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News and information about environmental and land management action involving U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

John Stewart

FWS to expand hunting opportunities

Service Proposes New Hunting Opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges in Fourteen States Changes affect five refuges in the Service’s Pacific Region

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a proposal to open one new refuge to hunting and to expand hunting opportunities at 16 national wildlife refuges in 14 states, including Oregon, Washington and Idaho. If approved, the proposal would provide additional public hunting opportunities in fulfillment of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997.

“The National Wildlife Refuge System offers some of the best public hunting and fishing around, helping to connect generations of Americans with this great outdoor tradition,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Our goal is to increase hunting opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds, wherever these opportunities are compatible with refuge purposes.”

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John Stewart

GAO Audit Critical of USFWS Monitoring

In a May 2009 audit report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a critical assessment of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracking of required monitoring reports noting the Service has incomplete information about effects on listed species from Section 7 Consultations.

The western United States, including vast stretches of federal land, is home to more than a third of the 1,317 species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Under Section 7 of the Act, federal agencies must ensure that any actions they authorize, fund, or carry out, whether on federal or private lands, do not jeopardize listed species.

The GAO audit found the Service lacks a means of tracking the monitoring reports it requires in biological opinions and does not know the extent of compliance with these requirements. To track monitoring reports, the Service relies on its biologists to keep abreast of biological opinions and follow up on required monitoring reports. At the field offices GAO visited, Service biologists could not account for all required monitoring reports in 40 of 64 consultation files (63 percent) requiring such reports. Service staff said they face a demanding workload, and responding to new consultation requests often takes higher priority than following up on monitoring reports.

Monitoring reports can play a critical role in the consultation process because they provide an evaluation of and a feedback loop on the effects actions have on listed species and the effectiveness of protective measures taken to minimize the impact of take. The lack of monitoring reports increases the risk of litigation to protect species.

Click here to learn more about the Endangered Species Act on MUIRNet-News.

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John Stewart

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Says Western Sage-Grouse Not a Sub-species

The Service was petitioned by the Institute for Wildlife Protection seeking ESA protection for the western sage grouse, which occurs in northern California, eastern Oregon, eastern Washington and possibly parts of Idaho. The Service concluded in 2003 that the western sage grouse is neither a distinct population segment nor a valid subspecies of the greater sage grouse, and therefore was not eligible for protection under the ESA. The Service’s decision was sent back to the agency by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for further consideration of whether the western sage grouse may be a subspecies. The court upheld the Service’s determination that the western sage grouse is not a distinct population segment of the greater sage grouse.

Today’s announcement is included in the Service’s decision that the listing of greater sage-grouse is warranted for ESA protection but is precluded by higher listing priorities. The greater sage-grouse will be placed on the candidate list for future action, meaning the species would not receive statutory protection under the ESA and states would continue to be responsible for managing the bird. The Service also determined that the Bi-State population of greater sage-grouse, found in California and Nevada and formerly known as the Mono Basin population, meets the necessary criteria for recognition as a Distinct Population Segment under the ESA, and that adding this population to the federal list of threatened and endangered species is warranted. However, listing the Bi-State DPS of the greater sage-grouse at this time is precluded by the need to list candidate species with that have a higher priority need for protection under the ESA. It will be placed on the list of candidate species.  The Service will review the status of the Bi-State DPS and the greater sage-grouse annually, as it does with all candidates for listing, and will propose them for listing when funding and workload permit.

The finding on greater sage-grouse incorporates the birds referenced in the petition to list a western subspecies, which will therefore be included on the list of candidate species.

The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is a large, ground-dwelling bird, measuring up to 30 inches in length, is two feet tall and weighs between two to seven pounds.  It has a long, pointed tail with legs feathered to the base of the toes and fleshy yellow combs over the eyes.  In addition to the mottled brown, black and white plumage typical of the species, males sport a white ruff around their necks.  The sage-grouse is found from 4,000 feet to over 9,000 feet in elevation.  It is an omnivore, eating soft plants (primarily sagebrush) and insects.

Greater sage-grouse are found in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, eastern California, Nevada, Utah, western Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. They occupy approximately 56 percent of their historical range.

For more information regarding today’s findings, please visit the Service’s web site at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/birds/sagegrouse.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

 

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John Stewart

Waterfowl Hunting is Economic Boom

New Report Shows Waterfowl Hunting’s Contribution to U.S. Economy

Waterfowl hunters spent $900 million on a variety of goods and services from food, transportation, guns and decoys to hunting dogs, clothing and other incidental expenses in 2006, according to a new report issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These trip and equipment-related expenditures generated more than $2.3 billion in total economic output for 2006, which resulted in $157 million in federal and state tax revenues, supported more than 27,000 jobs, and generated more than $8.5 million in employment income.

“The financial support provided to conservation, and the economy as a whole, is significant,” said Rowan Gould, acting Director of the Service. “Waterfowlers, like many other sportsmen, have a proven track record in their contributions to the U.S. economy, and that’s certainly something to take comfort in during these tough economic times.”

The report, The Economic Impact of Waterfowl Hunting in the United States, is an addendum to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. The report shows more than 1.3 million people, 16 years of age and older, hunted waterfowl in 2006.  Waterfowl hunters represented 10 percent of all hunters, 7 percent of all hunting trip-related expenditures, and 6 percent of all equipment expenditures.

According to the report, waterfowl hunters tend to be younger, have higher educational achievements, and are more affluent compared to all hunters. The majority (74 percent) of waterfowl hunters live in the South and the Midwest.

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John Stewart

Multiple Species Listing Not Warranted

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Listing of Amargosa Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard Not Warranted
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announced a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Amargosa River population of the Mojave fringe-toed lizard (Uma scoparia) located in San Bernardino County, California, as an endangered or threatened distinct population segment (DPS), under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).

Read more at: http://www.muirnet.net/fish-and-wildlife-service/listing-of-amargosa-mojave-fringe-toed-lizard-not-warranted

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Gray Delisting Proposed in Wyoming

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), is proposing to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in Wyoming from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. This rule focuses on the Wyoming portion of the Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) Distinct Population Segment (DPS), except where discussion of the larger Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) or NRM metapopulation (a population that exists as partially isolated sets of subpopulations) is necessary to understand impacts to wolves in Wyoming.

Read more at: http://www.muirnet.net/fish-and-wildlife-service/gray-delisting-proposed-in-wyoming

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Listing of Northern Leopard Frog Not Warranted

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced a 12-month finding on a petition to list the northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).

Read more at: http://www.muirnet.net/fish-and-wildlife-service/listing-of-northern-leopard-frog-not-warranted

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Listing of California Golden Trout Not Warranted
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced a 12-month finding on a petition to list the California golden trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).

Read more at: http://www.muirnet.net/fish-and-wildlife-service/listing-of-california-golden-trout-not-warranted


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Listing of Mojave Ground Squirrel Not Warranted
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announced a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Mohave ground squirrel (Spermophilus mohavensis) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).

Read more at: http://www.muirnet.net/fish-and-wildlife-service/listing-of-mojave-ground-squirrel-not-warranted

 

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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.