Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Pollinator Sanctuary Trail

A new Pollinator Sanctuary trail was recently opened at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near Cambrige Maryland. The four-acre site was specifically designed as habitat for pollinating insects and includes over twenty five different species of native wildflowers and grasses.

Along the trail, visitors may encounter bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, and other wildlife. Many of the plants are expected to bloom for much of the spring and summer. The Pollinator Sanctuary trail is located at the entrance to the Wildlife Drive, near the toll booth.

source: Friends of Blackwater

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grants

In June, officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the approval of more than $960,000 for grants aimed at protecting, restoring, and enhancing 908 acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat in Wisconsin and New York under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The grants were awarded under the Great Lakes Watershed Habitat and Species Restoration Initiative Grants Programs administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

2014 funded projects include:

New York

The Western New York Land Conservancy was awarded $300,000 to permanently protect a 29 acre parcel through a fee-title acquisition, and create the new Stella Niagara preserve on the Niagara River.

Wisconsin

Mequon Nature Preserve, Inc. was granted $38,000 to restore and enhance 91 acres of wetlands and associated uplands at the Mequon Nature Preserve in Ozaukee County, Wis.

The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust was granted $300,000 to protect 650 acres across six properties located along the Lake Michigan shoreline and Milwaukee River Corridor.

The Nature Conservancy will be granted $250,000 to protect 98 acres across three parcels in Door County, Wis., where habitats are rapidly disappearing via coastal development.

The Bayfield Regional Conservancy will be granted $72,997 to protect 40 acres of habitat adjacent to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Bayfield County, Wis.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

USA National Wildlife Refuge Events – July 2014

July is a busy month at most U.S. national wildlife refuges. Activities include wildlife watching, birding, kayaking, educational camps, photography, seminars, and more.

Farallon National Wildlife Refuge Boat Tours
July 11 -12
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, special boat tours depart from Farallon National Wildlife Refuge to explore the wilderness islands.

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Red Wolf Howls
Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC
Wednesdays 7:30 to 9 p.m. (Summer 2014)

Hear endangered red wolves howl in the wild. Learn what the refuge is doing to aid in recovery of the species. Summer howlings cost $10 per person; children age 12 and under are free. No registration is required. Event will occur except with lightning, heavy rain, or wind or impassable roads. Pets not allowed. Questions: 252-216-9464

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge Golf Cart Tours
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, WI
July 3, 17 and 19
7:45 to 10 a.m.

Travel silently through the refuge and experience its beauty. Look for migratory birds, native plants, dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies. Bring your camera and binoculars.  Binoculars are available to borrow.

Paddle Siletz Bay
Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge, OR
July 3, 7, and 18

Take a two-hour paddle through the heart of Siletz Bay Refuge while learning about its wildlife and natural history. Space is limited. Reserve your space early: 541-270-0610. Trips are free but you must provide your own canoe or kayak. Starting times will vary.

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge Summer Butterfly Tour
Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, MN
July 5, 10 a.m. to noon

Meet your guide at the Oak Savanna Trail, at the start of the Prairie’s Edge Wildlife Drive on CR 5.

Fast Fliers Dragonfly Seminar
Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, IL
July 9, 9 to 10 a.m.

Zooming low over the wetlands, dragonflies bring the swamps to life in mid-summer. Learn about some of the refuge’s many dragonflies with odd names like Blue-Faced Meadowhawk and Cobra Clubtail. Then see how many you can spot at the Wildlife Haven Trail pond.

Farallon Island Boat Tours
Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, CA
July 11-12, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Visitors can takle a special boat tour of the Farallon Wilderness, offered by the refuge, the Oceanic Society and San Francisco Whale Tours in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. See the refuge’s wilderness islands and look for whales. Tours cost $65 per person.

The Friday, July 11, tour leaves from San Francisco’s Pier 39 at 8 a.m. Visit http://www.sanfranciscowhaletours.com for tickets and enter discount code Farallon65.

The Saturday, July 12, tour leaves from Sausalito at 8 a.m. For this date, call Oceanic Society at 415-256-9604 or visit http://www.oceanicsociety.org. The July 12 tour price will increase after June 12.

Both tours feature live narration by Farallon Refuge staff about island wildlife and the islands’ wilderness designation.

Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge Butterfly Count
Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN
July 12, 9:30 a.m. to noon

Help identify different species of butterflies on the refuge.

The Magical Forest
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, WA
July 12, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

This family-friendly walk explores the relationships between plants, animals and other organisms, and is meant to foster a sense of value for nature and a desire to protect it. Meet at the visitor center.

Canoe Trip
Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge, TN
July 12, 7:30 a.m.

Enjoy a one-hour float on the West Boat House Trail. Floats take place water-level permitting. Bring your own kayak or canoe and life jacket. Some boats are available for borrowing. Register: 731-538-2481

Full Moon Foray
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, MA
July 12, 7 p.m.

Join a local naturalist for a summer nature walk. All ages are welcome. For each walk, a $5/person voluntary donation is requested. No pre-registration required. For more information, call 978-760-1933.

FOCUS on Photography Discover
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI
July 12, 9 to 9:45 a.m.

Learn outdoor photography techniques, share tips and tricks, and discover new photography locations on the refuge. Share your favorite photos and apply what you learned in the program. Bring your camera (film, DSLR, or point and shoot), extra batteries and a sense of adventure! Free and open to the public. All skill levels welcome.

Swampwalk Nature Trail
Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, MO
July 12, 9 to 10 a.m.

Take part in a nature hike to learn about the great diversity of tree species on the refuge. A refuge ranger will point out tree species and will give tips on identification. Meet at the Swampwalk Nature Trail.

Lost Mound Birding Tours
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, WI
July 12 and 20, 1 to 5p.m.

Journey through portions of the Lost Mound Unit, formerly known as the Savanna Army Depot, which contains the largest remnant of sand prairie/sand savanna in Illinois. Look beyond the military relics and you might glimpse a loggerhead shrike, blue grosbeak or an upland sandpiper.

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge Bird Walks

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, WI
July 13, 8 to 10 a.m.

Birders of all ages and skill levels are invited to join a tour of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

Desert Detectives Critter Camp
Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, ID
July 14 to 18, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Children entering second and third grades this fall are invited to join this week-long, interactive day camp. Activities include hikes, experiments, crafts, and games, discover how animals, plants and people survive in the desert. For more information, call 208-467-9278.

Thunder on the Prairie
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
July 19, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Discover the history and behavior of American bison during a short auditorium presentation. Then venture out with a naturalist to get a closer look at these agile giants on the prairie.

Moth Night Out
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, TX
July 19, 9 p.m. to midnight

The refuge will host its second annual Moth Night Out event as part of National Moth Week. Meet at the refuge headquarters building to see, discuss and photograph some of the more than 425 species of moths documented around the building’s security lights.

Lake Audubon Kayaking Adventure
July 23, 9 to 11 a.m.
Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, ND

Paddlers can enjoy a beautiful bay on North Dakota’s Lake Audubon. Kayaks, paddles and life jackets are provided. Kayaking will be cancelled if winds exceed 18 mph. Wear shoes and clothing that can get wet. Pre-registration is required. Call 701-442-5474 ext. 110.

Eco Explorers Day Camp – Session 1
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI
July 29 to 31

Students entering grades 1 – 6 are invited for three days of fun, exploration and outdoor adventure. Campers will be introduced to wildlife and habitats found at the refuge, and will explore nature through hands-on experiences from hiking to wildlife photography. Campers will be divided into two age groups, upper and lower elementary. For more information, call 608-565-4412.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Endangered Species Act Policy Changes

On June 27, 2014. the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service announced a new policy to clarify the interpretation of the phrase “significant portion of its range” in the Endangered Species Act as it applies to decisions to list species as threatened or endangered.

The policy will provide consistency in the application of the phrase, which appears in the Act’s statutory definitions of “endangered species” and “threatened species” but is not separately defined in the Act itself.

Under the new policy, the two services would be able to list a species as threatened or endangered throughout its range if the best available science shows that the species is threatened or endangered in a vital portion of that range, the loss of which would put the species as a whole at risk of extinction. That portion of the range would be determined to be “significant.”

Specifically, the policy clarifies a species’ “range” as the geographical area within which that species is found at the time of the listing determination. The term “significant portion” is defined to mean a portion of that range whose contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without the individuals in it, the species as a whole would be in danger of extinction (meriting an endangered status), or likely to become so in the foreseeable future (meriting a threatened status).

The agencies emphasize that the “significant portion of its range” definition will only come in to play under certain limited circumstances. If a species is determined to be endangered or threatened throughout all its range, it will be listed as such in its entirety without any further analysis of portions of that range.

If a species is determined to be neither endangered nor threatened throughout all its range and a subsequent analysis reveals it is endangered or threatened within a significant portion of that range, then the entire species will be listed as an endangered or threatened species accordingly.

The new policy will allow ESA protections to help species in trouble before large-scale declines or threats occur throughout the species’ entire range, according to USFWS.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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