“This rule emboldened federal bureaucrats and placed special interests ahead of local communities and states in resource management decisions. I am pleased the Senate followed the House in passing this joint resolution to restore decision making power to the people who actually live in these areas. These communities need more say, not less,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) stated.
Final recovery plan will serve as a roadmap for restoring native California fish so it no longer requires federal protections
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.
Nationally, we are seeing extreme to exceptional (D3 to D4) drought conditions fall to their lowest point in more than 6 years. Nowhere is that change more dramatic than in California. The current (February 21, 2017) Drought Monitor for California notes the disappearance of D3/D4 from California. At the California drought’s peak from August-October 2014, that percentage was nearly 82 percent. As recently as early-December 2016, coverage of D3/D4 in California stood at 43 percent.
2016 Mexican wolf population survey reveals gains for experimental population
ALBUQUERQUE – The Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team (IFT) completed the annual year-end population survey, documenting a minimum of 113 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico at the end of 2016. This compares with a minimum of 97 wild wolves in 2015.
“We are encouraged by these numbers, but these 2016 results demonstrate we are still not out of the woods with this experimental population and its anticipated contribution to Mexican wolf recovery,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle. “Our goal is to achieve an average annual growth rate of 10 percent in the Mexican wolf population. Although there was a one-year population decline in 2015, due in part to a high level of mortality and a lower pup survival rate, there are now more Mexican wolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona. The Service and our partners remain focused and committed to making this experimental population genetically healthy and robust so that it can contribute to recovery of the Mexican wolf in the future. We all understand the challenges we face as we try to increase the wild population of this endangered species."
Proactive 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.