Southwest Region
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Southwest Region Highlights HotTopics

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.


Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Poisoning Protected Migratory Birds and Unlawful Use of Pesticide

March 2017
John Purviance, age 46, of Bowie County, TX has plead guilty to killing protected migratory birds and the unlawful use of pesticides on his property in violation of federal law. Purviance entered pleas of guilty on both misdemeanor charges before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas at a hearing on March 21, 2017.

Learn more...

 

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 http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/. Additional information on White-Nose Syndrome is available at www.whitenosesyndrome.org

 

Man Charged in a Three-count Indictment with Lacey Act Violations

March 2017
On February 21, 2017, Jonathan Benson was charged in a three-count indictment with Lacey Act violations 16 U.S.C. §§ 3372 (a)(2)(A),(d)(2), 3373 (d)(l)(B), 3373(d)(3)(A)) for taking reptiles from Arizona and selling them in South Carolina.

In November 2013, Benson allegedly sold two falsely labelled Gila monsters, two Prairie rattlesnakes, two Tiger rattlesnakes,and one Speckled rattlesnake in interstate commerce. Benson is further charged with making a similar transaction in July 2014.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

 

FWS, tribal members and pollinator partners pitch in to plant a pollinator garden at Chemehuevi Cultural Center. Credit: Jessica Gwinn, USFWS.

Monarchs – If you build it, they will come!
Yes, even in the desert!

March 2017
Fish and Wildlife Service, members of 6 Arizona tribes and Gail Morris of the Southwest Monarch Study gathered at the Chemehuevi Nuwuvi Cultural Center on the west shore of Lake Havasu.  BLM and Southern Nevada Milkweed Project joined the effort.

Mission includes: exchange cultural and scientific information regarding monarch butterflies and arid habitat areas they use in their migration; plant a milkweed garden at the center’s cultural garden; and to learn how Arizona tribes can contribute to conserving this iconic pollinator.

The Colorado River corridor and its upland deserts are an important monarch migration route that allows for eastern and western monarch populations to converge.

A special thanks to our Chemehuevi hosts for the food, fun and future of monarchs and other pollinators.

Learn more about how you too can build a monarch migration garden...

Monarch butterfly

The monarch butterfly is one of the most recognizable wildlife species in the world. Credit:Brett Billings, USFWS.

 

Have You Heard The Buzz?
Texas Adds Second Monarch Butterfly Champion City!

The Lone Star State is full of champions, just ask a monarch butterfly! McAllen, Texas has just become the second Monarch Butterfly Champion City in the nation, behind San Antonio, Texas. To become a Champion City, the city’s Mayor must sign the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge and commit to all 24 action items recommended to increase habitat for monarchs and other pollinators.

Inspired by the city of San Antonio, city of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling recognized the vital role Texas plays in saving the monarch butterfly. Monarchs and other pollinators are in steep decline posing risks to our food production and our own health. Learn how city of McAllen is helping monarchs and what you can do to save the Monarch.

Read the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge
Save the Monarch

 


Jaguar photographed by motion-detection cameras in the Dos Cabezas Mountains on November 16, 2016. (Camera data retrieved 2/22/17.) This is the first documentation of this animal in the U.S.  Sex of the animal cannot be determined from this photo. Photo Courtesy of BLM.
Jaguar Photographed in Southern Arizona’s Cochise County

March 2017
PHOENIX -- The third jaguar documented in southern Arizona since September 2012 was photographed by a Bureau of Land Management trail camera in Cochise County. The image was taken on Nov. 16, 2016, in the Dos Cabezas Mountains 60 miles north of the U.S.- Mexico border; the camera data was only recently retrieved. This is the only jaguar photographed by this BLM-deployed camera since it was installed in August 2016. The camera remains on site.

Learn more...

 

Service and Binational Team Draft a Path to Recover the Jaguar

Together with the binational Jaguar Recovery Team, we have completed a draft recovery plan for the jaguar. The draft plan sets goals for improving the species’ status through its entire 19-country range and provides a framework for achieving recovery. The draft plan focuses on the cat’s northwestern population in Mexico and the southwestern United States – setting more precise goals and site-specific conservation actions whereby that population can most effectively rebound and contribute to the entire species’ recovery.

Learn more...
Read the Full Draft Recovery plan
More jaguar photos 

 

Rescued eaglet. Credit: Chuck Ardizzone, USFWS.

Teen Arrested in Connection with Shooting Death of Bald Eagle
Surviving eaglet rescued from nest

February 2017
On February 22, 2017, an American bald eagle was shot in north Harris County, Texas, near White Oak Bayou. The eagle was one of two adult eagles that have actively nested in this area for several years.

A tip about the possible shooting of an eagle led Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents, and Harris County sheriff’s deputies to an area in north Harris County. The eagle carcass was recovered and following a brief investigation an arrest made.

Read the entire news release.

 

 

Montana Man Indicted for Smuggling Protected Wildlife Items, Including Bald and Golden Eagle Feathers, into the United States

February 2017
Dennis Raymond McPherron of Hamilton, MT has been charged with illegally smuggling items made from protected wildlife, including bald and golden eagle feathers, into the United States. A one-count indictment charging McPherron was returned by a federal grand jury on February 15, 2017.

Acting U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Elizabeth A. Strange, and Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nicholas E. Chavez, made the announcement.

According to the indictment, McPherron was caught smuggling protected wildlife items into the U.S. at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, AZ. According to investigators, McPherron was caught in possession of 220 feathers, from which the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory determined the origins as: a minimum of eight individual Northern Flickers, four endangered Military Macaws, one Bald Eagle, one Golden Eagle, one Crested Caracara, one Greater Roadrunner, one Blue-and-Yellow Macaw, one Scarlet Macaw, one unspecified toucan, and one unspecified cockatoo. 

Read the entire news release.

 

Pollinator garden. Credit: K. Whaley, USFWS.

Learn To Design a Home Pollinator Garden

January 2017
You can help monarchs and a variety of other pollinators by creating a pollinator garden in your own backyard. The Native Plant Society of New Mexico is offering a workshop to help you design and create your very own pollinator garden!

WHAT: Pollinator Habitat Landscape Design Workshop

WHEN: 6-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11

WHERE: UNM Continuing Education Conference Center, 1634 University NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico

HOW MUCH: $55. For information and registration, go to www.NPSNM.org.

Learn more about this event.

Learn more about Monarch butterflies.

 

Filipino jewelry. Credit: Office of Law Enforcement, USFWS.

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Five In Connection With International Scheme To Fraudulently Import And Sell Filipino-Made Jewelry As Native American-Made
Second Indictment Resulting from Continuing Investigation into Alleged Violations of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act

January 2017
ALBUQUERQUE – A federal grand jury sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., returned an indictment on Tuesday charging five individuals with violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA) by conspiring to import and fraudulently sell Filipino-made jewelry as Native American-made. This is the second indictment filed as the result of a continuing federal investigation that began in Jan. 2015 and is led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with the assistance of the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The investigation targeted an international scheme to violate the IACA and has included the execution of eight search and seizure warrants and investigative activity in New Mexico, California, Alaska, Kentucky, Nevada and the Philippines.

Learn more...

 

Livers of the Rivers:
Proactive Stakeholder Collaboration Aims To Benefit Freshwater Mussels in Texas

January 2017
Freshwater mussels may lack charisma, as they look like nothing more than rocks. But that belies the natural wonders of their life-history and their incredibly important role in the ecology of streams and the people and economies that rely on the same water. Work getting underway in Texas holds promise for mussels in most need.

Learn more...

 

Credit: DC Booth History National Fish Hatchery and Archive.

Happy 146th Birthday

Janaury 2017
Robert Roosevelt, uncle to the conservationist-president, Teddy Roosevelt, was a prodigious writer. He authored such books as Fish Hatching and Fish Catching, Game Birds of the Northern States of America, and Superior Fishing. His most enduring work was a Congressional resolution authored during his single term in the U.S. House of Representatives—the resolution that created the U.S. Fish Commission in the Grant Administration. The Commission became the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and today's Fish and Aquatic Conservation program. The resolution became effective Feburary 9, 1871.

Photo above: San Marcos National Fish Hatchery pictured above is among the oldest fisheries facilities in the Southwest Region. It was established in 1892 on the campus of Texas State University and moved a short distance to its current location in 1974. Renamed the San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center, scientists there research and conserve rare and imperiled aquatic organisms. Credit: DC Booth History National Fish Hatchery and Archive

Read the resolution that created the U.S. Fish Commission in the Grant Administration.

 

Brazos River crossing removal. Credit: USFWS.

Brazos River Crossing Removal Helps Two Endangered Fish Species

January 2017
The Brazos River is the largest river between the Rio Grande and the Red River in Texas. Originating in New Mexico, the Brazos River runs approximately 810 miles from West Texas to coastal Texas. A road crossing in Kent County was installed on the river in 2009 to service the energy industry located on the north side of the river. After several flood events, the river crossing was acting more like a dam than a bridge, by backing up water and cutting off potential migration access for fish.

In late November 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and the Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program, in coordination with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sharp Image Energy Inc. and private landowners worked together to improve the water flows in the river by removing the river crossing. Thanks to this collaborative project, two endangered fish species, the smalleye and sharpnose shiners, have at least another 17 miles of unobstructed habitat in the Brazos River. The sharpnose and smalleye shiners depend on long unobstructed stretches of river for spawning and will now be able to move farther upstream with no barriers. Removal of the river crossing will provide a natural river flow and a reduction in stilt trapping and hopefully improve the reproductive success of the two shiners in this area of the Brazos River.

Access additional information on the smalleye and sharpnose shiners .

 


San Marcos salamander. Credit: USFWS.
Service Seeking Information on Salamanders Missing From the San Marcos Aquatic Resource Center

Janaury 2017
San Marcos, TX - On November 25, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Office of Law Enforcement in San Antonio was made aware that 253 Texas Blind Salamanders and 110 San Marcos Salamanders  were missing from the San Marcos Aquatic Resource Center located at 500 North McCarthy, San Marcos, TX.  Texas Blind and San Marcos salamanders are both protected under the Endangered Species Act and Texas state law.

The Service is seeking information regarding the missing salamanders and offering a reward in the amount of $10,000 for information related to this case. The reward will be issued if the missing salamanders are determined to be a criminal act and the information provided leads to the criminal conviction of the person(s) responsible. Anyone with information about the missing salamanders is urged to come forward. Information can be provided to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s San Antonio Office of Law Enforcement at (210) 681-8419 or Operation Game Thief at 1-800-792-GAME (4263). Callers may remain anonymous.

Learn more...

 

2016 Rachel Carson Award for Exemplary Scientific Accomplishment
Grand Canyon Humpback Chub Team, Arizona Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office
Rick Deshler, Michael Pillow, Dennis Stone, Randy Van Haverbeke, Jim Walters, and Kirk Young

January 2017
Grand Canyon Humpback Chub Team coThe Little Colorado River within the Grand Canyon is home to the largest and most viable of six populations of humpback chub (Gila cypha), an endangered fish native to the Colorado River basin. However, since the early 2000s, the Little Colorado River population has declined to less than 2,000 adults, primarily due to habitat loss from the construction of large dams and reservoirs throughout the basin and predation by nonnative fish.

Learn more about the conservation work of this team.

 

American burying beetle. Credit: Jay Pruett.
Service Announces Public Scoping Process For American Electric Power’s Proposed Conservation Plan for the American Burying Beetle
Project Covers 62 Counties in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas

January 2017
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing that American Electric Power is developing a Habitat Conservation Plan to address impacts to the American burying beetle that may result from the construction and operation of transmission and distribution lines in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas. The draft Habitat Conservation Plan would accompany American Electric Power’s request for an Incidental Take Permit. The Service will prepare a draft Environmental Impact Statement (dEIS) to evaluate the impacts associated with issuing an Incidental Take Permit.

The Notice will publish in the Federal Register on Thursday, January 19th. Publication of the Notice begins a 30-day comment period that runs through February 21, 2017. Four scoping meetings will be held during the public comment period. Please see the full News Bulletin for additional information.

Learn more...

 

 

Rainbow trout. Credit: Craig Springer, USFWS.
Rainbow Trout Stocking Restarts at Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery

January 2017
After a three-year hiatus, catchable-sized rainbow trout from Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery returned to Colorado River waters downstream of Las Vegas.

Read more...

 

 

New Mexico Man Pleaded Guilty to Violating the MBTA

January 2017
Wayne Martin pleaded guilty violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by selling three hawks without permission. Mr. martin is a member and resident of Cochiti Pueblo, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  The guilty plea was entered without the benefit of a plea agreement.
For more information read the press release.

 

Top to bottom: Kuenzler bloom and gypsum wild-buckwheat.
Status of Two Protected Southern New Mexico Plants Improves

January 2017
There are more known populations of Gypsum wild-buckwheat and Kuenzler hedgehog cactus now than when first protected under the Endangered Species Act four decades ago. When first listed, only one population of each plant was known. The discovery of additional populations, together with efforts to conserve the plants and their habitat indicate significant strides have been made in their conservation. As a result, we’ve determined that the Gypsum wild-buckwheat is recovered and are proposing to remove it from the list of plants protected under the Act, and to reclassify the Kuenzler hedgehog cactus from “endangered” to “threatened.”

Learn more...

Photos at left are top to bottom: Kuenzler Bloom. Credit: Frank Weaver, USFWS; Gypsum wild-buckwheat. Credit: Frank Weaver, USFWS.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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
 
Spotlight
Division of Human Resources Shines! 

2017
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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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.
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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: March 28, 2017