Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week
October 11 - 17, 2015!
September 2015 National Wildlife Refuge Week is October 11 through the 17 this year and refuges around the nation host events for the public. Here in the Southwest Region a number of our refuges are holding events that the public can attend and enjoy including, Balcones Canyonlands, Havasu, Sevietta, Bitter Lake, and Wichita Mountains. A listing of some of the refuge events is provided below and for more information about additional events, please visit the refuge websites.We hope you will join us for family fun in the outdoors!
Children's Story Hour October 17
Office Hours: 8am - 4pm (MDT), Monday through Friday
Third Birthday celbrations for Valle de Oro NWR. Credit: USFWS.
Valle de Oro Celebrates Its Third Birthday
September 2015 Our "dancing refuge cake" Deidra Montoya, Middle Rio Grande Youth Urban Conservation Corps participant, helped celebrate the Third Birthday for the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge an urban wildlife refuge near downtown Albuquerque, N.M. this past Saturday. Over 600 visitors enjoyed the birthday party with over 40 partner booths at the refuge, including live and radio simulcast music, main stage conservation presentations, refuge tours and birding, workshops, hayrides and cupcakes.
Eagle stands at nest in tower. Credit; USFWS.
Eagles Return to Nest
September 2015 Great News! The eagles have returned to their nest tower at the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center. They arrived Sunday evening. In July 2014, Oncor working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Arlington Ecological Services Field Office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Falcon Steel and the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center relocated a bald eagle nest from an existing tower to new tower. We are very excited to see that the eagles are doing well in their new nest! Check out the links below to watch the amazing video of their return or to watch the camera on the tower:
Condor release events are fun-filled and fascinating for young and old. Bring your family and friends! Photo credit: Jeff Humphrey, USFWS.
Public Invited to Watch California Condor Release at Vermilion Cliffs on Sept. 26 (National Public Lands Day)
September 2015 You're invited to attend the release of California condors in northern Arizona on September 26!What a great way to spend National Public Lands Day! Once a year, people get a rare opportunity in Arizona that very few other places offer: to witness the release of endangered California condors into the wild. The public is invited to attend this year’s event on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 11 a.m. when previously-captive condors will be released at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.
Condors are the largest flying land bird in North America and weighs up to 26 pounds with up to a 9 ½ -foot wingspan. There are now 70 condors in the northern Arizona.
The Great horned owl that was sold to an undercover agent on May 2, 2012. Photo credit: USAO.
Operation Freebird Nets Four Subjects Four Sentenced in San Antonio for the Unlawfully Selling of Migratory Birds
September 2015 Sixty–year-old Tomas G. Perez of Devine, Texas was sentenced to three years’ probation by Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra at the San Antonio U.S. District Court after pleading guilty to felony charges for the illegal selling of migratory birds of prey. Perez also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,000 to a San Antonio based raptor wildlife rehabilitation facility. Perez was the last of four individuals who were investigated for the trafficking of federally protected migratory birds.
Refuge Seeks Public Input on Draft Hunt Plan and Environmental Assessment
September 2015 Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, has prepared a draft Environmental Assessment (EA), Hunt Plan and Compatibility Determination for opening a portion of the refuge to hunting of doves (white-winged, mourning, Eurasian collared dove and rock pigeon). The refuge considered whether to maintain the current hunting program (no dove hunting) or allow limited dove public dove hunting for youth/adult hunters (the proposed action). Copies of these documents are available for review at the refuge headquarters and on the refuge website located at: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/anahuac/
The public is encouraged to submit written comments to: Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Attn: Hunt Plan/EA, P.O. Box 278, Anahuac, TX 77514. Written comments will be accepted until 4:30 pm on Friday, October 21, 2015.
September 2015 This App can be addictive. The Southwest Region Division of Biological Science, I&M Team created a new innovative App named Moniker, that has just been released and can turn you into a virtual wildlife biologist! Many national wildlife refuges across the Southwest use trail cameras to capture images of animals in their natural habitat, even elusive species. The photos are not only fascinating to look at (check out the Wildlife Selfies webpage!), but also provide key information to wildlife biologists who track species presence, population sizes, and distribution. The only down side is that the cameras can take millions of pictures. That’s where YOU come in! The new Moniker App allows anyone, anywhere to sort through the photos to count and identify wildlife species in the picture. It’s fun, it’s easy and you do not need to be a wildlife expert to use it!
Carma Paso Robles, LLC Submits Draft Habitat Conservation Plan
September 2015 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is announcing the availability of an incidental take permit application that includes a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (dHCP) for the Paso Robles Phase II Development in Hays County, Texas. The Service is requesting public comments on the incidental take permit, dHCP and the draft environmental assessment (dEA). Comments will be accepted until November 16, 2015.
The Carma Paso Robles, LLC, is requesting an incidental take permit to cover activities associated with the proposed clearing and construction on 376 acres of the Paso Robles Phase II Development that may affect the golden-cheeked warbler and its habitat.
Refuge Seeks Public Input on Draft Hunt Plan and Environmental Assessment
September 2015 Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, has prepared a draft Environmental Assessment (EA), Hunt Plan and Compatibility Determination for opening the refuge to mule deer, white-tailed deer, and feral hog hunting. The refuge considered whether to continue current management (no action) or open the refuge to limited hunting (by youth) of deer and feral hogs on the refuge (proposed action). Copies of these documents are available for review at the refuge headquarters and on the refuge website located at: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/buffalo lake/
The public is encouraged to submit written comments to: Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Attn: Hunt Plan/EA, P.O. Box 179, Umbarger, TX 79091. Written comments will be accepted until 4:30 pm on Thursday, October 8, 2015.
September 2015 Department of Justice -An Odessa, Mo., man who falsely claimed to be a Cherokee Indian was sentenced in federal court for utilizing a fraudulent tribal identification card to sell his Indian artwork at fairs and on-line. Terry Lee Whetstone, 63, of Odessa, was sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah W. Hays to three years of probation after also pleading guilty today to the charge of misrepresentation of Indian-produced goods and products.
September 2015 The Gila trout stared into the dark abyss of extinction, but dedicated scientists turned that around. You can learn more about the this beautiful rare trout and the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in this Sporting Classics story.
New York Times Addresses Attwater's Prairie Chicken Decline
The New York Times published an article on September 4, 2015, addressing the risks and decline of the Attwater's prairie chicken and the severity of its plummeting populations. When asked about the status of the bird, Terry Rossignol, the manager at the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge stated, “It’s like it’s crying out, ‘Help me!’ ” The article also discusses the habitat and federal recovery plan of this beloved species as well as the recent progress in understanding the barriers to its survival. A short video of a prairie chicken courtship ritual accompanies the article.
September 2015 Washita National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, has prepared a draft Environmental Assessment (EA), Hunt Plan and Compatibility Determination for opening the refuge to spring turkey hunting. The Refuge considered whether to maintain the existing hunting program (no turkey hunting), allow limited turkey hunting (the proposed action), or open the refuge to unrestricted turkey hunting during the State open seasons. Copies of these documents are available at the link below. The public is encouraged to submit written comments to Washita NWR, Attn: Hunt Plan/EA, 20834 E 0940 Road, Butler, OK 73625-5001. Written Comments will be accepted until 4:30 pm on Thursday, October 8, 2015.
Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge Staff have been recognized for their contributions to Monarch butterfly conservation through educational programming. Credit: USFWS.
Winners for Monarch Conservation Announced
September 2015 Congratulations to Las Vegas National Wildlife Refugefor receiving the National Pollinator Champion in the Education category. They earned this award, as a result of their Mission Fly Away program, a curriculum that promotes citizen science and conservation of monarch butterflies. In 2014, five schools in Las Vegas, New Mexico, participated in the curriculum, which engages youth and the community in raising, tagging, and releasing monarchs at the Refuge.
A young boy and girl discover something interesting during their hike. Credit: Steve Hillebrand, USFWS.
Every Kid In A Park…and A National Wildlife Refuge Too!
September 2015 From sea to shining sea, our country is home to inspiring landscapes, vibrant waterways, abundant wildlife and historic treasures that all Americans can enjoy. Every Kid In A Park encourages valuable opportunities to explore, learn, and play in the spectacular places that belong to all of us, including America’s national wildlife refuges. Through this program, fourth graders, including home schooled and free choice learners 10 years of age, can obtain fee-free entrance access to their public lands for one year. It’s easy! Simply visit the Every Kid In A Park website, participate in an educational activity, and print your Voucher! And remember, most national wildlife refuges are already free!