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.

Sage Grouse Conservation: The Proven Successful Approach

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/greatersagegrouse/maps.php)The Department of the Interior is engaged in what it describes as “the largest and most complex landscape-scale land management planning effort in US history—and the most ambitious conservation experiment under the ESA [Endangered Species Act]." The object of this extraordinary attention is the greater sage grouse, a large ground-dwelling bird that inhabits 165 million acres in 11 western states.

The Interior Department has a September 30, 2015 deadline to decide whether to propose listing the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

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. 

To Be or Not to Be a Wolf

sci fact checkDuring a House hearing on wolf conservation, Rep. Debbie Dingell claimed “the science is clear” that red wolves are not “hybrids” between coyotes and gray wolves. But the science is not clear — and the latest research has tipped the balance of evidence in favor of the hybrid hypothesis.

If recognized as a hybrid, the red wolf could risk losing protection under the Endangered Species Act — an outcome hunters, landowners and ranchers advocate, in part, because red wolves and other wolf species prey on livestock and deer. The new research may also influence the status of other wolf species under the act, such as the gray wolf and the eastern wolf.

In order to be eligible for federal protection under the act, a plant or animal must be classified as a distinct species, including “any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.” However, the act lacks specific provisions for hybrids between endangered and unlisted species — making it unclear if the red wolf should continue to be protected.

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.

USFWS creates ESA listing workplan

Service Creates ESA Listing Workplan to Provide Predictability and Encourage Proactive Conservation of Imperiled Wildlife

September 7, 2016 - As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the effectiveness and implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and provide the best possible conservation for our nation’s imperiled wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released today its National Listing Workplan for addressing ESA listing and critical habitat decisions over the next seven years.

This announcement comes as Service biologists wrap up work on a previous list of more than 250 species that had been identified as candidates for protection under the ESA. This new workplan will allow the Service to meet its current and future ESA obligations while creating opportunity for partnerships aimed at delivering conservation on the ground to keep working lands working, protect local ways of life and reduce regulatory burdens, saving the ESA’s protection for the species that need it most.

USFWS issues final policy on mitigating impacts

usfws logoU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Final Policy on Mitigating Impacts of Development to Further Conservation of Nation’s Wildlife and their Habitats

Policy provides a framework for more efficient and effective mitigation measures while facilitating review and approval of development projects

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a final revised Mitigation Policy that will guide its review of potential impacts of land and water development projects on America’s wildlife and their habitats. Through this policy, the Service will help others mitigate (avoid, minimize and compensate) for a project’s impacts to species and their habitats. This update of the Service’s longstanding Mitigation Policy, which has guided agency recommendations since 1981, will provide a broad and flexible framework to facilitate conservation that addresses the potential negative effects of development, while allowing economic activity to continue.

USFWS updates peer review guidance

Updated Scientific Peer Review Guidance Ensures Rigor, Transparency, Consistency in Endangered Species Act Decisions

September 7, 2016 - Science forms the cornerstone of all decisions made under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and independent peer reviewers are critical in confirming that science is appropriately gathered, reviewed and interpreted. To ensure that its peer review process is as rigorous, transparent and consistent as possible, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has updated its policy guidance for conducting such scientific peer reviews on listing and recovery actions.

When School’s Out, Fishing is In at National Fish Hatcheries and National Wildlife Refuges Across the Country

usfws logoWith school doors closing, kids (and parents) are anxious to find a fun, easy outdoor summer activity. This is the perfect time to get the entire family out to a fishing event hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at a national fish hatchery or national wildlife refuge. Numerous Service-sponsored fishing events will take place during National Fishing and Boating Week (June 3 – 11).

Everyone can join in this great American family tradition. From fishing clinics to fishing derbies, these events offer first-time-anglers opportunities to learn the art of fishing. All family members get to enjoy a fun and inexpensive outing to connect with each other – and with nature.

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