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Public Comments Open to August 6: Sea Otter MMPA for Clarification of Terms

Slippers.  Photo Credit:  Deb Pierce Williams/USFWS
Photo Credit: Deb Pierce Williams/USFWS
 

AUGUST 6 DEADLINE: Public Input Sought for Clarification on Select Terms Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act With Regard to Sea Otter.
June7, 2013

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska is providing an additional 60 days for the public to provide information and comment on our draft document clarifying the existing interpretation of the terms “significantly altered from their natural form,” “coastal dwelling,” and “mass produced” as they apply to Alaska Native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter parts under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  We invite your comments on this draft document by August 06, 2013.  If you previously submitted information or recommendations to the Service you do not need to re-submit that information. To view the document or submit comments, please visit http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/current.htm


Kittlitz's Murrelet with capelin. Photo credit: Nick Hatch
Kittlitz's murrelet with capelin.
Photo credit: Nick Hatch
 

Draft Peer Review Plan for the Kittlitz's murrelet.
June 3, 2013

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Peer Review Plan for the biological section of the Kittlitz’s murrelet listing evaluation. The plan is available for review and comment through June 14, 2013.

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Elodea's foothold in float plane lakes like Sand Lake (only three miles away from Alaska’s busiest float plane base, Lake Hood) make it only one step away from invading any number of additional waters across the state. Photo credit: Cecil Rich/USFWS
Elodea's foothold in float plane lakes like Sand Lake (only three miles away from Alaska’s busiest float plane base, Lake Hood) make it only one step away from invading any number of additional waters across the state.
Photo credit: Cecil Rich/USFWS
 

Recent sunny weather may mean a bumper crop for Alaska's Elodea infestations!
May 29, 2013

Elodea. Believed to be Alaska’s first fully submerged aquatic invasive plant, you may have seen Elodea choking out areas of Sand Lake, Little Campbell Lake, or Delong Lake in Anchorage and Chena Slough in Fairbanks. It’s also being found in a growing number of lakes and slow moving rivers/sloughs in Cordova and on the Kenai Peninsula.

Should we be concerned?Yes! Elodea survives under ice. When introduced to a new waterway, Elodea grows rapidly, overtaking native plants, filling the water column, and changing the habitat conditions to which native fish are adapted. Thick mats form at or just below the water surface and can foul boat propellers and floatplane rudders, causing a hazard. In addition to impeding fishing, navigation, boat launching, and paddling, it can also reduce waterfront property values.

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A Tribal Wildlife Grant awarded to Chickaloon Village Traditional Council was completed in 2006, creating a new channel and dramatically improving fish passage to over 9 miles of upstream anadromous fish spawning and rearing habitat. Photo Credit: USFWS
Neil Stichert (left) and John Hudson working in Southeast Alaska. Photo Credit: USFWS
 

Southeast Alaska Biologists Recognized for Improving Habitat in Public Spaces
May 28, 2013

Earlier this month, the Alaska Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) presented two U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists—Neil Stichert and John Hudson—with the 2013 GreenBelt Award for their long-standing efforts to collaborate with others to improve fish and wildlife habitat in public spaces.

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A Tribal Wildlife Grant awarded to Chickaloon Village Traditional Council was completed in 2006, creating a new channel and dramatically improving fish passage to over 9 miles of upstream anadromous fish spawning and rearing habitat. Photo Credit: USFWS
A Tribal Wildlife Grant awarded to Chickaloon Village Traditional Council was completed in 2006, creating a new channel and dramatically improving fish passage to over 9 miles of upstream anadromous fish spawning and rearing habitat.
Photo Credit: USFWS
 

Alaska Tribes Receive $433,026 in Tribal Wildlife Grants
May 23, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced Tribal Wildlife Grants awards to Native American and Alaska Native tribes funding a wide range of conservation projects across the country.

“The mindful stewardship of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats is a value that tribal nations share with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Tribal Wildlife Grants create opportunities for us to work together in a variety of ways, including species restoration, fish passage, protection of migratory birds, and coping with long-term effects of a changing climate.” Press Release

 

 

 

 

Dall sheep ram. Photo Credit: USFWS
 Dall sheep ram.
Photo Credit: USFWS
 
Dall Sheep Guide Sentenced for Illegal Hunting in Alaska
May 23, 2013
Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced May 22, 2013, that a Canadian man was sentenced in U. S. District Court in Fairbanks, Alaska, for the sale of two unlawfully taken and possessed Dall sheep.
 
Patrick J. Downey, 67, of Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada, pled guilty and was sentenced May 10, 2013, (attached press release states "pled guilty in May 2012" in error) ,by U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline after admitting that he guided two hunts that resulted in taking under-sized Dall sheep. Downey was sentenced to pay a $20,000 fine, was placed on probation for five years, during which Downey may not hunt or guide in the United States. The charges arose from Downey’s service as a licensed Alaska assistant guide in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in 2008 and 2009. For approximately twenty years, Downey had guided hunters in the Brooks Range while employed by Master Guide-Outfitter Joe Hendricks, co-owner of Fair Chase Hunts (FCH). Full press release...

 

Pair of black brant on water’s edge. Photo Credit: Peter Mickelson/USFWS
 Pair of black brant on water’s edge.
Photo Credit: Peter Mickelson/USFWS
 
Wetland Conservation in Alaska
May 21, 2013

Each May we celebrate National Wetlands Month. Wetlands are the cornerstone of many important ecosystems, providing numerous ecological and economic benefits for fish, wildlife and people. Wetlands improve water quality, absorb and store water, help reduce flooding, and provide important habitat for wildlife. There are more wetlands in Alaska than all the other U.S. states combined. Read more

 

 

 

 

 

Large male polar bear weighed 1,236 pounds during the 2013 live-capture research on the Chukchi Sea. Photo Credit: USFWS
 This large male polar bear weighed 1,236 pounds during the 2013 live-capture research on the Chukchi Sea. Photo Credit: USFWS
 

Polar Bear Conservation Continues this Endangered Species Day
May17, 2013

Endangered Species Day is particularly poignant today as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and recognize the Federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, industry representatives, and private citizens who have worked together under the law to conserve America’s most imperiled species.

“In Alaska key partners have come together under the Endangered Species Act to successfully recover the Aleutian Canada goose, the Arctic peregrine falcon and the American peregrine falcon” said Geoffrey Haskett, Alaska’s Regional Director. “These are all great success stories. The sobering prospect of extinction motivates us to do all that we can nationally and internationally to conserve remarkable Alaskan species like polar bear.” Read more

 

 

 Thousands of sparrows are grounded in Tok by late spring storm.  Photo Credit: USFWS
 Thousands of sparrows are grounded in Tok by late spring storm. Photo Credit: USFWS
 
Upper Tanana Valley hit with Sparrows EVERYWHERE
May16, 2013

“There’s constant movement on the ground and the singing is insane. I have never seen anything like this EVER. ” says retired Fish and Wildlife biologist Bud Johnson of Tok, Alaska. “There are probably a hundreds of thousands of sparrows just in Tok”.

 

 

Photo of Margaret Peterson in the field.  Photo Credit: USGS
Margaret Peterson in the field. Photo Credit: USGS Photo of Brian McCaffery in the field.  Photo Credit: USFWS
Brian McCaffery in the field.
Photo Credit: USFWS
 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Alaska’s Endangered Species Recovery Champion Award Winners
May16, 2013

The story of endangered species conservation in the United States over the past 40 years involves many heroes. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recognized 16 teams or individuals across the country for their outstanding efforts to conserve and protect endangered and threatened fish, wildlife and plants by designating them 2012 Recovery Champions. Among the award winners honored for their work were two Alaskans, Brian McCaffery and Margaret Peterson.

“Recovery Champion awards acknowledge individuals and groups who have excelled in their efforts to protect and recover our most imperiled species,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “They exemplify the dedication and determination that has helped save countless animals and plants from extinction and that continues to raise the bar in the field of endangered species conservation.”

Press Release

 

 

 

 

Bald eagle chicks in nest.  Photo Credit: Dave Menke/USFWS

Photo Credit: John Gomes

 

Kali leaves the Alaska Zoo to join polar bear cub Luna at the Buffalo Zoo
May13, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that Kali, the polar bear cub rescued in March from the Point Lay area of Alaska, will leave the Alaska Zoo on May 14, arriving at New York’s Buffalo Zoo on May 15. Kali (pronounced Cully, the Inupiat name for Point Lay), a 65-pound cub, will join young female cub Luna where both cubs will benefit from each other’s company. Under the care of Alaska Zoo staff Kali has adjusted well to his surroundings, more than tripling in size and weight.

“The Alaska Zoo has done a tremendous job of providing excellent, temporary care for Kali,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “I would like to personally thank the zoo for stepping up – at moment’s notice – to care for this cub. Now, as Kali leaves Alaska for his next short-term home, we are confident that the Buffalo Zoo will provide the best of care for Kali as the Service makes a final determination on a permanent home for the cub.” Press Release

 

 

Bald eagle chicks in nest.  Photo Credit: Dave Menke/USFWS
Bald Eagle Chicks
Photo Credit: Dave Menke/USFWS

 
Alaska Celebrates Arrival of Migratory Birds
May 6, 2013

Spring has sprung and migratory birds are arriving in Alaska by the thousands.  Soon they will be building nests, laying eggs and another generation of birds will be hatching. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with many partners, celebrates this special time of year by inviting you to participate at bird festivals and events across the state.  Learn more by visiting these links:

 

Earth Day Image
 
The Future of Conservation this Earth Day
April 22, 2013

As we celebrate Earth Day 2013, we invite you to take a moment to reflect on the words of Senator Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day. He knew how hard but how critical long-term thinking is and said, "The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard." We invite you to celebrate Earth Day by choosing ways you can live today so that future generations will enjoy our wildlife legacy in the future. Visit http://www.fws.gov/home/earthday/

 

 

 


 

Slippers.  Photo Credit:  Deb Pierce-Williams/USFWSCourtesy: Doug Lindstrand, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

 

 
USFWS Announces Decision on Petition to Delist Wood Bison
April 18, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish in the Federal Register tomorrow a 90-day finding on a petition to delist the wood bison and remove it from protection under the Endangered Species Act. Based on our review, we find that the petition does not present substantial information indicating that delisting the wood bison subspecies may be warranted.  Therefore, we are not initiating a status review in response to this petition.  However, we ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of, or threats to, the wood bison or its habitat at any time. Press Release

 

Slippers.  Photo Credit:  Deb Pierce-Williams/USFWSMen and women who hunt, fish, and boat provide support for critical conservation projects.
Photo Credit: Alaska Department of Fish & Game

 
Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Almost $40 Million in User-Generated Funding to Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game
"Hunters, Anglers, and Other Recreational Users Provide Record Support for Critical Conservation Projects
March 25, 2013

More than $882.4 million in excise tax revenues generated in 2012 by sportsmen and sportswomen will be distributed to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.

Press Release

 

 

Polar Bear Photo.  Photo Credit:  John Gomes/Alaska ZooPhoto Credit: John Gomes/Alaska Zoo

 

Polar Bear Cub Delivered to Alaska Zoo
March 19, 2013

On March 12, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received word that a female polar bear had been taken near Point Lay, Alaska. The adult female was accompanied by a cub, which was recovered and transferred first to the community of Point Lay, and then to the North Slope Borough’s Department of Wildlife Management (DWM). Subsequent to a health evaluation by the DWM it was determined that the cub is a young male weighing approximately 18.4 lbs. and 3-4 months of age.


 

 
Wood bison cow and calf . Courtesy Doug Lindstrand Wood bison cow and calf. Courtesy Doug Lindstrand
 

The Service announces the availability of the draft Peer Review Plan for the Proposed Wood Bison Introduction project
February 26, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Peer Review Plan for the Proposed Reintroduction of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Wood Bison in Alaska. The plan is available for review and comment through March 19, 2013.. Learn more

 

 

Two young boys ice fishing on Hillberg Lake.  Photo Credit: USFWS Fish On! Photo Credit: USFWS

 

Military Youth Ice Fishing Jamboree
February 25, 2013

What lurks in the cold, dark depths of Hillberg Lake near Anchorage, Alaska?  With an average depth of 13 feet and a width of just 200 yards, most people would think there’s probably not much.  The bald eagle perched overhead was there for something, wasn’t he?  Throw 130 kids and 60 parents with nearly 150 fishing jigs onto the frozen lake, and you’ll quickly learn that landlocked Chinook salmon and rainbow trout lurk beneath the ice.

 

 


Close up image of a polar bear.  Photo Credit: USFWS

Photo Credit: USFWS

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Final Polar Bear Special Rule
February 19, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a Special Rule establishing how activities that may harm the threatened polar bear will be managed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Final Special Rule effectively maintains the management and conservation framework that has been in effect for the polar bear since it was first protected under the ESA in 2008.

The Final Special Rule, issued under Section 4(d) of the ESA, avoids redundant regulation under the ESA by adopting the longstanding and more stringent protections of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as the primary regulatory provisions for this threatened species.

 

 

 

Youth in Alaska's Great Outdoors 
February 12, 2013

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shares how they ENGAGED, EDUCATED, and EMPLOYED youth in 2012 as part of the Department of Interior's Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative.  If you are interested in 2013 opportunities in Alaska visit the links below.

 

 


Aerial view of Knik River Islands Conservation Easement. Photo Courtesty of Great Land Trust. 

Woodland Caribou, painted by Sky Waters from Minnesota, was selected as the grand prize winner of the 2012 Contest. Photo Credit Endangered Species Coalition.

 

Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest - Deadline: March 15
February 12, 2013

Parents, teachers, and scout leaders tell your kids to start the drawing engines and participate in the annual Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest! Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2013. The Youth Art Contest provides students from kindergarten to high school with an opportunity to learn about threatened and endangered species and express their knowledge and support through artwork. Organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the International Child Art Foundation, the art contest is an integral part of the eighth annual national Endangered Species Day on May 17, 2013.

 

 

Aerial view of Knik River Islands Conservation Easement. Photo Courtesty of Great Land Trust. 

Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Credit: USFWS

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Analysis Does Not Support Proposed Land Exchange and Road Corridor Through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge
February 5, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) evaluating a proposed land exchange that would establish a road corridor through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Alaska. After careful evaluation of the impact of the construction and operation of the proposed road on the refuge and its wildlife resources, the agency has identified its preferred alternative as one that does not support allowing the land exchange to go forward.

 

 

Photo of Wood Bison.  Photo Credit: USFWS

Wood bison cow and calf at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Courtesy Doug Lindstrand

 

Service Seeks Comments On Proposed Wood Bison Introduction Project
January 17, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it will propose to release wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) in Alaska, in support of an Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) plan, in an effort to establish a wild population of this native wildlife species to the State.  Potential introduction sites include Minto Flats, the lower Innoko/Yukon River area, and Yukon Flats.America’s wildlife legacy.

 

Top row (L to R): David Irons, Jim Johnson, Kathy Kuletz

Top row (L to R):
David Irons, Jim Johnson, Kathy Kuletz
Bottom row (L to R):
Rick Lanctot, Steve Lewis, Steve Matsuoka

 

Science Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy
January 9, 2013

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit http://www.fws.gov/science/awards.html

The Non-game Migratory Bird Management Team are a group of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists working with partners on bird conservation, including songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors.  Among many activities, they administer survey and monitoring programs, compile data, and apply data to management. They have expanded their network globally to address birds throughout entire ranges. Visit http://alaska.fws.gov/mbsp/mbm/index.htm to learn more about their efforts.

The Non-game Migratory Bird Management Team's efforts help ensure that non-game migratory birds will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.

 


Photo of a polar bear walking on the snow.  Photo Credit: Terry DeBruyn/ USFWS

Photo Credit: Terry DeBruyn/USFWS

 

USFWS Announces Proposed Incidental Take Regulations for Polar Bears and Pacific Walrus
January 8, 2013

In Alaska, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) protects polar bears, Pacific walrus, and northern sea otters by prohibiting "take" of these animals.  The MMPA provides for specific exceptions to the prohibition on non-lethal take, including a provision that allows U.S. citizens to take, through hazing and other non-lethal deterrents, small numbers of marine mammals incidental to specified activities.

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