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Higher than Usual Bird and Marine Mammal Strandings along Southern California Beaches

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Federal and State Wildlife Officials Monitor Higher than Usual Bird and Marine Mammal Strandings along Southern California Beaches

How the Public Can Report Stranded Birds and Marine Mammals

April 21, 2017 - Wildlife officials and members of the public have seen higher than usual numbers of stranded or dead marine mammals and birds along southern California beaches in recent weeks. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center are working together to document the size and scope of affected wildlife and mortalities. Stranding reports have included loons, grebes, cormorants, California brown pelicans, and California sea lions.  Many loons are currently migrating through the Santa Barbara Channel on their spring migration northward. 

Read more: Higher than Usual Bird and Marine Mammal Strandings along Southern California Beaches

Plan to Guide Recovery of Santa Ana Sucker Completed

Final recovery plan will serve as a roadmap for restoring native California fish so it no longer requires federal protections

 

Santa Ana sucker underwater with rocks

Santa Ana sucker
Credit: C.Medak/USFWS

Carlsbad, Calif (March 1, 2017) -- A recovery plan to help restore healthy populations of the threatened Santa Ana sucker within its range was released today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The plan was developed in collaboration with state, local and federal partners that includes local landowners, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and local water districts.

Santa Ana suckers, small freshwater fish, are found in portions of the San Gabriel, Los Angeles and Santa Ana River watersheds in southern California. Ensuring conservation of the Santa Ana sucker will not only protect a native California fish, but benefit people and countless other wildlife species by ensuring clean, healthy watersheds in southern California.

As a result of loss, alteration, and degradation of its habitat from altered stream hydrology, introduction of nonnative species that prey on the sucker, and operations of dams and installation of barriers that modify its habitat, the Service listed the sucker in 2000 as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Read more: Plan to Guide Recovery of Santa Ana Sucker Completed

Livers of the Rivers

texasmusselsProactive Stakeholder Collaboration Aims To Benefit Freshwater Mussels in Texas

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.

On February 7, 2017, more than 100 stakeholders gathered in Austin, Texas, to hear from top State and Federal officials about research focused on four Central Texas freshwater mussel species considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA): the false spike, Texas fatmucket, Texas fawnsfoot, and the Texas pimpleback.  Glenn Hegar, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, recently awarded $2.3 million dollars to advance the scientific understanding of these mussel species given that conservation actions have the potential to affect the Texas economy.  These four species are unique to the Brazos, Colorado and Guadalupe River basins and lie in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s - Southwest Region’s East Texas-East Oklahoma Emphasis Area.

Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director for the Southwest Region, spoke at the gathering. He applauded the State’s mussel research program and a stakeholder process to be led by the Comptroller’s office that affords the opportunity to voluntarily conserve mussels and their habitats.  Dr. Tuggle highlighted two examples of prior success: In West Texas, stakeholders implemented a conservation plan for the dunes sagebrush lizard that kept it off the endangered species list. Secondly, the City of Georgetown, Texas, passed an ordinance to protect water quality for the Georgetown salamander that ultimately led to its listing as a threatened species rather than endangered.

Read more: Livers of the Rivers

Super Bird Fests 2017

usfws logoA Calendar of Great Festivals on or near National Wildlife Refuges

Looking for a special bird to add to your life list? Brand new to birding and just thrill to the sight of thousands of migrating birds?  Either way, bird festivals beckon you to national wildlife refuges throughout the year and from coast to coast.

National wildlife refuges often are festival sites because so many are located along the country’s key migratory bird routes. Many festivals coincide with spring or fall migration. Here are some great refuge bird festivals to catch in 2017.

The National Wildlife Refuge System, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, protects natural habitat for America’s treasured wildlife species. 

Read more: Super Bird Fests 2017

Opportunities for Voluntary Conservation Efforts Under Endangered Species Act

usfws logoRevisions to policy implementing Candidate Conservation program improve process for working with states, tribes and private landowners

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and NOAA Fisheries today finalized revisions to the Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs) policy under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Candidate Conservation program is emblematic of the flexibility of the ESA and how the law can be used to engage partners in conserving and protecting imperiled species before they are listed as threatened or endangered. In particular, CCAAs provide a mechanism that encourages non-federal landowners to implement specific conservation measures for at-risk wildlife. In return, they receive assurances that they will not be required to undertake any additional conservation measures or be subject to additional resource use or land use restrictions, even if subsequent information indicates that additional or revised conservation measures are needed for the species or if the species is ultimately listed under federal protection.

Read more: Opportunities for Voluntary Conservation Efforts Under Endangered Species Act

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