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Archive for the ‘U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’ Category

CRS — Fish and Wildlife Service: Compensation to Local Governments

June 5, 2014 Comments off

Fish and Wildlife Service: Compensation to Local Governments (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

Many counties are compensated for the presence of federal lands within their boundaries because these lands are exempt from local taxes. Counties with lands under the primary jurisdiction of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) are compensated through the National Wildlife Refuge Fund (NWRF). Counties have argued that the program is underfunded; in some instances, counties raise lack of funding as an argument against the establishment of new refuges. At the same time, some hold that budget constraints argue for a reduction in the program. Congress has begun to examine the program for possible changes.

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Fire Management and Invasive Plants: A Handbook

December 26, 2013 Comments off

Fire Management and Invasive Plants: A Handbook (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Fire management can help maintain natural habitats, increase forage for wildlife, reduce fuel loads that might otherwise lead to catastrophic wildfire, and maintain natural succession. Today, there is an emerging challenge that fire managers need to be aware of: invasive plants. Fire management activities can create ideal opportunities for invasions by nonnative plants, potentially undermining the benefits of fire management actions.

This manual provides practical guidelines that fire managers should consider with respect to invasive plants.

2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation Final National Report Released

December 28, 2012 Comments off

2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation Final National Report Released

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wildlife-related outdoor recreation increased dramatically from 2006 to 2011. The national details are shown in the final report (Final Report) of the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation released today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The Final Report, which follows the August 2012 Preliminary Review and the September 2012 State Overview, provides more information on the types of activities and money spent for fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching.

Highlights of the Final Report include:

  • More than 90 million U.S. residents 16 years old and older participated in some form of wildlife-related recreation in 2011; that is up 3 percent from five years earlier. The increase was primarily among those who fished and hunted.
  • Wildlife recreationists spent $144.7 billion in 2011 on their activities, which equated to 1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Of the total amount spent, $49.5 billion was trip-related, $70.4 billion was spent on equipment, and $24.8 billion was spent on other items such as licenses and land leasing and ownership.
  • The number of sportspersons rose from 33.9 million in 2006 to 37.4 million in 2011. The data show that 33.1 million people fished, 13.7 million hunted, and 71.8 million participated in at least one type of wildlife-watching activity such as observing, feeding and photographing wildlife.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Annual List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act Protection

November 27, 2012 Comments off

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Annual List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act Protection

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released its Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly appraisal of the current status of plants and animals considered candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Three species have been removed from candidate status, two have been added, and nine have a change in priority from the last review conducted in October of 2011.

There are now 192 species recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection, the lowest number in more than 12 years. This reduction reflects the Service’s successful efforts to implement a court-approved work plan that resolves a series of lawsuits concerning the agency’s ESA Listing Program. Since its implementation, this agreement has significantly reduced litigation-driven workloads and allowed the agency to protect 25 candidate species under the ESA, and propose protection for 91 candidate species.

The agreement will continue to allow the agency to focus its resources on the species most in need of the ESA’s protections over the next five years, said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.


Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Service has enough information on their status and the threats they face to propose them as threatened or endangered, but developing a proposed listing rule is precluded by the need to address other higher priority listing actions. Candidate species do not receive protection under the ESA, although the Service works to conserve them. The annual review and identification of candidate species provides landowners and resource managers notice of species in need of conservation, allowing them to address threats and work to preclude the need to list the species. The Service is currently working with landowners and partners to implement voluntary conservation agreements covering 5 million acres of habitat for more than 130 candidate species.

Today’s notice identifies two new candidate species: Peñasco least chipmunk (Sacramento and White Mountains, New Mexico) and Cumberland arrow darter (Kentucky and Tennessee). All candidates are assigned a listing priority number based on the magnitude and imminence of the threats they face. When adding species to the list of threatened or endangered species, the Service addresses species with the highest listing priority first. The nine changes in priority announced in today’s notice are based on new information in the updated assessments of continuing candidates. These changes include five species that increased in priority and four that lowered in priority.

The three species removed from the candidate list include elongate mud meadow springsnail, Christ’s paintbrush, and bog asphodel.

The Economic Cost of Large Constrictor Snakes

June 13, 2012 Comments off

The Economic Cost of Large Constrictor Snakes (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), in partnership with many organizations, has spent more than $6 million since 2005 finding and applying solutions to the growing problem of Burmese pythons and other large invasive constrictor snakes in Florida.

Controlling and eradicating these invasive snakes are critically important because they can cause major economic losses and expenditures. One study reported that nationwide, economic damages associated with nonnative invasive species effects and their control amount to about $120 billion per year in the United States (Pimentel 2005).

Economic Analysis of Critical Habitat Designation for the Northern Spotted Owl

June 7, 2012 Comments off

Economic Analysis of Critical Habitat Designation for the Northern Spotted Owl (PDF)
Source: U.S Fish and Wildlife Service

1. The purpose of this report is to identify and analyze the potential economic impacts of the designation of critical habitat for the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) (hereafter, “NSO” or “species”) in the United States.

2. Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (the Act) directs the Secretary of the Interior to designate critical habitat

“…on the basis of the best scientific data available and after taking into consideration the economic impact, and any other relevant impact, of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may exclude any area from critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the critical habitat, unless he determines, based on the best scientific and commercial data available, that the failure to designate such area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species concerned.”

2. Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (the Act) directs the Secretary of the Interior to designate critical habitat

“…on the basis of the best scientific data available and after taking into consideration the economic impact, and any other relevant impact, of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may exclude any area from critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the critical habitat, unless he determines, based on the best scientific and commercial data available, that the failure to designate such area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species concerned.”

4. Finally, this report was prepared with attention to the memorandum issued by the President to the Secretary of the Interior on February 28, 2012, regarding the proposed revised critical habitat for the northern spotted owl, and focusing on minimizing regulatory burdens. We re-state in the text box below the information regarding this memorandum provided in the NOA for this report.

Public Review Draft of the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy

January 25, 2012 Comments off

Public Review Draft of the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/New York Division of Fish, Wildlife, & Marine Resources

The National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy is an integrated, coordinated, and comprehensive response to the threats of climate change. This multi-partner effort will outline a unified approach to maintaining the key terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems needed to sustain fish, wildlife and plant resources and the services they provide in the face of accelerating climate change.

In short—it is a blueprint for common action. The Strategy will serve as a valuable tool for federal and state agencies, wildlife managers, tribes, and private landowners as they continue to manage their lands and natural resources in a changing environment.

+ Strategy Fact Sheet (PDF)

New Report Shows US Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program Helps Support 68,000 Jobs in U.S. Economy

November 5, 2011 Comments off

New Report Shows US Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program Helps Support 68,000 Jobs in U.S. Economy
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The fisheries program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in association with state agencies and other conservation organizations, contributes $3.6 billion to the nation’s economy and supports 68,000 jobs across the country, according to a new report issued by the agency.

Overall, hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation contribute an estimated $730 billion to the U.S. economy each year, Salazar noted. One in twenty U.S. jobs are in the recreation economy – more than there are doctors, lawyers, or teachers.

The report, Conserving America’s Fisheries, An Assessment of Economic Contributions from Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation, shows that each dollar invested in the Service’s Fisheries Program, combined with its partners, generates about $28 in economic contributions and value.

The economic contributions generated are evidenced at sporting goods stores, marinas, guides and outfitter services, boat dealerships, bait shops, gas stations, cafes, hotels, and many other enterprises.

+ Summary (PDF)
+ Full Report (PDF)

Five-Year Survey Shows Wetlands Losses are Slowing, Marking Conservation Gains and Need for Continued Investment in Habitat

October 12, 2011 Comments off

Five-Year Survey Shows Wetlands Losses are Slowing, Marking Conservation Gains and Need for Continued Investment in Habitat
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

America’s wetlands declined slightly from 2004-2009, underscoring the need for continued conservation and restoration efforts, according to a report issued today by the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The findings are consistent with the Service’s Status and Trends Wetlands reports from previous decades that reflect a continuous but diminishing decline in wetlands habitat over time.

The report, which represents the most up-to-date, comprehensive assessment of wetland habitats in the United States, documents substantial losses in forested wetlands and coastal wetlands that serve as storm buffers, absorb pollution that would otherwise find its way into the nation’s drinking water, and provide vital habitat for fish, wildlife and plants.

The net wetland loss was estimated to be 62,300 acres between 2004 and 2009, bringing the nation’s total wetlands acreage to just over 110 million acres in the continental United States, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.

The rate of gains from reestablishment of wetlands increased by 17 percent from the previous study period (1998 to 2004), but the wetland loss rate increased 140 percent during the same time period. As a consequence, national wetland losses have outpaced gains.

The net loss includes a combination of gains in certain types of wetlands and losses in other types, especially forested wetlands.

+ Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Conterminous United States 2004 to 2009

NOAA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Revise Loggerhead Sea Turtle Listing; Changes will help Guide Conservation Efforts

September 19, 2011 Comments off

NOAA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Revise Loggerhead Sea Turtle Listing; Changes will help Guide Conservation Efforts
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final rule today changing the listing of loggerhead sea turtles under the Endangered Species Act from a single threatened species to nine distinct population segments listed as either threatened or endangered.

Scientists believe this will help focus their sea turtle conservation efforts to the specific needs of the distinct populations. NOAA and FWS share jurisdiction for loggerhead sea turtles listed under the ESA.

“This division of loggerhead sea turtles into nine distinct population segments will help us focus more on the individual threats turtles face in different areas,” said Jim Lecky, NOAA Fisheries director of protected resources. “Wide-ranging species, such as the loggerhead, benefit from assessing and addressing threats on a regional scale.”

“Both agencies agreed that loggerhead sea turtle conservation benefits from an approach that recognizes regionally varying threats,” said Cindy Dohner, FWS southeast regional director. “Today’s listing of separate distinct population segments will help us better assess, monitor, and address threats, and evaluate conservation successes, on a regional scale.”

On March 16, 2010, the agencies proposed to list seven distinct population segments, also known as DPSs, as endangered and two as threatened. In the final rule issued today, five were listed as endangered and four as threatened.

Two of the final statuses, for the Southeast Indo-Pacific Ocean and Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPSs, were changed from endangered in the proposal to threatened. Scientists determined that the Southeast Indo-Pacific Ocean DPS is threatened because the majority of nesting occurs on protected lands and nesting trends appear to be stable. In addition, some of the fisheries bycatch effects appear to have been resolved through requirement of turtle excluder devices in shrimp trawlers, and longline fishery effort has declined due to fish stock decreases and economic reasons.

Scientists found that the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS is threatened based on review of nesting data available after the proposed rule was published, information provided in public comments to the proposed rule, and further analysis within the agencies. Even so, substantial conservation efforts are underway to address the threats to these DPSs.

Retaining their proposed status, five DPSs were listed as endangered–Northeast Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, North Indian Ocean, North Pacific Ocean and South Pacific Ocean–and two others were listed as threatened — South Atlantic Ocean and Southwest Indian Ocean.

+ NOAA Fisheries: Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta)

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