staffing, administrative funding, and partnership organization. The GCJV's landscape-level approach to bird habitat planning and assessment requires taking a birds-eye view of habitats without regard to administrative boundaries or landownership, but considering the role of individual organizations and land tracts in fulfillment of landscape-scale objectives. Toward that end, the GCJV employs satellite imagery and spatial landcover data, in combination with detailed information from public lands in a Managed Lands Geodatabase. Details of biological planning, conservation design, habitat delivery, outcome-based monitoring, and assumption-based research for shorebirds is provided as an example of GCJV-led Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) for birds.

Read the entire presentation.

Learn more about the Migratory Bird Program.


Omar Bocanegra, USFWS, talking with families
Omar Bocanegra, USFWS, talking with families. Photo credit: USFWS.

Earth Day Event at Legacy Park

A celebration of Earth Day was hosted by River Legacy Living Science Center in Arlington, Texas and many organizations were invited to participate, including the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service’s Arlington Ecological Services Field Office. The family focused event was attended by more than 400 people ranging from small children to grandparents.

The event highlighted examples of how to help protect endangered species. One of the big hits were the many endangered species artifacts that the Service had on display including fur boots made from the endangered Ocelot found in Texas, a women’s clutch made from seal fur, mounted owls, an elephant tusk weighting 35 pounds and a sea turtle that can be found along the Texas Coast. The artifacts not only peaked interest, but also raised awareness of endangered species items that are sold illegally and the negative impacts on the animals used to make them.

In addition to learning about animals and the environment, attendees were invited to story time and other fun activities such as face painting, nature hikes, and outdoor camping demonstrations throughout the Science Center. Along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Arlington Ecological Services Field Office organizations in attendance included the Turtle Survival Alliance, Fort Worth and Dallas Sierra Clubs, Marylee with the Master Composters, Cross Timber Master Naturalists, Boy Scout troop 545, Native Plants Society of Texas, and General Motors with a “Green Car” Display. The combined efforts of these organizations presented awareness of current conservation issues.


Texas State students interview a San Marcos employee.
Leah Murray being interviewed by the Texas State University student newspaper while discussing the ecology of Texas wild rice in the San Marcos River. Photo credit: Jeffrey Hutchison, USFWS.

Annual Texas Wild Rice Festival

The second annual Texas wild rice festival was held in City Park, San Marcos along the banks of the San Marcos River. Texas wild rice is a federally listed endangered aquatic plant that is endemic to the San Marcos River and occurs nowhere else in the world. Along with Texas wild rice, the San Marcos River and Springs are critical habitat for four other federally endangered and threatened species such as the fountain darter, Texas blind salamander, San Marcos salamander, and the Comal Springs riffle beetle. Created to bring more awareness to Texas wild rice and the importance of protecting the river, the festival began as the brainchild of two students from Texas State University in 2014.

The USFWS San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center was represented at the event. They set up a 1000 L tank with all the native and non-native aquatic plants found in the San Marcos River in coordination with the City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department. Visitors to the festival were allowed to pick up the plants and learn key characteristics. Explanations were provided on why non-native plants pose serious threats to Texas wild rice and other listed species found in the San Marcos River. Jars of preserved fish and salamanders were also on display. Entertainment was provided by several local bands playing music and various talks were given on edible native plants, sustainability, and hydrology of the San Marcos River. At 9:00 PM the festival closed with an interpretive dance by ARTheism and a screening of the documentary film Yakona to a live score of music. The festival was a success with over 3,000 people in attendance.


Honoring Our Veterans
Every year we set aside one day to honor those who have served in the U.S. Military and express our gratitude to the men and women who have made great sacrifices to preserve our freedom. Few have given more to our nation than our military Veterans, both in peace and in war.

We take special pride in those Veterans who work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The men and women who have served in the armed forces exemplify a commitment to serving this nation. They continue their service to the American people by bringing their skills, knowledge, experiences and dedication to our conservation mission.

The Region's appreciation to, and admiration for, our Veterans, and the many other members of our Service family, goes out to those who continue to serve in the National Guard and Reserves. We owe them a debt of gratitude for all that they have done– and continue to do – to conserve our nation’s treasured natural resources.

To honor our colleagues who have served in the military, we have posted photographs of many members of our Region 2 family who are Veterans. Take a moment to look at images of military Veterans working for the Service nationwide at our Flickr site.

Last updated: February 1, 2018