New Study Reveals the Limitations of the Surrogacy Approach to Conservation Planning

An area representative of the study site in Wyoming.

A new study in Conservation Biology reveals that trying to use conservation areas designed for a single aquatic group (such as fish) will protect common and rare fish species, but may not ensure that rare, endangered species of other aquatic groups (mussels, amphibians, or aquatic reptiles) are protected by conservation priority areas. This research likely has important implications for the future planning of protected areas like national parks and wildlife refuges.  Continue reading “New Study Reveals the Limitations of the Surrogacy Approach to Conservation Planning”

“Backpacks for Birds” explains golden-cheeked warbler migratory connectivity research

How do you ensure conservation of a species that spends less than half of its life on protected breeding areas? The first step is to learn where they go. That is not so easy when working with an organism like the golden-cheeked warbler, a Neotropical migrant that weighs one-third of an ounce (a little less than 10 g). Recently, biologists attached tiny light-level recorders to golden-cheeked warblers from five protected breeding populations in Texas to discover the wintering grounds and migratory pathways of this endangered species.  Continue reading ““Backpacks for Birds” explains golden-cheeked warbler migratory connectivity research”

Southwest Inventory and Monitoring Program assists with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banding program

Big Grass Crew preparing for a banding session

During the month of August 2014, Region 2 Division of Biological Science’s Jeremy Edwardson (Wildlife Biologist, Okmulgee, OK), partook in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s high priority waterfowl banding program in Canada. The waterfowl banding program is a large-scale effort that is essential in monitoring migrating waterfowl and provides crucial information on migratory bird hunting and harvest assessments. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service representatives and other organizations from across North America gather to assist with the banding program every year and is part of a cooperative agreement among Canada, United States, and Mexico. Continue reading “Southwest Inventory and Monitoring Program assists with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banding program”

Monitoring Ocelots in Tamaulipas Mexico

A collage of a few representative photographs of the wild felines photographed as part of the study in coastal Tamaulipas, Mexico.

In 2012, the USFWS entered into a binational partnership with the Civil Society for the Conservancy and Development of Natural Areas (CDEN), Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Gladys Porter Zoo, and (in 2013) the San Antonio Zoo. This partnership was formed to locate a large population of ocelots in northern Tamaulipas, Mexico, to assess if it might be able to serve as a potential source for translocation to smaller, at-risk populations such as the ones located in south Texas.  Continue reading “Monitoring Ocelots in Tamaulipas Mexico”

Little River Inventory and Monitoring Plan is Approved

Little River IMP
The photo shows (from left to right) David Weaver, Bill Johnson, Paige Schmidt, Kris Metzger and Peter Dratch checking out a freshwater mussel bed after completion of the IMP pilot workshop.

Little River NWR completed their Inventory and Monitoring Plan (IMP) with a team including Refuge Manager David Weaver, Refuge Forester John Stephens, Zone Biologist Paige Schmidt, Regional I&M Coordinator Kris Metzger, Lead Biologist for National I&M Program Peter Dratch, Zone Biologist for Central and Eastern Texas Jim Mueller, Zone Biologist for Great Plains Bill Johnson, and Wildlife Refuge Specialist at Caddo Lake NWR Jason Roesner. This effort served as the pilot IMP for Region 2 and was the first IMP approved in the region. Further, Mark Chase presented this IMP to Rowan Gould when he briefed him on the National I&M policy. Service staff can log into ServCat at to download a copy of the Plan or to search other approved IMPs.