National Wildlife Refuge Week 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week from October 11-17, 2015.

National wildlife refuges, managed by the Service, have been part of America’s rich natural heritage since 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on Pelican Island in Florida.

Since 1995, refuges across the country have celebrated National Wildlife Refuge Week during the second full week of October with festivals, educational programs, tours and other events.

The National Wildlife Refuge System encompasses more than 150 million acres in 563 refuges and 38 wetland management districts.

Every state has at least one national wildlife refuge, and there is a refuge within an hour’s drive of most major cities.

For more information, visit

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Study Connects Wildfires and Storms to Impaired Water Quality

Water quality can be substantially diminished for several years after wildfire in response to relatively common local thunderstorms, according to a recent USGS study.

USGS scientists led by research hydrologist Sheila Murphy collected extensive streamflow and water-quality data for three years after the Fourmile Canyon Fire, Colo., in a geographic setting typical of the American southwest. They then correlated the results with data from a high-density rain gage network.

About half of the water supply in the southwestern U.S. is supplied by water conveyed from forests, which generally yield higher quality water than any other land use. However, forests are vulnerable to wildfire; more than 12 million acres of land, including important forested water-supply watersheds, have burned in the southwestern U.S. in the past 30 years. Wildfires increase susceptibility of watersheds to both flooding and erosion, and thus can impair water supplies.

The USGS investigators found that hydrologic and water-quality responses downstream of the burned area were primarily driven by small, brief convective storms that had relatively high, but not unusual, rainfall intensity. Suspended sediment, dissolved organic carbon, nitrate, and manganese concentrations were 10-156 times higher downstream of the burned area compared to upstream, and reached concentrations that could impair the ability of water-treatment plants to effectively treat water for human consumption.

Results from this study quantitatively demonstrate that water quality can be altered for several years after wildfire, even in a watershed that was only 23% burned. Because wildfire frequency and size, and possibly storm frequency and intensity, are projected to increase in the southwestern U.S. in the future, post-wildfire water-quality impacts may become more common, compounding water supply and quality problems related to projected decreases in runoff and continued population growth.

Recently published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the study suggests potential adaptation strategies to avoid the introduction of problematic constituents into water-treatment facilities or reservoirs after wildfire.

source: U.S. Geological Survey

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Phase IV Restoration Projects

10 Deepwater Horizon restoration projects totaling  nearly $134 million have been selected and approved by the Deepwater Horizon NRDA Trustee Council.

The approved projects are intended to benefit sea turtles, birds, and fish; increase recreational opportunities; and improve nearshore and reef habitats.

Out of the $134 million, about $126 million will be devoted to ecological projects.

About $8 million will be devoted to projects that address lost recreational use.

Deepwater Horizon restoration projects:


Osprey Restoration in Coastal Alabama

Alabama Living Shorelines Projects

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Trail Enhancement


Seagrass Recovery at Gulf Islands National Seashore


Bike and Pedestrian Use Enhancements at Davis Bayou, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Restoring Living Shorelines and Reefs in Mississippi Estuaries


Texas Rookery Islands—Galveston Bay and East Matagorda Bay


Sea Turtle Early Restoration

Pelagic Longline Bycatch Reduction

More Information

Federal Register Notice:

Gulf Spill Restoration Website:

Bombay Hook Refuge Quarter

On September 18, 2015, the U.S. Mint released a coin honoring Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge through its America the Beautiful  Quarters Program.

The Bombay Hook quarter is the first coin minted in honor of a U.S. national wildlife refuge. The coin features a great blue heron and great egret.

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Facts

– Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is located in Delaware, USA.

– 278 species of birds have been recorded at Bombay Hook.

– The refuge has been designated as a Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy.

–  During fall migration, more than 100,000 snow geese stop at Bombay Hook to rest and feed.

– Last year 100,000 people from 45 states and 13 countries visited the refuge.

– The refuge protects some of the largest remaining expanses of coastal marshes in the country.

Migratory Bird Conservation Commission Grants

In September, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (Commission) approved more than $27 million in funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to purchase, lease or otherwise conserve nearly 200,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds across the United States.

Of the total funds approved by the Commission, $21.4 million will be provided through North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants to conserve more than 133,000 acres of wetlands and adjoining areas in 13 states.

The Commission also approved expenditure of nearly $6.5 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve 3,274 acres for five national wildlife refuges through fee title land acquisitions and easement acquisitions.

The $6.5 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund was raised partially through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps (Duck Stamps), which help provide habitat for wildlife and increased opportunities for refuge visitors who hunt, bird-watch, photograph and view wildlife.

For every dollar spent on federal Duck Stamps, 98 cents goes toward the acquisition or lease of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since 1934, the Federal Duck Stamp Program and Migratory Bird Conservation Fund have provided more than $800 million to acquire more than 5.7 million acres for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

An additional 45 small grants worth $3 million were awarded earlier by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council.

source: U.S. Department of the Interior

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