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Fish and Wildlife Service

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

USFWS and Binational Team Draft Path to Recover Jaguar

usfws logoService seeks comments and information ensuring effective plan that employs best available science

December 19, 2016 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the binational Jaguar Recovery Team have completed a draft recovery plan for the jaguar. The draft plan sets goals for improving the species’ status through its entire 19-country range and provides a framework for achieving recovery. The draft plan focuses on the cat’s northwestern population in Mexico and the southwestern United States – setting more precise goals and site-specific conservation actions whereby that population can most effectively rebound and contribute to the entire species’ recovery.

Read more: USFWS and Binational Team Draft Path to Recover Jaguar

Revised Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook Available

usfws logoThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (Services), announce the availability of the final revised Habitat Conservation Planning (HCP) Handbook, which describes requirements, procedures, and guidance for permit issuance and conservation plan development for incidental take permits under the Endangered Species Act. The purpose of the newly revised joint HCP Handbook is to instruct the Services on how to assist applicants to develop HCPs in an efficient and effective manner, while ensuring adequate conservation of listed species. Although the Handbook is designed for the Services, it also can be useful to other HCP practitioners, such as applicants, consultants, and partners.

Read more: Revised Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook Available

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