Posts tagged with endangered species. View all posts

The ESA and the Role of Private Lands with Tiffany McFarland

One of the most important aspects of our work is sharing conservation knowledge and experiences with private landowners, citizen scientists, and policymakers. This exchange with the public is crucial for any kind of conservation success, and we are honored to share our findings through our researchers, experts, and communicators. For the last 15 years, one of NRI’s research associates, Tiffany McFarland, has been involved with the research and management of endangered species. This spring, she had the opportunity to visit with land stewards about the role of private lands and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Ranching & Wildlife Expo, where she shared background information about the ESA and why private land managers are so important to ensuring the longevity of rare species.

What Landowners Need to Know as We Reflect on 50 Years of the Endangered Species Act

To reflect on 50 years of the Endangered Species Act this fall is to acknowledge the nation’s wildlife and wild places in its simplest form. At the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, it's an opportunity to appreciate the research at the nexus of national security, conservation, and healthy working lands. Every day, we look to strengthen wildlife conservation and to keep working lands sustainable.

First Steps: Gopher tortoise hatchlings indicate relocation success

A keystone species found in the southeastern U.S., the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) was listed as threatened in the western part of its range in 1987 and warranted for listing as threatened in the eastern part of its range in 2011, primarily due to the destruction and fragmentation of its native habitat. These findings prompted action among conservation groups to begin captive breeding or relocation programs to bolster population numbers and ensure that existing populations have safe habitats.

Improving Cooperative State & Federal Species Conservation Efforts

Since the enactment of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, wildlife conservation has evolved to include more robust science, greater public involvement, and expanding partnerships. However, the ways state and federal managers work together hasn't evolved at the same pace. A more proactive approach to encourage, promote, and assist states in implementing conservation is overdue.

In May 2019, the University of Wyoming's Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources and College of Law, along with Texas A&M University's Natural Resources Institute and School of Law, convened a workshop that brought together 22 federal ESA and state wildlife conservation experts to reimagine the state-federal relationship and discuss opportunities for states to engage more meaningfully in species conservation efforts.

Sink, Swim, or Take the Higher Ground: Challenges Facing Rare Species Management in the Florida Keys

While the cause of sea-level rise is subject to intense debate, as wildlife professionals, we continue to analyze and best predict the extent to which rising sea levels will affect habitat of focal species. For species in the Keys, rising water will have significant impacts including shifts in vegetation and habitat dynamics.

Acoustic Monitoring: Redefining innovation on the prairie

If a prairie chicken clucks in the prairie and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Thanks to the innovative survey techniques deployed by the NRI research team of Dr. Brian Pierce, Frank Cartaya and Sarah Turner, we finally have our answer. Travel to eastern New Mexico with us in this week's blog as we track the team's progress while they conduct surveys using acoustic technology, which is 50 times more efficient than traditional methods for detecting the occurrence of the formerly ESA-listed Lesser Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicintus) on Melrose Air Force Range. This is what raising the bar for the standards of proactive wildlife management looks like.

Map of the Month: Two birds, one nest: Songbird management through cowbird trapping

Brown-headed cowbirds are obligate brood parasites, meaning they lay their eggs in the nests of other songbirds instead of building their own. Learn about trapping efforts to control this species in our Map of the Month and accompanying article.

Map of the Month: Freshwater Mussels: Key Indicators of Ecosystem Health

Freshwater mussels play an important role in the health of freshwater ecosystems by providing food and habitat for other aquatic species, stabilizing stream bottoms, and filtering the water in our lakes and rivers. The Rio Grande basin is home to three mussel species suffering from habitat loss and growing human populations in this area may be threatening the water systems necessary for their survival.

Protecting military readiness and the gopher tortoise at the same time

A first-in-the-nation conservation plan, crafted by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and wildlife agencies in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, protects at-risk gopher tortoises while helping military bases to continue training and testing missions across the tortoise’s Southern turf.

As deadly screwworms reduce Key deer herd, IRNR and Texas A&M help multi-agency effort

After being eradicated from the United States for more than 30 years, New World screwworm flies reappeared in the lower Florida Keys this year. Screwworms have infested the endangered Florida Key deer population, which is spread across 11 islands. Approximately 130 deer, mostly males, have been killed by or euthanized due to the infestation, according to researchers.

Scientists search for rare snake in East Texas longleaf pine forests

While many people try to avoid snakes, a group of researchers are doing everything they can to find snakes, specifically the rare Louisiana pine snake.

The nonvenomous, 6-foot-long snake lives in gopher burrows, coming out only to go from one burrow to another or to mate. Its only habitat is the longleaf pine savannahs in eastern Texas and western Louisiana. But today, that habitat is almost gone, said Dr. Toby Hibbitts, a researcher at the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) and curator of amphibians and reptiles at the Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections at Texas A&M.

Hibbitts is working with Dr. Wade Ryberg, another IRNR research scientist, and colleagues from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service on the project.

“With the loss of habitat, populations are crashing in Texas and Louisiana,” Hibbitts said.

The snake’s numbers have never been that abundant, Hibbitts said. In fact, the snake was undiscovered until the 1920s.