Southwest Region
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Bees and butterflies on flower
Southwest Region Highlights HotTopics
pollinator garden

The pollinator garden at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Credit:  Kathy Whaley, USFWS.

BEE One in a Million - Plant a Garden for Pollinators!

June 2016
Are you ready for a challenge? A great way to celebrate National Pollinator Week is to join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. Plant a pollinator garden (even a small one will do!) and register it to become part of this important campaign to support pollinators. The National Pollinator Garden Network says that increasing the number of pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes will help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across the country. We know you are ready for the Challenge!

Learn "How to Build a Garden."

Register Your Garden

Visit Us on Twitter at #PolliNation.


Bee on Echinacea flower

Bee on an Echinacea flower. Credit: Ryan Hagerty, USFWS.

It’s Time to Make a Buzz!
Celebrate National Pollinator Week

June 2016

Make a buzz during National Pollinator Week June 20-26! Pollinators such as butterflies, bees, birds, beetles, and bats work hard to pollinate flowering plants and nearly 75% of our crops, including coffee and chocolate. Pollinators are essential to our food and to our economy. Find out how you can celebrate National Pollinator Week and help our pollinators thrive!

Here are a few examples of how we are celebrating!

Arizona: Enjoy a walk through the new Pollinator Garden at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Built by volunteers with help from Refuge staff, the Garden is open seven days a week and hosts a variety of pollinators and butterflies. More information call 520-823-4251

New Mexico: “Pollination Celebration” at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge Saturday June 25 9:00am to 3:00pm. More information call 575-835-1828

Oklahoma: “Butterfly Count” Tuesday June 21 starting at 9:00am at Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge. More information: Call 580-371-2402

Texas: “Monarch Migration Game” Saturday June 25 starting at 2:00pm at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. More Information: Call 956-784-7500

Find events around the country:
Learn More:


Refuge Biologist Becomes a Legend

June 2016
Laurie Lomas Gonzales is a wildlife biologist at Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in Liberty, Texas. In addition to her biologist duties, Laurie is passionate about engaging and immersing people in nature. Using a mix of city and Refuge roads, levees, two-tracks, parks, right-of-ways, and primitive trails Laurie envisioned a network of hiking, biking, and paddling trails that would connect the community of Liberty to Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge. From Crosswalks to Boardwalks was born.

Laurie’s vision became a reality and was so successful that she recently was recognized and awarded the American Recreation Coalition’s prestigious Legends Award at a ceremony in Washington D.C.

Legend Award
Refuge Website


Rio Grande cutthroat trout

Rio Cebolla. Credit: USFWS.

Restoration of the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout

June 2016

Restoration of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is possible through Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program dollars, monies first derived from excise taxes paid on hunting, boating and fishing gear. Watch for yourself how anglers pay for native trout conservation.

Watch the video.
Read the video transcript.


Zuni bluehead sucker

A Zuni bluehead sucker in the Rio Nutria in spawning colors. Credit: Angela James, USFWS.

Federal Habitat Protection Designated for Endangered Zuni Bluehead Sucker

June 2016
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated 35 stream miles in northwestern New Mexico’s McKinley and Cibola counties as critical habitat for the endangered Zuni bluehead sucker. 

The Zuni bluehead sucker is a 3 to 14-inch fish that occupies moderate to fast-flowing headwater streams. Young fish prefer quiet, shallow areas near the shore line.  Their coloration varies from dark green to dirty white, depending on habitat conditions, but their head is a bluish cast and mature males will sport a bright red stripe at spawning season.  The subspecies was added to list of endangered species in 2013.

Read the News Release
Learn more about the Bluehead sucker.


Masked bobwhite quail

Group of masked bobwhite quails at  Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Hillebrand, USFWS.

The Masked Bobwhite Quail

June 2016
A diversified conservation portfolio guides the recovery of a rare game bird.

Quail conservation is much like planning for your retirement. A diversified portfolio carries less risk for your nest egg in the event of economic downturns. Recessions happen — you can count on that. To weather those storms, you must plan ahead to spread risk.

And so it is with masked bobwhite quail, the only quail in the United States considered endangered with extinction. Recent actions in the Southwest Region diversify the conservation portfolio and lessens the risks the rare bird faces.

Read about the masked bobwhite quail.


Left to right: Debbie DeVore (USFWS), Teri Johnson (DOI), Tim Anderson (FWS), Kendal Keyes (TPWD),

Left to right: Debbie DeVore (USFWS), Teri Johnson (DOI), Tim Anderson (FWS), Kendal Keyes (TPWD), Mike Connor (DOI), Michael Bean (DOI), and Joseph Hernandez (TPWD) tour a project site at Mustang Island State Park outside Port Aransas, TX. Photo credit: Beau Hardegree, USFWS.

Department of Interior Officials Visit Gulf Restoration Sites in South Texas

June 2016
On May 24-25, 2016, key officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) gathered in South Texas to view habitat restoration and species protection project sites that showcase DOI cross-bureau priorities for Gulf of Mexico watershed restoration. Debbie DeVore (USFWS Region 4 Gulf Restoration Program), and John Huffman, Beau Hardegree and Tim Anderson of the USFWS Region 2 Gulf Restoration Program were joined by local partners to host the Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Mike Connor, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Michael Bean, and his Chief of Staff, Terri Johnson, near Corpus Christi, TX.

Learn more...


Career Discovery Internship Program participants convened for a week's worth of training at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex

​Career Discovery Internship Program participants convened for a week's worth of training at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex in Lacombe, Louisiana ​i​n May​. The college students learned about the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before report​ing​ to their field site​s​. ​Three of these students are working in the Southwest Region over the summer. Credit: USFWS.

Career Discovery Internship Program Yields Valuable Experience

June 2016
The 2016 Career Discovery Internship Program (CDIP) is underway. By full immersion in the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), three college students will gain valuable work experience in the Southwest Region over their summer break. These three students are among 38 students total working across the country.

Learn more about the interns on our Student/Youth page under the Additional Regional Youth tab ...





Land and People Magazine Cover

The staff at Valle de Oro NWR are presented in this issue of Land & People. Credit: Chris Hinkle.

Blazing Trails at Valle de Oro

As Refuge Manager at Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jennifer Owen-White knew the Refuge and its staff needed to reflect the broader community. The Refuge staff is composed of six young women who are, The Trust for Public Land’s magazine says, “not your typical conservation professionals. And that’s no accident.”






golden cheeked warbler

Golden-cheeked warbler. Credit: USFWS.

Service Announces Findings on Two Endangered Species Act Petitions

June 2016
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s is announcing 90-day findings for two species including the golden-cheeked warbler. The Service finds that the petition to delist the golden-cheeked warbler did not present substantial information that delisting is warranted. The Service will take no further action on this petition.

The warbler, listed as endangered under the ESA, breeds only in Texas including on Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. It also calls the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge home during parts of the year. The findings will publish in the June 3, 2016, Federal Register.

Read the full Bulletin
Learn more about the golden-cheeked warbler...


silvery minnow

Rio Grande Silvery minnow. Credit: Aimee Roberson, USFWS.

Nature Notes
Return of the Rio Grande Silvery Minnow

May 2016
Listen to this five-minute segment on Rio Grande silvery minnow conservation and the work of the Texas Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office and many partners in the Rio Grande Emphasis Area.

Listen to the radio clip and read the article.


Nahan Wiese examines Gila trout eggs

Mora National Fish Hatchery manager, Nathan Wiese, examines freshly fertilized Gila trout eggs. The Gila trout is a threatened species.  Credit: © Andrew Miller.

Mora National Fish Hatchery's Gila Trout Spawning Season

May 2016

Mora National Fish Hatchery's Gila trout spawning season has ended in 2016 on a high note.

Biologists and volunteers spawned 560 pairs of Gila trout yielding 122,423 eyed-eggs. Given the expected high survival rate in the hatchery, the eggs should result in nearly 80,000 young trout that will be stocked in the wild in autumn, reaching five inches at stocking time. More than 10,000 Gila trout have already been stocked in 2016 into waters of the Gila National Forest.

Learn more...




Monarch larvae

A monarch larvae feeds on a milkweed plant. Credit: Ryan Hagerty, USFWS.

Monarchs Get Boost from Oklahoma Native American Tribes

May 2016
Seven Native American tribes in Oklahoma are joining the effort to save the monarch butterfly. Tribes will plant native milkweed, crucial vegetation for monarchs, and other nectar-producing plants on their lands to provide habitat for the butterfly and a variety of other pollinators. Monarch numbers have been in steep decline and landscape level habitat is critical to saving this iconic species.

Read the entire story
Learn more about monarchs


Monarch  butterfly

Monarch butterfly. Credit : USFWS.

More Than $5.5 Million in Grants Will Help Protect Imperiled Species

May 2016
Native wildlife such as the monarch butterfly, regal fritillary and rattlesnake master borer will benefit from $5.5 million in grants awarded through the Service’s competitive State Wildlife Grants program. Projects occurring in Texas and Oklahoma are receiving $500,000 in competitive SWG funds. Projects financed by the State Wildlife Grants program help safeguard some of our nation’s most at-risk species, and can potentially prevent the listing of certain species under the Endangered Species Act. In selecting grantees, priority is given to large-scale cooperative conservation projects that demonstrate measurable performance results and benefits to imperiled species.

Read the entire story
Learn More about SWG


World Fish Migration Day is Saturday, May 21

May 2016
This special day is meant to raise the awareness of migratory fish that often go sight unseen. But the Southwest Region's Fish and Aquatic Conservation program has its sights on two big fishes: alligator gar and paddlefish. Alligator gar grow huge and the paddlefish is arguably the oddest fish swimming American waters. The paddlefish has been known to migrate more than 1,000 miles all within freshwater. Both fish species receive the attention of Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery and our Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices in Oklahoma and Texas.

Learn more about the Paddelfish...
Learn about the Alligator gar
Read about World Fish Migration Day ​

300 Paddle Fish Returned to Caddo Lake

May 2016
More than 300 paddlefish returned to Caddo Lake on May 18, 2016, thanks to our Texas Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Twenty-eight paddlefish were anesthetized and surgically fitted with radio transmitters which will reveal to our biologists their habits and habitat uses for one year, the life of the radio. Paddlefish live 30 years, reach six feet long and 200 pounds on a diet of plankton.

Learn more...


bob cat's view

Bobcat’s view of Sonoran Desert and Catalina Mountains under snow. Credit: © Gregory E. Good.

Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Anticipated Decision on Pima County Endangered Species Plan

May 2016
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has advanced its consideration of Pima County’s request for an Endangered Species Act incidental take permit associated with the Draft Pima County Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSCP).

Pima County’s MSCP is a part of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, a 16-year, community-driven conservation planning effort. The Service has determined the MSCP meets the requirements of the Endangered Species Act and is preparing to issue an incidental take permit. A final permit will be issued in 30 days.

News Release
Learn more about Arizona HCPs
See Pima County’s website


Come to San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center

May 2016
The San Marcos Aquatic Resource Center is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility that provides captive refugia for several threatened and endangered species that naturally live only in Texas. Species held on station include: San Marcos salamander, Texas blind salamander, Barton Springs salamander, Comal Springs riffle beetle, Peck's cave amphipod, fountain darter, Devils River minnow and Texas wild rice. On Endangered Species Day the public is welcome to visit our facilities with guided tours and walk on our interpretive prairie trail. Refreshments served. Time 1:00 - 3:30 pm Friday, May 20, 2016.

Learn more...

2016 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Grand Prize Winner by Miles Yun.
2016 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Grand Prize Winner by Miles Yun. FWS Image

Winners Announced for 2016 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

May 2016
Miles Yun of La Canada, Calif., is the grand prize winner of the 2016 Endangered Species Youth Art Contest. The contest engages school children in grades K-12 in expressing their appreciation for our nation’s most imperiled wildlife and is an integral part of the 11th annual national Endangered Species Day, which will take place May 20, 2016.

News Release
Learn More
See all the winning entries


Comment Period Extended
Havasu NWR Draft Boating Recreation Compatibility Determination  

May 2016
Lake Havasu City, Arizona – In response to numerous requests, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is extending the comment period for the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge draft Recreational Boating Compatibility Determination (CD) an additional 30 days.

“In light of my participation in the public meetings last week, it’s apparent we need to allow more time for input," said Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Southwest Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "I have therefore decided to extend the comment period for the draft Recreational Boating Compatibility Determination through June 13, 2016.”

The draft Recreational Boating CD contains several proposed changes including restricting use to 30hp and no-wake within the 4,000-acre Topock marsh. Additional proposed changes include adding a two-mile (estimated to be about 520 acres) extension to the 17.5-mile existing regulations. These existing regulations include prohibiting personal watercraft and no-wake in backwaters as indicated by signs and buoys; and prohibiting water-skiing, tubing, wake boarding, or other recreational towed devices.

Learn more...


BCP Overlook

Photo credit: Lesli Gray, USFWS.

May 6th Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan 20th Anniversary Celebration at Reicher Ranch

May 2016
On a bright sunny Friday afternoon, the City of Austin, Travis County, Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others came together at Reicher Ranch to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan (BCCP). Over 100 people attended the celebration.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Michael Bean represented the Department of the Interior/U.S.

Pdas Bean speaks at the gathering

PDAS Bean speaks at BCCP event. Photo credit: Patrick Conner, USFWS.

Fish and Wildlife Service at the celebration. He commended the City of Austin and Travis County and other participants on what they have achieved over the last two decades and encouraged them to focus on what needs to be done during the remaining 10 years of the permit and beyond. He highlighted the positive impact that the BCCP has had for species and for the local economy.

Read the entire article.
View additional photos from the event.

For more information on the BCCP, please visit:

Southwest Region Archived News Releases

Search additional archived news releases for the Southwest Region

Wildlife Selfies
Southwest Emphasis Areas
Youth and Students
Wildlife Selfies!
The Southwest Region has a brand new interactive webpage; every month new, exciting refuge trailcam photos will be highlighted.  Simply click on the Refuge Trailcam button and enjoy!  And remember…check back often! Visit the Southwest Region's Refuge Trailcam site of Wildlife Selfies!
Our Stories
Women's History Month
March is Women’s History Month. We would like to recognize women in our ranks conserving our natural resources in the Southwest Region. Check back to read more about extraordinary women in conservation.
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Projects Using State Wildlife Grants
​There are many projects using State Wildlife Grants taking place in the Southwest Region.Learn more...
R2 LE Agent Receives Honor Award
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The 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.
Learn more...
Two New Refuges
Two new refuges in the Southwest Region are the 559th and 560th refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Learn more...
Last updated: June 23, 2016