Bishop: Obama’s Midnight Fish and Wildlife Service Policy Sets Irresponsible Mitigation Standards

house nrWashington, D.C. (Nov 18, 2016) – Today, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the final revised policy on mitigation impacts of development. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) released the following statement:

“Up until the bitter end, this administration’s Fish and Wildlife Service is forcing damaging, last-minute edicts on their way out the door.  I have significant concerns that this ‘mitigation’ policy will only create more undue barriers to economic activity and infrastructure needs. It sets irresponsible mitigation standards. This rule won’t help the environment or the American people, but it will do wonders for the special-left interest and litigious groups that have Obama’s ear.”

Endangered California condors roosting in western Sierras for first time in nearly 40 years

BLUE RIDGE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Calif. – For the first time in nearly forty years endangered California condors are roosting at Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Tulare County, California.

“Blue Ridge was created specifically for California condors, and to see them roosting there once again is a historic moment for us. As we grow the California condor population, their distribution continues to expand into their former range, which includes the Sierra foothills,” said Joseph Brandt, supervisory wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWRC) in Ventura, California.

Endangered Mexican gray wolves could be introduced to Utah

FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Mexican gray wolf leaves cover at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro County, N.M. Suspicion over federal plans to restore Mexican gray wolves has spread to Colorado and Utah, where ranchers and elected officials are fiercely resisting any attempt to import the predators. (Jim Clark/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP, File)
A Mexican gray wolf leaves cover at the Sevilleta
National Wildlife Refuge, Socorro County, NM.
Suspicion over federal plans to restore Mexican
gray wolves has spread to Colorado and Utah.
(Associated Press)

The Federal government proposed to release a subspecies of wolf in southern Utah and Colorado. This has raised concerns among local ranchers and the Utah Farm Bureau.

Conversely, wildlife advocates are fighting to introduce the Mexican gray wolf into Utah. The Mexican wolf is a threatened species found in the Southwest region of the United States. There are only 110 species left in the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has surveyed the region along southern Utah and believes the habitat is suitable for the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves.

Kirk Robinson, executive director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy, expressed his concerns about the Mexican wolf not being discussed during the legislative season.

"Nobody is talking about reintroducing the Mexican wolf," Robinson said. "Our government officials are really upset about this. They don't want Mexican wolves or any other wolves for that matter. That is why there is such a big conflict."

Robinson shed some light as to why southern Utah needs a wolf population.

ESA Grants Awarded to Conserve Species

usfws logoAmerica’s Rarest Species Receive $44.8 Million Investment Under Endangered Species Act Grants Program:  California will receive $15 million in funding to help collaborative efforts to conserve imperiled species

In addition to providing regulatory protections that have successfully prevented the extinction of hundreds of species, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) also provides millions of dollars in funding each year for conservation efforts through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF). This year, threatened and endangered species in 20 states will benefit from $44.8 million in grants from the fund; California will receive over $15 million. Authorized under Section 6 of the ESA, the CESCF enables states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other government agencies to develop projects that protect federally-listed species and their habitats.

ESA Roundup – Listing Decisions and Recovery Actions

usfws logoThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have issued listing decisions on a number of species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in recent days, and USFWS has announced notable changes in its recovery strategy for the red wolf.

  • On September 7, 2016, USFWS reopened the comment period for its proposed rule to remove the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) from the list of threatened species. The initial proposed rule emphasized that the States of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho needed to promulgate regulations managing human-caused mortality of grizzly bears before USFWS would proceed to a final rule, and such state mechanisms have recently been finalized.

Flake, McCain Call for Revised Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan

MUIRNet NewsWashington, DC– U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) today introduced the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan Act to direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to publish the first revised recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf in Arizona and New Mexico in 34 years. As a result of the 1982 Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan, an experimental population of wolves were placed in Arizona and New Mexico and since that time, land owners and public officials have voiced concern about the program.

This legislation would require that the USFWS work with state and local entities to ensure they have input in the drafting of a new recovery plan. In addition, if the USFWS does not comply with the plan, then Arizona and New Mexico are able to supplement or assume management of the recovery process. This bill also includes a provision that would require automatic delisting of the Mexican gray wolf as an endangered species once conservation goals have been reached.

FWS Announces Draft Methodology for ESA Status Reviews

USFWS LogoProcess will ensure species in greatest need are addressed first, provide predictability and transparency and foster stakeholder engagement

January 14, 2016 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a draft methodology to better identify and prioritize pending Endangered Species Act (ESA) “status reviews,” the process by which the Service determines whether a species that has been petitioned for listing warrants ESA protection. The methodology will assist the Service and its partners in addressing America’s most imperiled wildlife and plant species first, while reinforcing collaboration between the Service and its partners and maximizing transparency throughout the decision-making process. 

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

usfws logo

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. 

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.

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update - Dec 2015

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly UpdateDecember 1-31, 2015 - The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona, including the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), and New Mexico.  Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf.  Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.gov/signup.  This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose.  The Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).

Migrating, Nesting Shorebirds Need Help From Pet Owners

PORTLAND, Ore. — Beach visitors have been flocking to Pacific Northwest beaches as the sun begins to return after a long, wet winter. While long walks on the beach with your dog may be relaxing for the two of you, it's very stressful (and possibly deadly) for the thousands of shorebirds trying to nest or rest in the midst of a long migration.

“The western snowy plover and other migratory birds really need to be left alone, particularly during nesting season and migrations,” said Laura Todd, field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Newport field office. “Some of these birds are in the middle of a thousand-mile journey that starts in South America and doesn’t finish until they reach the Arctic. The beaches here in Oregon and Washington offer a much-needed spot to feed, rest and nest, and shorebirds rely on humans to let them be to complete their journey or nest successfully.”

New methods to address ESA status reviews released

Process will ensure species in greatest need are identified and addressed first, provide greater transparency and foster stakeholder engagement

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its final methodology for improving the way it identifies and prioritizes pending Endangered Species Act (ESA) status reviews, the scientifically rigorous process the agency uses to determine whether a species warrants federal protection. The new approach will allow the Service to be more strategic in how it addresses pending status reviews, to be more transparent in how it establishes workload priorities, and to work better with partners to conserve America’s most imperiled plants and wildlife.

New Study Shows Americans’ Deep Appreciation for Nature, Barriers to Connection

usfws logoContact with nature is an important part of growing up and linking Americans to one another; competing priorities and other factors impede getting outdoors

April 26, 2017 - The findings from an unprecedented national study of Americans’ relationship to nature reveal an alarming disconnection, but also widespread opportunities for reconnecting. The results are prompting nature conservation, environmental education, and outdoor recreation leaders to rethink how they work to connect people with nature.

The Nature of Americans National Report: Disconnection and Recommendations for Reconnection reveals important insights from a study of nearly 12,000 adults, 8 to 12 year old children, and parents, and provides actionable recommendations to open the outdoors for all.

Northern Spotted Owl Decline Continues

Northern Spotted OwlContinued Decline of the Northern Spotted Owl Associated with the Invasive Barred Owl, Habitat Loss, and Climate Variation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Northern spotted owl populations are declining in all parts of their range in the Pacific Northwest, according to research published in The Condor. Based on data from 11 study areas across Washington, Oregon and northern California, a rangewide decline of nearly 4 percent per year was estimated from 1985 to 2013.

Researchers found evidence that the invasive barred owl is playing a pivotal role in the continued decline of spotted owls, although habitat loss and climate variation were also important in some parts of the species range. Barred owls compete with spotted owls for space, food and habitat.

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.

Perfect Pairs

usfws logoComplement your national park trip with a stop at a nearby wildlife refuge

Visiting a national park this summer? Pair it with a side trip to a less discovered cousin – a national wildlife refuge.

The National Wildlife Refuge System, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, protects natural habitat for America’s treasured wildlife species, helps clean our air and water and offers access to world-class recreation, such as fishing, hunting and nature watching.

Refuges are surprisingly close to some of the country’s most celebrated canyons, mountains and springs. And often, they are way less crowded. Consider these perfect pairs.

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.

President Proposes $1.2 Billion FY 2019 Budget for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

US-FWS-logo
Includes legislation to establish infrastructure fund to improve refuges

February 12, 2018,WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has proposed a $1.2 billion Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which includes proposed legislation to establish a Public Lands Infrastructure Fund that would take new revenue from federal energy leasing and development and provide up to $18 billion for repairs and improvements in national wildlife refuges, national parks and Bureau of Indian Education funded schools. The Service’s budget also includes $1.6 billion in permanent funding, which is administered to states through grants that support state wildlife and sport fish conservation, recreational boating and other related programs.

Rare, Tiny Shorebird Nests on Los Angeles County Beaches for First Time in Nearly 70 Years

The first nest was found on April 18 on Santa Monica State Beach, followed by discovery of a nest on Dockweiler State Beach on April 27, and two nests on Malibu Lagoon State Beach on April 28 and May 4. The nests were discovered by monitors with Los Angeles Audubon and The Bay Foundation. Following their discovery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) biologists installed small wire cages around each nest to protect the eggs from predators and human disturbance.

“This is a sign that, against all odds, western snowy plovers are making a comeback, and we really need the cooperation of beachgoers to help give them the space they need to nest and raise their young,” said senior fish and wildlife biologist Chris Dellith with the Service’s Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office. “I’m hopeful that we can find a balance between beach recreation and habitat restoration, which will allow humans and shorebirds like the western snowy plover to peacefully exist along our coastline.”

Relict leopard frogs not in need of federal protection

USFWS determines populations are stable or increasing thanks to proactive conservation efforts

PHOENIX — A frog species in Arizona and southern Nevada does not need federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, thanks to the multi-partner conservation efforts of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other federal and state agencies that make up the Relict Leopard Frog Conservation Team. The Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that relict leopard frog populations are stable or increasing.

  • 1
  • 2
MUIRNet-News logo

OutdoorWire, 4x4Wire, JeepWire, TrailTalk, MUIRNet-News, and 4x4Voice are all trademarks and publications of OutdoorWire, Inc. and MUIRNet Consulting. Copyright (c) 1999-2019 OutdoorWire, Inc and MUIRNet Consulting - All Rights Reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without express written permission. You may link freely to this site, but no further use is allowed without the express written permission of the owner of this material. All corporate trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

© 1999-2019 OutdoorWire, Inc. (MUIRNet Consulting)