Friday, November 30, 2012

Strength after Sandy

One month ago, Hurricane Sandy pummeled the east coast, and left an impact on Service stations and facilities. Ashley Spratt, a public affairs specialist for the Service’s Midwest Region, came to the Northeast after the storm and got a first-hand look at how Sandy affected refuges in Rhode Island.

Ashley Spratt came to the Northeast to provide
public affairs support after Hurricane Sandy.
Watching the coverage of Hurricane Sandy from half a country away in the comforts of my small college town, I wondered how both my friends and colleagues on the east coast were fairing in the days following the storm. Living in the Midwest, I’ve never experienced the wrath of a tropical storm or hurricane.

On the afternoon of Nov. 2, as I tracked the day’s headlines, reading stories shared online by my old journalism school colleagues now based in New York and New Jersey, I received a text from my supervisor.

“Can you go to the Northeast this weekend?”

I packed my bags. Eight hours and one connection later, I landed at Bradley International Airport, just outside of Hartford, Conn. I had never been to New England, and immediately realized how big this seemingly small region really is.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Big partnerships help even the smallest creatures

A unique union formed between a utility company, a land preserve and two government agencies has created an impressive opportunity for conservation in New York.

National Grid, an electric and gas conglomerate, owns and manages rights-of-way in the upstate Capital District that run through the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and contain patches of wild blue lupine and other wildflowers—a coveted habitat for some uncommon wildlife. While National Grid serves millions of people in New York, as of October, they started serving another, much smaller crowd. 

The company’s rights-of-way have become a favorite spot for two rare butterflies
the Karner blue and frosted elfin. The tiny, bright Karner blue and the brown frosted elfin butterflies thrive only in these open areas with the wild lupine plant, which is their primary food as caterpillars. 

Karner blue butterfly. Credit: J. and K. Hollingsworth.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Flying squirrel fund helps protect rugged West Virginia national forest land

Thunderstruck, W.Va. Photo by Kent Mason, courtesy of The Nature Conservancy.

As part of the Thunderstruck Project, a decade-long effort led by The Nature Conservancy to protect nearly 2,000 acres of former commercial timber company land in West Virginia, a large swath of red spruce and hardwoods will be preserved as part of the Monongahela National Forest. 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Frankenfish" smuggler brought to justice

Snakehead fish pose a significant threat to native fish and wildlife resources.
Credit: Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

A Toronto man and a pet store near the Ontario city have been brought to justice for illegally exporting and selling Giant Snakehead fish from Canada into the U.S. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agents were instrumental in the success of "Operation Serpent," the multi-agency international undercover operation leading to the convictions.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service responds to Sandy in West Virginia

Truck in snow
Greg Titus, division fire management office on assignment to respond to
Superstorm Sandy in West Virginia. Credit: Catherine Hibbard/USFWS

“This is more snow than I’ve seen in my entire life!” said Greg Titus while on assignment in West Virginia to respond to Superstorm Sandy.

Titus, a division fire management officer from St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, was one of several U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees deployed to snowbound West Virginia as members of the interagency Southern Area Red Type 1 Team.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

No bait needed for this catch

The truck used by Michael's Wholesale
Bait to transport fish.
Two Massachusetts businessmen were convicted Friday of three felony charges each in federal court for unlawfully dealing in millions of dollars of live freshwater fish without the required state permits. The case illustrates the protection that state and federal wildlife law provide to our waters and wildlife – and the strong partnership vital to enforcing that protection.

In 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement was alerted by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Massachusetts Environmental Police that something wasn’t quite right at Michael’s Wholesale Bait of West Springfield, Mass.