Economic Benefits of U.S. National Wildlife Refuges

Outdoor activities on national wildlife refuges help stimulate the economy and generate funding for wildlife conservation, according to Banking on Nature, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report.

The report found that refuges pumped $2.4 billion into the U.S. economy. Across the country, refuges returned an average $4.87 in total economic output for every $1 appropriated in Fiscal Year 2011.

Wildlife-dependent recreation on national wildlife refuges includes wildlife photography, environmental education, wildlife observation, hunting, fishing, and other activities.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Galveston Bay Texas Oil Spill

A major oil spill in Galveston Bay Texas could have significant effects on wildlife. The spill resulted from a vessel collision, known as the Texas City “Y” incident, which occurred in the Houston Ship Channel on the afternoon of Saturday, March 22, 2014.

The maximum capacity of the breached tank is 168,000 gallons of marine fuel oil. The amount of released product was still being assessed as of Sunday.

The incident response is being coordinated by a unified command, which consists of a wide variety of federal, state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations and the owners of the damaged barge, Kirby Inland Marine.  Coordinating agencies include the United States Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, and Galveston County Office of Emergency Management.

Other agencies participating in the response include U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Galveston City Office of Emergency Management, Texas City Office of Emergency Management, and the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health.

Wildlife Response Services, a Texas-based wildlife rehabilitation service has also been deployed to assist with any impacted birds or marine life.  Persons who observe any impacted wildlife are urged to call 888-384-2000.

Galveston Bay Oil Spill Links

http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/2126930/Update-Texas-City-Y-collision-#sthash.eSvlZ45r.dpuf

http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/2126958/Update-2-Texas-City-Y-incident-response-#sthash.j6VkfPcP.dpuf

http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/2127174/#sthash.CnJbGoNP.dpuf

source: United States Coast Guard

Maryland AccessDNR App

Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources recently announced the availability of a new mobile smart phone app. The AccessDNR app provides hikers, birders, hunters, anglers, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts with a variety of information and news.

The location-based app allows users to discover and locate State recreation, such as parks and trails, boat launches and hunting lands, in relation to where they are. Customers can refine their location search in radius increments of 10, 25 or 50 miles.

The mobile app also provides access to fishing and hunting regulations, a fish identifier, DNR news updates, and more.

The AccessDNR mobile phone app features:

- Location-based maps and directions to State-owned lands and attractions

- Maryland State Park activities and amenities

- Fishing and hunting season information

- Hunting harvest mobile submission option

- Trophy Case, hunting photo sharing through Facebook, Twitter or by email

- A location-based sunrise/sunset and tide update

- Maryland fish and shellfish identifier

- Hunting, fishing and boating regulation guides

- Breaking DNR news and alerts

The Maryland AccessDNR app is currently compatible with Apple and Android devices.

For more information, visit dnr2.maryland.gov/Pages/dnrapp.aspx.

source: Maryland’s Department of Natural Resource

National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recented awarded $16.5 million in grants to support 21 critical coastal wetland projects in 12 states and Puerto Rico under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants Program.

State and local governments, private landowners, conservation groups and other partners will contribute an additional $18.2 million to these projects, which include acquiring, restoring or enhancing coastal wetlands and adjacent uplands to provide long-term conservation benefits to fish and wildlife and their habitats.

States and territories receiving funds are Alabama, Alaska, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The complete list of projects funded by the 2014 grant program can be found here.

The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is administered by the Service and funded under provisions of the 1990 Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act. Funding is provided by Sport Fish Restoration Act revenue – money generated from an excise tax on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Carib Tails Whale Data Collection Program

International scientists are encouraging mariners to help track the movements of endangered humpback whales between NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and its sister sanctuaries across the Caribbean as part of Carib Tails, a new international citizen science effort.

Carib Tails is a collaboration between the sanctuary and partners at Marine Mammal Sanctuary of the Dominican Republic, Agoa Marine Mammal Sanctuary/French Antilles, Bermuda Marine Mammal Sanctuary, the marine mammal sanctuaries of the Windward and Leeward Dutch Antilles, and the United Nations Caribbean Environment Programme’s Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Programme (UNEP/SPAW).

By photographing the tails of humpbacks they encounter at sea, boaters can support on-going research to collect migration data on the shared population of approximately 1,000 humpbacks. Photographs will be matched to entries in the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog and images of previously unknown/un-photographed whales will be added to the collection.

The project stresses safe boating and viewing practices around these endangered animals, which includes not approaching within 100 yards of the whales, and federal regulations apply. A dedicated website, http://caribtails.org, provides tips on how to photograph flukes for research purposes, photo submission forms and other information about humpback whales.

Researchers identify individual humpback whales by the black and white patterns on the underside of their flukes, or tails. Scars and natural pigmentation, ranging from all white to all black, along with the scalloped shaped edge of the tail, give each whale a distinct identification. Photographs of humpback flukes have allowed researchers to monitor the movements, health and behavior of individual animals since this research began in the 1970s.

Stellwagen Bank sanctuary’s Sister Sanctuary Program began in 2007 to increase public awareness and help improve recovery of the shared population of humpback whales through joint research, monitoring, education and other programs.

For more information, visit: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/jan14/carib-tails.html

source: NOAA National Ocean Service

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