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Fish and Wildlife Service

FWS Report Underscores Importance of Public Lands

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New 5-Year Report Shows 101.6 Million Americans Participated in Hunting, Fishing & Wildlife Activities - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Survey Preliminary Findings Show Importance of Increasing Access to Public Lands

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior announced a new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that shows that 101.6 million Americans—40 percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older—participated in wildlife-related activities in 2016, such as hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching.

The survey illustrates gains in wildlife watching—particularly around the home—and fishing, with moderate declines in the number of hunters nationally. The findings reflect a continued interest in engaging in the outdoors. These activities are drivers behind an economic powerhouse, where participants spent $156 billion—the most in the last 25 years, adjusted for inflation.

Read more: FWS Report Underscores Importance of Public Lands

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.

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

Plague Confirmed at Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge

usfws logoJune 30, 2017 - Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) near Muleshoe, Texas is informing the public that plague has been confirmed on the Refuge and is currently confined to two populations of prairie dogs.  For public safety, Paul’s Lake and the access road to the lake are temporarily closed to all public access.

Plague is widespread across the western United States and outbreaks are fairly common.  Caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis, plague can be transmitted from animal to animal and from animal to human by the bites of infective fleas.

Read more: Plague Confirmed at Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge

Mexican Wolf Draft Revised Recovery Plan Released for Public Comment

mexican wolfALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a draft revision to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan. The plan guides Mexican wolf recovery efforts by the bureau and its partners, with the ultimate goal of removing this wolf subspecies from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections and returning management to the appropriate states and tribes. The Service is now seeking public input and peer review on the draft revised plan through a public comment period and series of public meetings. The comment period will remain open through August 29, 2017.

Read more: Mexican Wolf Draft Revised Recovery Plan Released for Public Comment

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Delist Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

grizzly bear yellowstoneOn June 22, 2017, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will delist the Yellowstone population of the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis).  According to the Service, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Distinct Population Segment (Yellowstone DPS) of the grizzly bear has recovered to the point that federal protections are no longer necessary and overall management of the species can be returned to the states and tribes.

The Yellowstone DPS consists of grizzlies in portions of northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho.  The Service estimates that the population has rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to approximately 700 today. The Yellowstone DPS now occupies more than 22,500 square miles, more than double its range from the mid-1970s. 

Read more: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Delist Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

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