2005 Cover of the JulyAugust Refuge Update bimonthly newsletter

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2005 Cover of the JulyAugust Refuge Update bimonthly newsletter Powered By Docstoc
					                                          U.S Fish & Wildlife Service
                                          National Wildlife Refuge System

                                                                                                     July/August 2005 Vol 2, No 4

A New Line on Refuge Fishing,
page 3                                    Experts Mobilize to Recover
A new, comprehensive guide debuts,
featuring fishing at 270 refuges
                                          Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
                                          Rediscovery at Cache River Refuge Breeds Hope
Northeast Refuges Reach Half-
Million-Acre Milestone, page 5
In an area of the country known for
its growing population density,
Northeast refuges celebrate

Focus on…Trails and Wildlife
Observation, pages 8-15
Shining the spotlight on the facilities
that encourage visitors to get out on
the land

An Earth Day Visit, page 22
Interior Secretary Norton joined
volunteers on a wetlands
restoration project

                                          Searchers rediscovered the Ivory-billed woodpecker in April at the Cache River NWR, AR. Prior to its
                                          recent rediscovery, the last confirmed sighting of an Ivory-billed woodpecker was more that 60 years ago.
                                          (Mark Godfrey/TNC)

                                          Just months after the phenomenal news                    through conservation easements,
                                          in April that an Ivory-billed woodpecker                 safe-harbor agreements and conserva-
                                          had been rediscovered at Arkansas’ Cache                 tion reserves.
                                          River NWR, a newly appointed team of
                                          experts began charting a recovery plan                   The recovery team brings together some
                                          for the bird thought to be extinct for more              of the best minds in ecology, conservation
                                          than 60 years. The new team is charged                   biology, forestry and ornithology from a
                                          with developing a full recovery program                  wide spectrum of organizations, including
                                          by spring 2007.                                          the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission,
                                                                                                   Cornell University’s Laboratory of
                                          The recovery team’s efforts will be bol-                 Ornithology, Civic Enterprises, the Fish
                                          stered by $10.2 million in redirected funds              and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of
                                          from the Interior and Agriculture                        Engineers, the National Fish and Wildlife
                                          Departments, supplementing funds                         Foundation, The Nature Conservancy,
                                          already committed to research and habitat                Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Audubon
                                          protection by private sector groups and                  Society of Arkansas, National Audubon
                                          citizens. In addition to funding recovery                Society, Forest Service and the American
                                          planning, federal monies will be used for                Forest Foundation.
                                          research and monitoring, public education,
                                          law enforcement and habitat conservation
                                                                                                                                       continued pg 19
                         From the Acting Director
                         Our Visitors Deserve the Best We Have
                           For the past        New Hampshire. At the same time, we         O We’ve launched a Web site,
                           several years,      proposed expanding opportunities at           http://historicpreservation.fws.gov/,
                           the National        seven additional wildlife refuges in          which highlights the 12,0000-plus
                           Wildlife Refuge     California, Maine, Massachusetts,             cultural and historical sites that have
                           System has been     Missouri, New York and Washington.            been identified on wildlife refuge;
hard at work fulfilling the intent of the      Not long before that, we published a com-
1997 National Wildlife Refuge                  prehensive update of Your Guide to          O We are improving and standardizing
Improvement Act. Service employees             Fishing on National Wildlife Refuges,         signs so people can find wildlife
have made some impressive gains in this        and we’re working with our partners to        refuges more easily and know that the
area that we’re proud to share these           make the guide and its information widely     Fish and Wildlife Service administers
accomplishments with all Americans.            available.                                    them;

We’ve been expanding compatible wildlife       We’re also spreading our message and our    O We’ve renewed our formal partnership
dependent recreational opportunities, such     Service mission to new publics:               with the nonprofit Wilderness Inquiry,
as hunting and fishing, on our national                                                      dedicated to expanding recreation
wildlife refuges. We welcome hunters,          O To help us engage new audiences, we         opportunities for those with
anglers, bird watchers, photographers,           have joined the Travel Industry of          disabilities; and
and others who seek to enjoy the extraor-        America and exhibited at its annual
                                                 conference;                               O We’re are working with the North
dinary resources on this nation’s wildlife                                                   American Nature Photography
refuges.                                       O ESPN will air two 30-minute specials        Association to add 14 new
Just a few weeks ago, we proposed adding         about national wildlife refuges this        photography blinds to those that
hunting and fishing programs on refuges          year, and continues to broadcast the        already serve the public on 17 wildlife
in Alabama, California, Connecticut,             two-minute weekly vignettes that            refuges.
Massachusetts, Minnesota and                     millions have enjoyed;
                                                                                                                              continued pg 15

                         Chief’s Corner
                         Meeting the World of                                              RefugeUpdate
                         Wildlife on Trails                                                Gale Norton                 Address editorial
                           A great way       We are featuring the National Wildlife        Secretary of the Interior   inquiries to:
                                                                                                                       Refuge Update
                           to embrace        Refuge System’s network of trails in this     Matt Hogan                  USFWS-NWRS
                           the natural       Refuge Update not because they them-          Acting Director – U.S.      4401 North Fairfax Dr.,
world is to hike, paddle or ride along       selves are destinations, but because they     Fish and Wildlife Service   Room 634C
some of the 2,500 miles of land and          are the routes to a better appreciation of    William Hartwig
                                                                                                                       Arlington, VA
water trails of America’s national           the natural world and a greater under-                                    22203-1610
                                                                                           Assistant Director –
                                                                                                                       Phone: 703-358-1858
wildlife refuges. About a quarter of our     standing of the role of wildlife refuges in   National Wildlife Refuge
                                                                                                                       Fax: 703-358-2517
annual visitors already do so. What’s        wildlife conservation. On the Refuge          System
important is not reaching a destination,     System’s trails, you can begin to discov-     Martha Nudel                RefugeUpdate@fws.gov
but taking the journey.                      er why national wildlife refuges are so       Editor in Chief
                                                                                                                       This newsletter is
                                             special to individual communities and to                                  published on recycled
Take time to watch or photograph birds,      America’s sense of nationhood.                                            paper using soy-based
mammals and other species. Listen to                                                                                   ink
the calls of cranes and wrens. Inhale        The Refuge System has always had a
the fragrance of spring and summer
wild flowers. Enjoy the splendors that
                                             network of trails. The Pony Express
                                             National Historic Trail travels through                                                    C
each season brings.                          two refuges – Fish Springs in Utah and
                                             Ruby Lake in Nevada. In the 1920s,
                                                                         continued pg 24
Pg 2 Refuge Update | July/August 2005
A New Line on Refuge Fishing
New Guide Unveiled Just in Time for Fishing Season
By Steve Farrell                               trips to Alaska refuges, where they’re                The new fishing guide provides information
                                               sure to feel they have left the rest of the           on all refuge fishing sites, including access to
The National Wildlife Refuge System            world behind. From the Alaska Peninsula               fishing piers and boat launches, fishing
unveiled Your Guide to Fishing on                                                                    seasons, hours of refuge operation, access
                                               to the far reaches of Yukon Flats Refuge,             roads and highway routes. In addition, the
National Wildlife Refuges at the Outdoor       anglers can catch all five species of Pacific         guide describes all the refuge lakes, streams
Writers Association of America’s annual        salmon while floating some of the nation’s            and waterways that can be fished as well as
conference in Madison, WI, in June. An         most pristine rivers. For an intense                  the species available. (USFWS)
updated version of the original 1991 publi-    fishing experience, anglers can stand
cation, the guide highlights more than 270     shoulder-to-shoulder competing for giant
fishing sites and provides anglers the         king salmon at Kenai NWR, a
information necessary to enjoy world-class     popular fishing
fishing opportunities.                         hotspot.
The guide gives anglers easy access to         While Your Guide
refuges across the country by highlighting     to Fishing on
not only the fishing opportunities but also    National Wildlife
the nearest highways, towns and services.      Refuges was creat-
For example, Bostonians can take a short       ed to help people
trip along Highway 28 to reach Monomoy         discover many a
NWR, world-renowned for superb flats           special honey hole, it
fishing for trophy stripers.                   is not without a con-
The guide also can help anglers find the       nection to natural
most convenient boat ramps and fishing         resources. The guide
piers to bring them closer to the catch of a   contains an introduc-
lifetime. Launching a drift boat from one      tion to the Refuge
of four boat ramps at Seedskadee NWR in        System and a series of
Wyoming brings fly-fishers closer to the       sidebars that highlight
20-plus inch trout that thrive in refuge       both resource and recre-
waters. Like Seedskadee Refuge, several        ation issues. From the
others throughout the Mountain-Prairie         fight against invasive
Region host trout of all sizes and colors,     species to the growing
luring anglers to high mountain streams        popularity of saltwater
and famous trout waters such as the            fishing, the guide connects
Green River.                                   anglers to the water and
                                               encourages ethical angling.
In addition, the guide describes the lakes,
streams and waterways that can be fished       The guide is the first in a
as well as the species available, offering     series to be produced by the
specific information about fishing seasons,    Refuge System that high-
hours of refuge operation and the condi-       lights its vast recreational
tion of access roads. In the Southeast, this   opportunities. Future guides will focus on
information promotes one of the most well      wildlife watching, birding, photography
known brands of fishing in America —           and hunting.
bass angling. Witnessing hog bass surface      For more information on the fishing guide,
for a popper on Lake Eufaula on its name-      contact Steve Farrell, steve_farrell@
sake refuge in Alabama is a memorable          fws.gov or (703) 358-2247. Each staffed
experience for hundreds of families and        refuge and Regional Office received copies
friends each year.                             of the guide. It is also available on the
For the wilder side of the fishing experi-     Refuge System’s Web site,                       Steve Farrell is a communications specialist in the
ence, the guide gives adventure-seeking        http://refuges.fws.gov, for online viewing      Division of Visitor Services and Communications in
anglers helpful information for arranging      or downloading. ◆                               Refuge System Headquarters.

                                                                                                July/August 2005 | Refuge Update Pg 3
Partners’ Ingenuity Saves Kauai Albatross Chicks
                                                                                                       “It was a race against time,” Refuge
                                                                                                       Biologist Brenda Zaun said. “While my
                                                                                                       colleagues from the Department of
                                                                                                       Agriculture were gathering eggs, I
                                                                                                       candled the eggs to determine which ones
                                                                                                       were not viable.” The Department of
                                                                                                       Agriculture biologists brought 28 eggs or
                                                                                                       newly hatched chicks to Zaun.
                                                                                                       “We were able to find foster parents for
                                                                                                       every one,” Zaun said. “All I thought was
                                                                                                       that if I didn’t find a parent, this chick was
                                                                                                       going to die. That was just not
                                                                                                       acceptable.” Every egg and chick was
                                                                                                       accepted by its surrogate parents and will
                                                                                                       now be imprinted to return to Kauai’s
                                                                                                       north shore when they are old enough
                                                                                                       to mate.
                                                                                                       As for the adult Laysan albatross at the
                                                                                                       missile range, with no chicks to feed, most
                                                                                                       have returned to the open sea until the
Biologist Brenda Zaun, from Kilauea Point NWR, HI, places a foster chick in a Laysan albatross nest.
(Judson Ventar/USDA-Wildlife Services)
                                                                                                       breeding season next November.
                                                                                                       Partners are already planning how to
                                                                                                       avoid another crisis.
By Barbara Maxfield                                   years old, albatrosses have been known to
                                                      live more than 50 years.                         “We want more birds at Kilauea Point
In the continuous pursuit to safely                                                                    National Wildlife Refuge and along the
operate a military airfield in the midst of           The missile range faced a crisis in January      north shore,” said Zaun. “They’re
an albatross nesting colony, a group of               when the albatrosses not only had already        welcome, they’re safe and they have a
partners as committed to saving the birds             returned, but also laid eggs. With the           place to reproduce. This new program
as to ensuring aircraft and aviator safety            eggs almost ready to hatch, the missile          will help increase our population for years
found a new approach on the island of                 range staff worked with the Department           to come.” ◆
Kauai in Hawaii.                                      of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health
                                                      Inspection Service and the staff of the          Barbara Maxfield is chief of the Pacific Islands
The U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range                 Kauai National Wildlife Refuge Complex           External Affairs Office.
Facility, on the southwestern coast of                to find a solution rather than destroying
Kauai, operates an active airfield but also           the eggs.
is home to a nesting population of Laysan
albatross, as well as other native plants             The northern shore of Kauai, including
and animals. With wingspans of about 80               Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, is
inches, these large seabirds can create a             home to the largest Laysan albatross
significant hazard to aircraft sharing the            population on the main Hawaiian Islands.
skies over the airfield.                              As with any nesting population, albatross
                                                      each year lay some eggs that are infertile,
Since 1988, the missile range has been                spoiled or accidentally crushed. Since the
attempting to transplant adult albatrosses            parent birds return to a specific nest
to other locations on Kauai to reduce                 rather than a specific egg, the partners
potential flight hazards. The program had             decided to relocate viable eggs from the
limited success since albatrosses each year           missile range to Kilauea Point Refuge and
typically return to the place they were               surrounding nest sites to replace those
born to raise their young. Although they              that would never hatch.
don’t begin mating until they are about 7

Pg 4 Refuge Update | July/August 2005
Northeast Refuges Reach
Half-Million-Acre Milestone
By Terri Edwards                              the densely developed East Coast from             acquire, in fee or in easement, a total of
                                              Maine to Virginia,” said Moriarty. “More          20,000 acres from willing sellers in
In an area of the country better known        than 70 years in the making, this achieve-        the valley. ◆
for its growing population density than its   ment required nearly 6,000 real estate
open spaces for wildlife, the Fish and        transactions and the dedication of many           Terri Edwards is a public affairs specialist in
Wildlife Service recently acquired the        people in government and the conserva-            External Affairs in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s
half-millionth acre for national wildlife     tion community, as well as conservation-          Northeast Regional Office.
refuges within its 13-state Northeast         minded companies and landowners.”
                                              In places like the Rappahannock River
The milestone was reached through the         Valley, purchasing easements is an eco-
purchase of Wellford Farms, an 847-acre
conservation easement in Richmond
                                              nomical way to protect important wildlife
                                              habitats while landowners retain property
                                                                                                    Reaching a
County, VA, for Rappahannock River
Valley NWR, and was celebrated along
                                              rights for certain activities, such as farm-          Milestone
                                              ing, hunting and fishing.
with partners during an event held at the
refuge on May 14.                             Conservation groups such as The Nature                The Migratory Bird Conservation
                                              Conservancy, Trust for Public Land,                   Fund and the Land and Water
Lauding landowners Cary and Carroll           Chesapeake Bay Foundation and The                     Conservation Fund have provided a
Wellford’s “forward-thinking conserva-        Conservation Fund have been key collabo-              total of $410 million for refuge land
tion ethic,” Marvin Moriarty, the             rators in negotiating easements with                  acquisition in the Northeast Region.
Service’s Northeast Regional Director,        landowners and advocating for other
announced the addition along with             refuge acquisitions throughout the                    The Northeast Region now includes
Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis (R-VA)             Northeast Region.                                     71 national wildlife refuges, from the
and representatives from The Nature                                                                 northern hardwood forests of Maine
Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, The       Established in 1996, Rappahannock River               to the Great Dismal Swamp in
Conservation Fund, Chesapeake Bay             Valley Refuge now protects more than                  southern Virginia.
Foundation and Virginia Department of         7,300 acres of wetlands and other habitat
Natural Resources.                            along its namesake river and its tributar-            More than 6 million people visit
                                              ies — prime lands for waterfowl, bald                 Northeast refuges each year to
“Acquiring 500,000 acres of land is no easy   eagles and other migratory birds.                     observe wildlife, hunt, fish,
feat in this politically and geographically   According to Refuge Manager Joe                       participate in environmental
complex region, which spans the length of     McCauley, the Service ultimately hopes to             education programs, photograph
                                                                                                    wildlife or take part in interpretive
                                                                                                    Virginia refuges — including
                                                                                                    Rappahannock Valley River Refuge
                                                                                                    where the 500,000th acre milestone
                                                                                                    was achieved — make up 135,000
                                                                                                    acres, or nearly 30 percent, of the
                                                                                                    Northeast Region’s total acreage in
                                                                                                    the Refuge System.

                                                                                             The new 847-acre Wellford Farms easement for
                                                                                             Rappahannock Valley River NWR, VA, brought the
                                                                                             Northeast Region to its 500,000-acre mark for the
                                                                                             Refuge System. (USFWS)

                                                                                                 July/August 2005 | Refuge Update Pg 5
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Thriving on CMR
“Huge Opportunity”
By Jody Jones and Randy Matchett          That was in 1951. The last sheep from                   tered numerous bighorn in this area and
                                          the herd was seen in 1960.                              commented on the exquisite table fare
The Charles M. Russell NWR, MT, has                                                               they provided. The last known “bad-
more Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep         In May 1958, eight bighorn were moved                   lands bighorn” was probably shot in
than at any time in the 24 years since    from the Sun River herd in western                      1911 on land that is now part of CMR.
stocking was initiated. The thriving      Montana to the Two Calf Creek area on
population of 174 sheep — observed dur-   the refuge’s west end. In 1959, 13 more                 Another Try
ing the 2004 ground survey around the     sheep were brought from the National                    Although the 1947 and 1958 efforts to
Mickey/Brandon Buttes and Iron Stake      Bison Range, MT, which provided anoth-                  reintroduce bighorns were mostly
Ridge — meets a refuge goal to restore    er 22 sheep in 1961. Unfortunately, a                   unsuccessful, the refuge has continued to
a species that once freely roamed the     catastrophic die-off in the winter of 1971              work to establish a sustainable popula-
Missouri River Breaks.                    nearly wiped out the herd. By fall 1980,                tion. In cooperation with Montana Fish,
                                          just 11 ewes remained.                                  Wildlife and Parks, 27 bighorn were
Twenty-one people, 15 on foot and the                                                             trapped on the Sun River Game Range
others on horseback, took part in the     Established in 1936 as the Fort Peck                    on March 8, 1980, and released in the
December 2004 survey. Pending results     Game Range, CMR became a national                       Brandon Coulee area on CMR. The
from a subsequent survey, some sheep      wildlife refuge in 1976, with the mission               band had six rams, 17 ewes and
may be moved to expand the range and      to “…preserve, restore, and manage...a                  four lambs.
reduce the population in some areas to    portion of the nationally significant
cut the risk of disease.                  Missouri River Breaks and associated                    Population growth, initially fast, slowed
                                          ecosystems for optimum wildlife                         for many years, hovering around 100
The refuge’s work with bighorns goes      resources.” Reintroduction of Rocky                     animals from 1986-2002. During those
back to 1947, when 16 Rocky Mountain      Mountain bighorn sheep was specifically                 years, the Iron Stake Ridge population
bighorn were brought from the Tarryall    identified as an objective.                             increased slowly, while the Mickey/
herd in Colorado and stocked in the                                                               Brandon Buttes population hovered
Garfield County portion of CMR Refuge.    The refuge contains badlands-type sheep                 around 50-60 animals. Then, lamb pro-
Some estimated the population grew to     habitat, areas that were the native                     duction became exceptionally good on
as many as 260 sheep in 1955, although    range of the now extinct Audubon                        the buttes in 2003 and 2004, contributing
38 sheep were the most ever observed.     bighorn sheep. Lewis and Clark encoun-                  to substantial population growth.

Dick Gilbert Honored by American Recreation Coalition
                                          Richard “Dick” Gilbert, project leader at               Gilbert has been instrumental in planning
                                          Bill Williams River NWR, AZ, since 1998,                and constructing multi-use outdoor recre-
                                          received the American Recreation                        ation facilities for fishing, wildlife observa-
                                          Coalition’s Legends Award on June 8 for                 tion, interpretation and environmental
                                          his dedication in promoting quality out-                education. These facilities include a paved
                                          door recreation.                                        trail, with several shade ramadas to pro-
                                                                                                  mote wildlife watching and viewing of
                                                                                                  beautiful Lake Havasu, leading to three
                                                                                                  fishing docks with solar lighting, allowing
                                                                                                  the refuge to keep them open 24 hours
                                                                                                  a day.
                                          Dick Gilbert, project leader at Bill Williams River
                                          NWR, AZ, started his career working summers at          The facilities — all entirely accessible to
                                          Erie NWR, PA, while attending college. In 1971, he      persons with disabilities — also offer
                                          was hired for a permanent position on the               interpretative displays on local ecology,
                                          maintenance staff. He also was assistant refuge
                                                                                                  water management and the area’s history.
                                          manager at Arrowwood NWR, ND and Havasu
                                          NWR, AZ, before serving as project leader at            A solar-powered watering system pro-
                                          Seedskadee NWR, WY; Waubay NWR, SD; and                 vides irrigation for some 300 native plants
                                          Cibola NWR, AZ. (USFWS)                                 that enhance the natural beauty of the

                                                                                                Pg 6 Refuge Update | July/August 2005
                                                                              The thriving population of 174 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep meets a
                                                                              goal of the Charles M. Russell NWR, MT, to restore a species that once
                                                                              freely roamed the Missouri River Breaks. (Milo Burcham)

Because suitable habitat is limited in the     tend to be seen from the ground com-            mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes and
buttes area, some sheep may have to be         pared to aerial surveys.                        eagles. Refuge visitors enjoy viewing
moved to expand the population’s range                                                         and photographing bighorn in a setting
and reduce disease risks. The herd has         The Role of Hunting                             similar to the one that Lewis and Clark
finally achieved the objective of at least     The sheep population has been hunted            found 200 years ago. With continued
160 sheep, with 76 tallied around the          since 1987, when two “either sex” per-          cooperation, coordination and manage-
buttes during the 2004 survey — the            mits were issued. Five permits were             ment, magnificent bighorn sheep will
most ever counted there — and 98               issued each year from 1988-1997, except         continue to expand and provide quality
observed in the Iron Stakes Ridge area.        in 1996 when seven were issued. Two             wildlife-based experiences for refuge
                                               population objectives were established:         visitors. ◆
Sheep survey methodology has changed           at least 160 observed sheep after the
over the years. In the 1980s, surveys          hunting season and an average harvest-           Jody Jones is assistant refuge manager at the
were done with an airplane or helicopter       ed ram age of 7.5 years. The bighorn            Sandy Creek Field Station, MT. Randy Matchett
by both CMR and Montana Fish,                  population has provided a harvest of 72         is the senior wildlife biologist at Charles M.
Wildlife and Parks personnel. In the           rams since 1987. The average age of the         Russell NWR, MT.
mid-1990s, ground surveys were begun           four rams harvested in 2004 was seven.
during the early December rut and post-
hunting season. Sex and age classifica-        Elk and mule deer also inhabitat the
tions are more precise and more sheep          refuge and the surrounding area, as do

area. Additional facilities include an envi-
ronmental education shelter and a canoe         Foster Parents to a Fruit Bat
and kayak launch area.                          Guam Refuge Becomes Release Site for Orphan
The project was made possible by                By Susan Saul                                   The young female Brooke fostered was
Gilbert’s partnerships with a number of                                                         discovered in June 2004 when it was
other organizations, including the Bureau       Every individual makes a difference when        about a month old, having been separated
of Land Management, Bureau of                   a species’ population is down to 150 ani-       from her mother following a stretch of
Reclamation, Arizona Game and Fish              mals. So Anne Brooke, wildlife biologist at     stormy weather. After several days
Department, the Metropolitan Water              Guam NWR, became foster parent to an            calling for her mother, the pup was
District of Southern California, the            orphaned Mariana fruit bat last winter.         brought to Tino Aguon, acting chief of the
Central Arizona Water Conservation                                                              Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife
District, La Paz County, Anglers United         Long-term surveys suggest that this
                                                species may disappear from Guam within          Resources, and received 24-hour care for
and the Navy Seabees.                                                                           the first few months of her life.
                                                5-10 years. They are most abundant in
Presented during Great Outdoors Week,           forested lands on Andersen Air Force            Brooke, who is a fruit bat expert and has
the Legends Award honors outstanding            Base, but the only remaining colony has         worked with fruit bats in American
federal employees for significant contribu-     less than 100 individuals, and a small          Samoa and throughout Polynesia, began
tions to the enhancement of the nation’s        number of bats are scattered throughout         spending time observing and interacting
outdoor recreation resources, facilities and    the forests of northern Guam.                   with the orphaned bat in mid-October.
experiences, especially on public lands. ◆                                                      Together, Brooke and Aguon soon
                                                                                                                                   continued pg 24

                                                                                                July/August 2005 | Refuge Update Pg 7
                                                   FOCUS                         . . .On Trails
                                                   Places of Discovery
                                                   For boundless opportunities to discover         from around the world flock to Aransas
                                                   nature in all its splendor, national wildlife   Refuge in Texas to catch a glimpse of
                                                   refuges are unsurpassed. From all parts         stately endangered whooping cranes.
                                                   of the globe, 40 million visitors flock to
                                                   nature’s treasure troves each year, mostly      Across the prairie heartland, refuges like
                                                   for the chance to see huge concentrations       Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma, Fort
                                                   of wildlife and birds.                          Niobrara in Nebraska, Neal Smith in Iowa
                                                                                                   and Montana’s National Bison Range
                                                   Among America’s most scenic panoramas,          draw many a hunter. To experience two
                                                   national wildlife refuges offer the nation’s    natural phenomena at once, Cape May
                                                   most amazing wildlife spectacles. Hunters       Refuge visitors venture to Delaware Bay
                                                   and other wildlife enthusiasts marvel at        in the summer, when millions of shore-
                                                   millions of chattering mallards at              birds descend to feed on horseshoe crabs
                                                   Arkansas’ White River Refuge.                   as they come ashore to mate. For Hawaii
                                                   Adventure-seekers witness the awesome           tourists, a compelling attraction is Kilauea
                                                   trek of caribou across the Arctic tundra.       Point Refuge, where the ground is majes-
                                                   School children learn about migration as        tically bedded with an array of lush
                                                   they watch tens of thousands of snow            coastal plants and volcanic cliffs jut dra-
                                                   geese spiraling down from the sky at            matically over the radiant, blue Pacific.
                                                   Missouri’s Squaw Creek Refuge. Birders

One of Anahuac Refuge’s universally accessible
trails includes more than 1,000 feet of walkway
winding through a 1.5-acre butterfly and
hummingbird landscape and native prairie
demonstration area. Interpretive signs teach
visitors the life histories of the Ruby-throated
                                                   Trails Are a Natural Road to Education,
hummingbird and the refuge’s primary butterfly
species, and the importance of pollinators and
native host and nectar-providing plants.           Anahuac Refuge Opens All Habitat Types to Visitors
(Michele Whitbeck/USFWS)
                                                                                                   By Andy Loranger
                                                                                                   Low-lying coastal marshes — tough to
                                                                                                   walk through and natural habitat for mos-
                                                                                                   quitoes and other critters that bite — are
                                                                                                   far from the easiest places to develop a
                                                                                                   trail network, especially because a refuge
                                                                                                   must ensure compatibility with its purpos-
                                                                                                   es and the Refuge System’s mission. All
                                                                                                   that did not deter the staff of the 34,300-
                                                                                                   acre Anahuac NWR, along the upper
                                                                                                   Texas Gulf Coast.
                                                                                                   Today, the Anahuac Refuge trails net-
                                                                                                   work, designed to provide visitors of all
                                                                                                   ages and physical abilities with the chance
                                                                                                   to experience all of the refuge’s natural
                                                                                                   wonders, combines walking, auto and pad-
                                                                                                   dling trails. It includes a variety of visitor
                                                                                                   facilities — from boardwalks and observa-
                                                                                                   tion platforms to interpretive signs — to
                                                                                                   help visitors observe the Central Flyway

Pg 8 Refuge Update | July/August 2005
                                                                                                             shared among the thousands of people who
                                                                                                             have chosen the National Wildlife Refuge
                                                                                                             System as their calling.
                                                                                                             This issue of Refuge Update highlights the
                                                                                                             most fundamental pastime the nation’s
                                                                                                             wildlife refuges have to offer: wildlife
                                                                                                             observation from the Refuge System’s
                                                                                                             2,500 miles of land and water trails.
                                                                                                             Refuge System employees and countless
                                                                                                             partners have created facilities that
The National Wildlife Refuge System’s extensive trails, boardwalks, observation decks, hunting blinds,
fishing piers and boat launches encourage visitors to discover America’s best wildlife spectacles, such as
                                                                                                             encourage people to get out on the land
this magnificent display at Grays Harbor NWR, WA. (John and Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS)                       and enjoy the wildlife protected on nearly
                                                                                                             100 million acres. ◆

Despite overwhelming odds and chal-                      productive habitats in America. The com-
lenges, these special wildlife refuges will              mitment to protect, grow, build and refine
remain vibrant because they are safeguard-               is born of Paul Kroegel’s passion more than
ed and expertly managed to be the most                   100 years ago, yet steadily flourishing and

birds for which the refuge and the Texas                 these natural resources and the refuge’s            butterfly and hummingbird landscape and
Coast are renowned.                                      role in protecting them.”                           native prairie demonstration area, con-
                                                                                                             necting to a 1,173-foot boardwalk complete
The trails give visitors access to each of               Anahuac Refuge’s trail system has four              with observation decks and benches.
the native habitat types found on the                    designated hiking trails, totaling just over        Interpretive signs along the trail teach
refuge — coastal marsh, coastal prairie                  3.5 miles, including its first trail, which         visitors the life histories of the Ruby-
and woodlands — and to intensively man-                  also may be its most famous: a short                throated hummingbird and the refuge’s
aged habitats, including moist soil and rice             boardwalk and grassy trail through The              primary butterfly species, and the impor-
field units. “By taking advantage of exist-              Willows. This small woodland is interna-            tance of pollinators and native host and
ing infrastructure such as levees and                    tionally famous among birding enthusiasts           nectar-providing plants. Nearby, a one-
roads in areas with a long history of visi-              as a place to observe colorful neotropical          mile hiking trail leads to an observation
tor use, combined with strategic place-                  migrant songbirds after their 600-mile              deck overlooking moist soil units.
ment of new boardwalks and observation                   trans-Gulf migration each spring.
decks in wetland habitats, we were able to                                                                   The Refuge’s four-mile auto tour route
enhance the experience without compro-                   In 1998, the two-mile East Bay Bayou                enables visitors to drive around Shoveler
mising our conservation mission,” said                   Trail was opened to the public. This trail          Pond, a 220-acre freshwater impoundment
Refuge Manager Kelly McDowell.                           meanders along East Bay Bayou through               offering unparalleled opportunities to view
                                                         a narrow corridor of riparian woodlands,            and photograph alligators. In many cases,
“Although the refuge has a fairly exten-                 and outlets to moist soil and rice field            vehicles make ideal viewing platforms
sive system of trails and roads, the vast                units that offer spectacular viewing of             because many species are acclimated to
majority of the refuge remains as large,                 waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds.             slow traffic, allowing visitors close-up
relatively undisturbed tracts,” he contin-                                                                   views of wildlife without disturbance.
ued. “Development of the trail system                    Butterflies, Hummingbirds and More
                                                         One of the newest trails is a one-mile              Opportunities to view waterfowl, shore-
and associated facilities has made the                                                                       birds, purple gallinules, least and
refuge more ‘visitor friendly,’ and perhaps              walking trail linking the visitor informa-
                                                         tion station to The Willows. Universally            American bitterns and all six North
most importantly, has really helped us                                                                       American rail species draw visitors from
educate folks about the importance of                    accessible, the trail includes 1,081 feet of
                                                         walkway that winds through a 1.5-acre               around the world.
                                                                                                                                       continued pg 12

                                                                                                             July/August 2005 | Refuge Update Pg 9
                                         FOCUS                             . . .On Trails
                                                                                              Bog Boardwalk
                                                                                              Vermont’s Natural
                                                                                              By Holly T. Gaboriault
                                                                                              Alive with one of the largest populations
                                                                                              of the rare bog sedge in the northern
                                                                                              forests of Vermont, the 76-acre Mollie
                                                                                              Beattie Bog on the Nulhegan Basin
                                                                                              Division of the Silvio O. Conte National
                                                                                              Fish and Wildlife Refuge is enjoyed by
                                                                                              hundreds of visitors each year, thanks to a
                                                                                              200-foot boardwalk recently renovated by
                                         A 76-foot boardwalk meandering through Mollie        refuge and Northeast Regional Office staff
                                         Beattie Bog in Vermont helps showcase one of the     and several volunteers.
                                         largest populations of rare bog sedge found in the
                                         state. Wildflower photographers come to the bog in   The boardwalk runs through the Mollie
                                         search of the sundew; yellow, white or pink lady     Beattie Bog, named for the first female
                                         slippers; pitcher plants and other unique northern
                                         bog plants. (USFWS)
                                                                                              director of the Fish and Wildlife Service
                                                                                              and former deputy secretary of the

                                         Refuge System Boasts 2,500
                                         Miles of Trails
                                         Known for its landscapes and its wildlife,           NWR, just 25 miles south of Tallahassee.
                                         the National Wildlife Refuge System also             About 3.5 miles of the trail are in the
                                         has more than 900 water and land trails              refuge’s Wilderness Area. Located in
                                         that offer some of the best wildlife obser-          Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties,
                                         vation across the country.                           the refuge spans more than 43 miles of
                                                                                              coastline. The historic St. Mark’s light-
                                         To kickoff National Trails Day June 4,               house on beautiful Apalachee Bay attracts
                                         Interior Secretary Gale Norton                       visitors from around the world, as do more
                                         announced the designation of 18 new                  than 300 species of birds, 98 of which nest
                                         National Recreation Trails on refuge                 on the refuge. In the spring, the refuge is
                                         lands, a way of recognizing their exempla-           a showcase of colors as songbirds migrate
                                         ry local and regional significance. These            north through coastal oaks and shrubs,
                                         new designations bring the total number              while the endangered least tern and red-
                                         of refuges with National Recreation Trails           cockaded woodpecker also nest there.
                                         to 34. Visit http://www.americantrails.org
                                         /nationalrecreationtrails/ for the                   Georgia: The Okefenokee Wilderness
                                         full listing.                                        National Recreational Canoe Trail in
                                                                                              Okefenokee NWR takes paddlers into a
                                         A sampling of refuge trails offers a                 world of alligators, cranes and cypress
                                         glimpse of what is available:                        trees. Visitors can use elevated platforms
                                         Florida: Hike the 42 miles of the Florida            along the marked trail to get the best
                                         National Scenic Trail within St. Mark’s              views. Additionally, Swamp Island Drive

Pg 10 Refuge Update | July/August 2005
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.            tor by dedicating the bog in her name as
In 1999, the Service purchased 26,000           part of their “Special Places in the Forest”
acres from Champion International Paper         program. Champion installed the original
Company to establish the Nulhegan Basin         interpretive boardwalk and later donated
Division of the refuge, where the bog is        both the bog and boardwalk to the
located.                                        Service, prior to the purchase of the sur-                          Even moose and bear
                                                rounding lands.
The area has since been recognized by the                                                                           can be seen and
Vermont Nongame Heritage Program as             When the boardwalk was rehabilitated
a state-significant site, especially because    last year, many features were added to
                                                                                                                    photographed from
it is among the most important black            improve safety and accessibility, including                         the boardwalk.
spruce woodland bogs in Vermont. It             handrails and viewing benches.
showcases one of the largest populations        Interpretive displays provide education on
of rare bog sedge found in the state, and       bog formation and the rare plants that
it’s one of relatively few places to see the    inhabit the area. Because of its exception-
state-endangered spruce grouse, rare            al wildlife viewing and photography
gray jay and Arctic jutta butterfly.            opportunities in such a unique area, the
Wildflower photographers come to the            boardwalk at Mollie Beattie Bog has
bog in search of the sundew; yellow, white      become a great invitation to visitors to get
or pink lady slippers; pitcher plants and       out on the land and enjoy Vermont’s spec-
other unique northern bog plants. Even          tacular wildlife. ◆
moose and bear can be seen and pho-
                                                Holly T. Gaboriault is a wildlife biologist at Silvio
tographed from the boardwalk.
                                                Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, MA.
It all started in 1997, when Champion
International paid tribute to the late direc-

is an eight-mile driving, biking or walking     Sitting one mile from the
loop. The swamp is one of the oldest and        Philadelphia International
most well preserved freshwater areas in         Airport, the refuge has more than
America and extends 38 miles north to           10 miles of trails and boardwalks,
south and 25 miles east to west. Its rich       as well as an observation tower
history is visible at Chesser Island            and photo blinds that are extraor-
Homestead, Billy’s Island, Floyd’s Island       dinary places to watch and photo-
and Suwannee Canal.                             graph wildlife. The refuge has
                                                become a resting and feeding area
Arizona: The Arivaca Creek and Arivaca          for more than 300 species of birds,
Cienga trails on Buenos Aires NWR allow         85 of which nest here. Fox, deer,
visitors to observe birds seen almost           muskrat, turtles, fish, frogs and a
nowhere else in the continental United          wide variety of wildflowers and
States. The Arivaca Cienga is a 1.25-mile                                                        The Refuge System’s 900 water and land trails offer some of the
                                                plants call the refuge home.                     best wildlife observation. (USFWS)
loop over a boardwalk and path, a chance        Birdwatchers have recorded more
to see abundant bird life in a rare desert      than 300 species of birds in and
wetland. The Arivaca Creek Trail mean-          around the refuge.
ders one mile along a seasonal stream
beneath towering cottonwoods. Both of           Oklahoma: To roam where the buffalo                        tle, white tail deer, elk and wild turkeys.
these trails were designated National           do, try the Dog Hollow Run National                        More than 22,400 acres of wildlife habitat
Recreation Trails by Secretary Norton           Recreation Trail on Wichita Mountains                      are open for hiking, observing wildlife,
in June.                                        NWR, celebrating its centennial this year.                 photography and other recreational uses.
                                                Dog Hollow Run is just one of three hik-                   More than 40 miles of paved roads bring
Pennsylvania: The East Impoundment              ing trails on the refuge. Besides seeing                   visitors to wildlife observation areas.
National Recreation Trail on John Heinz         the shaggy icon of the American West,
NWR at Tinicum is an outstanding place          hikers might also encounter longhorn cat-
to see wildlife just outside Philadelphia.                                                                                                     continued pg 14

                                                                                                          July/August 2005 | Refuge Update Pg 11
                                         FOCUS                               . . .On Trails
                                         Great Meadows Volunteers Make Trails
                                         Dream a Reality
                                                                                                                        When the Fish and
                                                                                                                        Wildlife Service pur-
                                                                                                                        chased the O’Rourke
                                                                                                                        farm at Great Meadows
                                                                                                                        NWR in Carlisle, MA, in
                                                                                                                        1999, it not only con-
                                                                                                                        served outstanding
                                                                                                                        migratory bird habitat
                                                                                                                        but also acquired an
                                                                                                                        extensive network of
                                                                                                                        trails planned and main-
                                                                                                                        tained by the Carlisle
                                                                                                                        Trails Committee.
                                                                                                                        Among these was the
                                                                                                                        River Trail, which con-
                                                                                                                        nects Great Meadows
                                         Volunteers with the Carlisle Trails Committee spent two days building
                                         a footbridge at Great Meadows NWR, MA. New improvements to the
                                                                                                                        Refuge with adjacent
                                         River Trail are giving refuge visitors better wildlife viewing opportunities   town-owned lands set
                                         through refuge wetlands. (Bert Willard)                                        aside for conservation.
                                                                                                                        The River Trail was
                                                                                                                        originally constructed in

                                         Natural Road to Education– from pg 9                      wound their way through unaltered
                                         One of the refuge’s most interesting trails               prairies, swamps and marshes.
                                         is not really a trail at all, but rather a                Friends as the Foundation
                                         small salty prairie meadow. The Yellow
                                         Rail Trail brings thousands of visitors to                Refuge trails and associated facilities fit
                                         the refuge each year to see elusive yellow                well into Anahuac Refuge’s designation as
                                         rails, a secretive marsh bird present on                  a featured site on the Great Texas Coastal
                                         the refuge throughout winter and during                   Birding Trail, marketed even internation-
                                         spring migration. Volunteer naturalists                   ally by the Texas Parks and Wildlife
                                         lead interpretive Yellow Rail Walks, with                 Department. Through promotional and
                                         participants slowly walking abreast                       educational materials and signs at each
                                         through clumps of Gulf cordgrass in hopes                 site, the birding trail identifies important
                                         of catching a brief glimpse of the bird.                  habitats and birding sites in the Upper,
                                                                                                   Mid- and Lower Texas Coast regions.
                                         Finally, an improved road, parking area
                                         and a wooden launching pier gives                         It’s no accident that the refuge’s trail sys-
                                         canoeists and kayakers access to a 3.8-mile               tem closely mirrors the growth of the
                                         segment of East Bay Bayou. This remote                    Friends of Anahuac Refuge, established in
                                         stretch of calm water beneath large over-                 1996. The Friends organization has been
                                         hanging hackberry, willow, water oak and                  the foundation, the impetus and in many
                                         green ash trees offers quiet and solitude,                cases the inspiration for many of the
                                         and great wildlife watching and freshwa-                  refuge’s new visitor services programs
                                         ter fishing. Here, one can easily imagine a               and facilities, habitat restoration projects
                                         time not so long ago when sinewy bayous                   and expanded biological monitoring pro-

Pg 12 Refuge Update | July/August 2005
the 1970s and has seen continuous use                    and wrote grant applications. Staff from     two walks annually on the trail and cross-
since that time. While a previous upgrade                the Carlisle Department of Public Works      country ski tours in the winter.
of the trail system occurred in 1998, work               and Great Meadows Refuge hauled the
remained along parts of the River Trail.                 materials to the building sites. And, in a   “The dedication and focus of the Carlisle
The Carlisle Trails Committee had hoped                  great display of cooperation and muscle,     Trails Committee and the generous out-
for years to improve the River Trail and                 77 residents from the Town of Carlisle,      pouring of support and enthusiasm from
reduce impacts to wetlands along the trail               ages five to 75, worked over two week-       town residents was truly remarkable,”
route by constructing footbridges in areas               ends to build two footbridges spanning       said Herland. “Lots of times people talk
that are often wet even after the Concord                320 feet. All told, volunteers contributed   about doing things but rarely get around
River returns to its banks.                              more than 650 hours to the planning and      to accomplishing anything. The Carlisle
                                                         construction of these footbridges. This      Trails Committee not only talked the talk,
That dream became a reality shortly after                work is in addition to the 40 hours a year   but they walked the walk! This project
Eastern Massachusetts NWRC Project                       trail committee members spend clearing       did more to build goodwill between the
Manager Libby Herland, newly arrived at                  falling trees and trimming brush along       refuge and the town than anything we
the complex, met with the committee in                   the trails.                                  could have done on our own.” At the heart
September 2003. A $5,000 Service chal-                                                                of the Carlisle Trails Committee’s work is
lenge grant was approved in 2004 to buy                  Now, fragile wetland vegetation along the    the belief that a network of open trails
composite decking material, and the                      trail is protected year-round. The trail     benefits both individuals and the town as a
Service kicked in another $3,000 for mate-               goes through a red maple swamp, past         whole. Of course, the trails also give visi-
rials once the project was expanded to                   swamp white oaks, sweet pepperbush           tors a better appreciation for wildlife.
include two footbridges. The Town of                     shrubs, skunk cabbage, jack-in-the-pulpits
Carlisle also contributed funds to purchase              and sedges. Trail walkers can look into      “At the Great Meadows Refuge, we have
materials.                                               the marshlands along the banks of the        more support and understanding of our
                                                         Concord River, standing above grass level    mission because we worked in partnership
From Potential to Progress                               and observing edge habitat for migratory     with the town and its residents, and that
Trail committee members designed the                     birds. The Trails Committee leads at least   benefits all of us,” Herland said. ◆
footbridges, applied for wetland permits

grams. Most importantly, the Friends
organization established an invaluable link
to local communities, helping to foster
many new partnerships. More than 300
volunteers contribute in excess of 10,000
hours annually, providing labor and in-
kind services for many matching grant
Today, the refuge, the habitat and wildlife
it protects and its trail system and other
visitor facilities are more valued by the
community than ever before. That will
only serve to ensure greater success in
the future. ◆
Andy Loranger is project leader of the Texas Chenier
Plains National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

A launching pier at Anahuac Refuge gives canoeists and
kayakers access to a 3.8-mile segment of East Bay Bayou.
This remote stretch of calm water beneath large overhanging
hackberry, willow, water oak and green ash trees offers quiet
and solitude, along with great wildlife watching and
freshwater fishing. (Michele Whitbeck/USFWS)

                                                                                                      July/August 2005 | Refuge Update Pg 13
                                              FOCUS                       . . .On Trails
                                                                     Following in the Footsteps of
                                                                     the Ojibway
                                                                     Tamarac Refuge Showcases Native
                                                                     American Traditions
                                                                     By Kelly               The most significant historic landmark
                                                                     Blackledge             remaining today is Tamarac Refuge’s two-
                                                                                            mile Old Indian Trail, forged by Native
                                                                      Hundreds of years     Americans who made extensive treks in
                                                                      ago, countless bat-   their quest for maple syrup and wild rice.
                                                                      tles were fought      Whether refuge visitors come to revel at
                                                                      over the precious     the sight of warblers, nesting swans and
                                                                      resources on lands    eagles, or hunt ruffed grouse, deer and
                                                                      that are now part     waterfowl, they gain a new perspective on
                                                                      of Tamarac NWR        their outdoor experiences by contemplat-
                                                                      in northern           ing the value of Minnesota’s bountiful nat-
                                                                      Minnesota. Native     ural resources to Native Americans.
                                                                      American Tribes,
                                                                      including the         Early in the spring, before the wildflowers
                                                                      Ojibway and           even peeked through the soil, the Ojibway
                                                                      Dakota Sioux,         began their trek to sugarbush, a maple
                                                                      knew the value of     sugar camp on the north end of Tamarac
             The colorful palette of fallen                           the lush beds of      Lake. It was at least a two-day walk,
             leaves along Old Indian Trail    manoomin (wild rice in Ojibway), majes-       made by the whole family. The mighty
             at Tamarac NWR, MN, is a
                                              tic stands of sugar maple and abundant        maples were gashed into the sapwood and
             major draw for refuge visitors
             each fall. (Dominique            wild game and fish. Historical sites          the maple sap was collected in birch bark
             Braud/USFWS)                     throughout Tamarac Refuge chronicle           containers placed at the base of the trees.
                                              how well the land provided for its people.    A treasured seasoning, the syrup was
                                                                                            often traded with early settlers. Today,

                                              System boasts 25 Miles– from pg 11
                                              Alaska: Kenai NWR, southeast of               vides a year-round outdoor experience for
                                              Anchorage, is an Alaska in miniature in its   anyone with accessibility needs. It has
                                              diversity of wildlife. It offers two          five distinct loops, of which five miles are
                                              National Recreation Canoe Trails — the        paved. All 7.5 miles are sloped to ADA
                                              Swan Lake and Swanson River Canoe             (Americans with Disabilities Act) stan-
                                              routes — that combine land and water          dards, with periodic trail shelters for rest
                                              routes in the Dave Spencer Unit of the        stops. Trails are opened to hiking, biking
                                              Kenai Wilderness. The refuge is also          and cross-country skiing. Golf cart tours
                                              home to brown and black bears, caribou,       along the trails are available for persons
                                              Dall sheep, mountain goats, wolves, lynx,     with disabilities. The trail system takes
                                              wolverines, eagles and thousands of shore-    visitors to a Sundew Bog, named for the
                                              birds and waterfowl. The refuge was orig-     insect-eating Round leafed Sundew, one of
                                              inally established to protect the             the regionally rare plants sheltered in this
                                              Alaska-Yukon moose, which still roams         peat bog. Rydell NWR trails also joined
                                              the land.                                     the family of over 900 National
                                                                                            Recreational Trails in June. ◆
                                              Minnesota: Explore the 7.5 miles of the
                                              trail system on Rydell NWR, which pro-

Pg 14 Refuge Update | July/August 2005
hikers look for swollen bases of the large
maple trees along the ancient path, a sign
of historic tapping of the trees.
In late summer, Native Americans trav-
eled the trail again, often for several days,
to reach wild rice camps. During manoo-
minike-giizis (the moon of the wild rice),
fallen foliage from the maples and oaks
create an amazing palette of color along
the trail. One branch of the trail followed
along the Ottertail River to a crossing and
campground at the outlet of Rice Lake.
Wigwams covered in birch bark were built
for protection from the weather for those
cleaning, drying and parching the rice.
Most of the maple forests in the vicinity of
Tamarac Lake were used by the Ojibway
until the 1930s, and Tribal members still
                                                      The local Ojibway people still canoe through Tamorac Refuge’s lush rice beds much as their
harvest wild rice in the traditional way,             ancestors did for canturies. (Dominique Braud/USFWS)
using canoes.
Whether visitors come to Tamarac Refuge
for hiking, hunting, wildlife watching or
just to take in its scenic beauty, they come
away with a new perspective and appreci-
ation for nature by following in the foot-
steps of the Ojibway. ◆
Kelly Blackledge is senior park ranger at Tamarac

                                                    From the Director– from pg 2
The Refuge System                                   As we work to implement the                            I know the good work being done at that
                                                    Improvement Act and expand knowledge                   refuge is repeated time and again at
has more than 900                                   and understanding of the Refuge System,                refuges across the country. You’re doing
water and land trails.                              we’re facing new challenges. I’m truly                 great work, and helping other Americans
                                                    impressed by the work that Upper                       see and appreciate the National Wildlife
                                                    Mississippi River National Wildlife                    Refuge System is one of your greatest
                                                    Refuge Manager Don Hultman and his                     contributions to the future of conserva-
                                                    district managers are doing to craft the               tion.
                                                    Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the                                            — Matt Hogan
                                                    nation’s most visited wildlife refuge. Over
                                                    the last few months, they’ve hosted 11
                                                    public information meetings and a series
                                                    of workshops that have involved more
                                                    than 2,500 people. They’re giving refuge
                                                    visitors’ concerns full weight as they work
                                                    to develop a plan that will meet the needs
                                                    of wildlife and people.

                                                                                                          July/August 2005 | Refuge Update Pg 15
 Oregon: Pacific Region employees                    who provided additional areas for 20
 debuted a specially decorated Sprinter
 van and exhibit, including a tent, inter-
 pretive panels and interactive presenta-
                                                     youth to hunt within the Lower
                                                     Minnesota River Valley. At Deep Fork
                                                     Refuge, the Friends of the Deep Fork
                                                                                                          the Refuge
 tion areas, at Tualatin River NWR’s
 Songbird Festival on May 14, featuring
 fish and wildlife related to the Lewis and
                                                     NWR also partnered with the refuge and
                                                     the turkey federation to make the hunt a
                                                     success in its first year — in fact, five of
 Clark expedition. Matt How in Visitor               six youngsters harvested a turkey.
                                                                             North Carolina: Pea              moose with VHF and GPS radio-collars in
                                                                             Island NWR debuted its just over two days in April. The
                                                                             virtual online education         Kwethluk Moose Project is focused on a
                                                                             program in April,                moose population that has been strug-
                                                                             attracting more than             gling to increase in the lower Kuskokwim
                                                                             5,000 students including         River and its tributaries despite abun-
                                                                             classrooms in 42 states,         dant habitat. This study is critical since
                                                                             two Canadian provinces the refuge, the fish and game department
                                                                             and the United                   and local villages agreed to a moratorium
                                                                             Kingdom. “School chil-           on moose hunting starting in 2004. The
                                                                             dren and others from all project entails monitoring moose coloniza-
                                                                             over the country can             tion, movements, habitat use and popula-
                                                                             embark on a virtual visit tion expansion in areas that have good
                                                                             to Pea Island Refuge             habitat but few moose. Establishing a
                                                                             and learn about sea tur- healthy moose population on the lower
                                                                             tle conservation                 Kuskokwim River and gaining an under-
  The Pacific Region’s specially designed Sprinter van serves as a           efforts,” said Wildlife          standing of the colonization process will
  traveling showcase for Northwest wildlife, part of the Fish and Wildlife   Interpretive Specialist          greatly enhance the refuge’s management
  Service’s efforts to highlight the natural bounty Lewis and Clark
  experienced on their trek across the country 200 years ago. (Matt
                                                                             Ann Marie Salewski.              program and eventually improve
  How/USFWS)                                                                 “Students who may                subsistence hunting.
                                                                             never have the opportu-
                                                                             nity to visit the ocean          Kenai NWR forged an agreement with
                                                          will be able to see the beauty of Pea               the Alaska Office of History and
 Services designed the vinyl wrap for the                                                                     Archaeology to record and interpret the
 van and supervised the contracted exhibit Island while learning the important role                           remains of more than 130 historic cabins
 design and fabrication. AmeriCorps                       refuges play in wildlife conservation.” In
                                                          addition to a virtual visit to the refuge,          scattered across the refuge. Through the
 Volunteer Heather Becker, along with
 several Service employees, managed the                   the education program included an eField partnership, the refuge will not only be
                                                          Trip Journal and the opportunity to post            able to restore useable cabins but also go
 exhibit and conducted interpretive pre-
 sentations for 750 people who attended                   questions and join
 the festival. The van and exhibit will                   in a live interac-
 make more rounds at Lewis and Clark                      tive Web chat           Several thousand students from 42 states, two Canadian provinces and the
                                                          with experts.           United Kingdom embarked on a recent e-tour of Pea Island NWR, NC, as part
 Bicentennial commemorative events in                                         of a new online education program. (Ryan Hagerty/USFWS)
 Idaho, Oregon and Washington during                 Alaska: With
 2005-2006.                                          help from the
 Minnesota and Oklahoma: Minnesota                   Kwethluk
 Valley NWR and Deep Fork NWR, OK,                   Village Council,
 partnered with the National Wild Turkey             the Alaska
 Federation in April to host special spring          Department of
 turkey hunts, pairing youngsters with               Fish and Game
 adult mentors to help them make the                 and a lucky
 most out of their experience. At                    break in the
 Minnesota Valley Refuge, the partnership            weather, Yukon
 also included the state department of nat-          Delta Refuge
 ural resources and private landowners               collared 25

Pg 16 Refuge Update | July/August 2005
the extra step to record all other remains     Oklahoma: More than 100 elementary                     Arizona: Fourteen Sierra Club members
to foster understanding and appreciation       school students inspired by the unique                 traveled from across the U.S. to Buenos
for the refuge’s historic resources. Only      beauty of selenite crystals they studied               Aires NWR in March to donate a week’s
about a dozen cabins are still standing, but   during a trip to Salt Plains NWR success-              worth of vital repair and restoration work.
they all record the activities of Dena’ina     fully petitioned the state legislature to              Volunteers removed 14,000 linear feet of
Athabascan, and Euro-American home-            make it the official state crystal. The                barbed wire fence, 160 feet of hog wire
steaders, trappers, hunters, miners and        unique hourglass-shaped, sand-inclusioned              and 235 fence posts left over from ranch-
assorted dreamers throughout the late          selenite crystals can be found only on the             ing operations in Brown Canyon and
19th and early 20th centuries. In some         Salt Plains Refuge. The students’ efforts              grassland sections of the refuge. The
cases, the belongings of the builders were     were bolstered by a valuable connection                crew also repaired flood damage on
still present, providing a unique window       — one of their mothers is State Senator                Brown Canyon Road at three creek fords,
into the lives of these individuals and the    Kathleen Wilcoxon, who drafted the legis-              cut brush to reduce fire hazard around
time period. Archaeologists will record        lation. “I’m so impressed with these chil-             buildings and improved 2,500 feet of hik-
every known cabin and remains and then         dren,” Senator Wilcoxon said, “They had                ing trails. This is the ninth Sierra Club
document the history of each, including        done their research and found that 15                  work crew in five years to donate their
compiling old photographs and documents,       states already have an official gemstone.”             time and effort to the refuge.
as well as personal interviews, to tell the    The bill passed the legislature and was
story of the Euro-American settlement of       signed by Oklahoma Governor Brad
the Kenai Peninsula and the opening of         Henry in April. “What an incredible les-
Alaskan Frontier.                              son for these students,” Wilcoxon said,
                                               “They’ve learned about geology, geogra-
Florida: Thanks to a Nature of Learning        phy, research and state government.”
program administered by the National
Fish and Wildlife Foundation, every class-     Washington: In April, a dozen
room at Pelican Island Elementary School       volunteers — refuge neigh-
had the chance to visit their namesake         bors, Friends group members
refuge this spring and take part in a stew-    and others — helped Willapa
ardship project on the refuge. A $5,000        NWR combat an infestation of
startup grant enabled the school to hire an    gorse — a spiny weed that can
environmental educator, fund class visits      grow up to 10 feet tall — by
to Centennial Trail and the special obser-     pulling up thousands of gorse
vation deck that allows viewing of the         seedlings before the plants
Pelican Island rookery and launch a proj-      became so large they would
ect for the students to create a native but-   require special equipment to
terfly garden.                                 remove. Not only did the vol-
                                               unteers keep a popular trail
Across the state at St. Marks NWR, col-        open on the Leadbetter Unit,
lege students from Michigan and Indiana        where the extremely flamma-
participating in the National Alternative      ble gorse is a major problem,
Spring Break Program worked with               but they also helped reduce
refuge maintenance staff to construct a        the risk of wildfires. Their
new nest platform for breeding least terns.    efforts were covered on the
The students also removed six miles of         front page of the local newspa-      Schoolchildren’s experience during a field trip to Salt Plains
barbed wire fence along the old Aucilla        per, the Chinook Observer, and       NWR to study selenite crystals inspired them to petition the
Tram road, picked up garbage along the         were so successful that a sec-       legislature to have selenite recognized as the official State Crystal
freshly burned dikes and trimmed the           ond, larger effort is planned for    of Oklahoma. (USFWS)
Mounds hiking trail. The Alternative           this summer. “We’ve learned
Spring Break Program, begun in 1991,           that ever since the organized
now involves students from 123 campuses        effort, several of the volunteers
nationwide — an estimated 38,000 this          have continued to go up to the trail to help
year — seeking experience serving in com-      keep the gorse in check,” said Outdoor
munities on a host of social issues.           Recreation Planner Kristine Massin.

                                                                                                    July/August 2005 | Refuge Update Pg 17
Fire Preparedness
Pays Off for Puerto
Rican Refuges
By Catherine J. Hibbard
In March, Southern Area Coordination
Center Meteorologist Kevin Scasny deliv-
                                              Around the same time as the Culebra fire, another occurred on the Island of Vieques in Puerto Rico,
ered some sobering news to the Fish and       threatening the refuge and the surrounding community. The local fire department and Fish and Wildlife
Wildlife Service’s Southeast Region Fire      Service employees suppressed the fire. (Josh O’Conner)
Coordinator Roger Boykin about the
upcoming fire season: Puerto Rico was
                                              to acquire wildland firefighting equip-
having the second driest spring in 50
                                              ment, supplies and training.
years. The drought and an abundance of
dry grass produced by heavy rains the         In Puerto Rico, the grants helped train                  Predicting Fire
previous summer and fall suggested the
fire season could be red hot.
                                              100 volunteers in wildland fire behavior,
                                              fire suppression and safety — especially                 Seasons
                                              important because the three refuges do                   Rick Ochoa, fire weather program
Primed with this information, Boykin
                                              not have fire personnel on staff. They                   manager at the National Interagency
developed a regional “severity funding”
                                              depend on the local fire departments for                 Fire Center in Boise, ID, identified
package. Typically, fire coordinators pre-
                                              initial attack of fires.                                 three factors that help develop fire
pare for the fire season using funds allo-
cated for preparedness. Faced with            The events in Puerto Rico last spring                    season forecasts.
abnormally high fire activity or forecasts    exemplify how fire season forecasting can                Weather and related factors: Long-
of such, the Service can provide severity     be used effectively to allocate funds and                range forecasts from the National
funding for extraordinary preparedness        efforts where they are needed most. In                   Weather Service and other
activities.                                   the Southwest, for example, below normal                 forecasting agencies evaluate rainfall
                                              potential for wildland fire was predicted                history (available for several years in
From January 1-March 29, Puerto Rico
                                              for high elevations, while above normal                  some areas), snow pack and
had 5,100 fires, more than triple the num-
                                              potential was forecast for lower elevations              temperature patterns. The
ber last year. The Refuge System Branch
                                              because greater-than-expected precipita-                 combination of very low snow packs
of Fire Management approved $270,000 in
                                              tion produced abundant vegetation                        and continuing drought escalated the
national severity funding over three two-
                                              growth that will dry out in the summer                   risk of wildfires in the Northwest
week periods, allowing the Regional Fire
                                              and provide fuel for wildfires.                          this year.
Office to mobilize resources for Cabo Rojo,
Culebra and Vieques refuges. An incident      “This isn’t typical,” said Rick Ochoa, fire              Fuel moisture/fire danger: The
commander (IC) and IC-trainee from the        weather program manager at the National                  growth of grass and brush at low
Service, and 6-10 emergency firefighters      Interagency Fire Center in Boise, ID.                    elevations after a wet winter in the
on temporary hire from local fire depart-     “Normally the higher elevations are more                 Southwest increased the supply of
ments, were dispatched to each refuge.        at risk. So we had an opportunity here to                fuel and the wildfire threat. Insect-
From mid-March through April alone,           focus on prevention efforts at lower eleva-              killed spruce trees in the western
more than 50 wildfires blazed. All were       tions.” Ochoa’s program also predicts                    Kenai Peninsula of Alaska also pose a
contained to less than 100 acres, thanks to   above normal potential for wildfires in                  threat for high fire potential. Various
the severity funding.                         Florida and the Pacific Northwest, and a                 instruments and computer models are
                                              normal to below normal potential in the                  used to determine these conditions.
The response was facilitated by Service
grants from the Rural Fire Assistance
                                                                                                       Human Resources: Availability of
(RFA) program to five volunteer fire          For more information on the national fire                personnel and equipment for
departments in Puerto Rico. RFA grants        weather outlook, visit www.nifc.gov and                  suppressing wildland fires may be
have been available since 2001 to volun-      click on “Current Fire Information.” ◆                   affected by such weather events as
teer fire departments in small, rural com-
                                              Catherine J. Hibbard is a refuge program specialist
                                                                                                       monsoon season. Fire season
munities near national wildlife refuges,
                                              in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeast
                                                                                                       forecasters consider such events to
fish hatcheries and waterfowl production
                                              Regional Office.
                                                                                                       predict what resources will be available
areas. The grants allow the department
                                                                                                       and where they will be located.

Pg 18 Refuge Update | July/August 2005
Ivory Billed Woodpecker– from pg 1
The recovery effort will cover the bird’s
historic range, focusing on the Big Woods
                                                       Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Recovery
corridor of central Arkansas, eastern
Texas’ Big Thicket, Louisiana, Mississippi,
                                                       Team Executive Committee
Alabama, Florida, southern Georgia and
the Carolinas.                                         O Sam Hamilton, Southeast                  O Dr. John Fitzpatrick, Director,
                                                         Regional Director of the Fish              Cornell University Laboratory
From Extinction to Recovery                              and Wildlife Service and chair of          of Ornithology and co-leader of
The largest woodpecker in the United                     the recovery team’s executive              the search effort in Arkansas
States, the Ivory-billed woodpecker is the               committee
second largest in the world and had been                                                          O Scott Henderson, Director,
one of six species of birds in North                   O John Bridgeland, President and             Arkansas Game and Fish
America thought to be extinct. It once                   CEO, Civic Enterprises, and                Commission
nested in bottomland swamps and adjacent                 recently assistant to the
                                                         President of the United States           O Dr. Peter Roussopoulos,
pine forests throughout the Southeastern
                                                         and the first Director of the USA          Director, Forest Service’s
United States and Cuba. In this country,
                                                         Freedom Corps                              southern research station
the bird ranged from the coastal plain of
North and South Carolina, Georgia,                                                                O Dr. James Tate, Science Advisor,
                                                       O Brig. General Robert Crear,
Florida, large portions of Alabama,                                                                 Interior Secretary Gale Norton
                                                         District Engineer, U.S. Army
Mississippi and Arkansas, Louisiana, east-
                                                         Corps of Engineers                       O Larry Wiseman, President and
ern Texas, western Tennessee, and small
areas of Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma and              O Nancy Delamar, Director of                 CEO, American Forest
Missouri. By the late 1800s, the Ivory-                  External Affairs, The Nature               Foundation
billed woodpecker was no longer found in                 Conservancy’s south central
Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois or Kentucky.                division

News of the bird’s rediscovery came from               O Kirk Duppes, board member,
the Interior Department, the Cornell Lab                 National Fish and Wildlife
of Ornithology, The Nature Conservancy,                  Foundation
the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

                                                   and other members of the Big Woods              The team was led by Dr. John Fitzpatrick,
                                                   Conservation Partnership on April 28,           director of the Cornell Laboratory of
                                                   when the groups announced they had col-         Ornithology, and Scott Simon, Arkansas
                                                   lected evidence of the bird’s existence at      state director of The Nature Conservancy,
                                                   Cache River Refuge. Their primary evi-          with assistance from the Service,
                                                   dence consists of video footage, while sec-     Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and
                                                   ondary evidence consists of seven               the Arkansas Natural Heritage
                                                   eyewitness sightings and audio.                 Commission.
                                                   Recordings of the bird’s distinctive double
                                                   rap and call are still under analysis. After    Given the excitement over the woodpeck-
                                                   conducting its own peer reviews of the          er’s return, Cache River Refuge is taking
                                                   evidence, the journal Science published         steps to ensure the bird’s protection while
                                                   the groups’ findings on its Web site on         allowing birders to share in the joy of this
                                                   April 28, following up with a feature in the    momentous discovery. While determining
                                                   June 3 issue of the journal.                    the appropriate level of use, the refuge
                                                                                                   has established a 5,000-acre managed
                                                   Following credible reports of sightings of      access area within the 65,000-acre refuge.
                                                   the bird, a multi-partner team spent more       Five refuge access points and maps are
                                                   than a year searching in the Big Woods of       available for visitors hoping to catch a
Trying to catch a glimpse, crew members waded in   Arkansas. The evidence collected led sci-       glimpse of the woodpecker. The refuge is
waist-deep water and mounted tree perches.         entists to conclude that the Ivory-billed       working with partners to provide public
(Mark Godfrey/TNC)
                                                   woodpecker is now present in that area.         facilities to make viewing easier. ◆

                                                                                                   July/August 2005 | Refuge Update Pg 19
Leadership that Makes a Difference
Skippy Reeves Retires from Okefenokee Refuge
                                                        Reeves’ approach to team-building tran-       ous private landowners to form the
                                                        scends the refuge to include numerous         Greater Okefenokee Association of
                                                        partners. “Some of the issues facing          Landowners (GOAL) in 1994. GOAL
                                                        Okefenokee also affect other lands down       members worked together to form a coor-
                                                        stream,” said Kirk Webster, deputy execu-     dinated fire suppression system and
                                                        tive director of the Suwannee River           establish measures that aid in the preven-
                                                        Water Management District in Florida.         tion of future wildland fires. GOAL con-
                                                        “Skippy recognizes that management of a       tinues to be active today, and cooperative
                                                        natural system means going beyond politi-     efforts have expanded to include endan-
                                                        cal and state boundaries.”                    gered species surveys and joint mainte-
                                                                                                      nance projects.
                                                        When the DuPont Mining Company pro-
                                                        posed establishing a strip mine on lands      “Skippy has the ability to step back and
                                                        immediately adjacent to Okefenokee            see an issue from all sides, not just the
                                                        Refuge in 1997, Reeves’ collaborative         government side,” said Wesley Langdale,
                                                        management style was effective in bring-      vice president of the Langdale
                                                        ing about a resolution, but he is quick to    Corporation. “Then he works with all
                                                        point out that this conservation victory      viewpoints involved to reach a solution
Okefenokee Refuge Manager Skippy Reeves retired         would not have been accomplished with-        that works for everybody. In the end, it’s
in June after 20 years with the Fish and Wildlife       out assistance from others. “Never in our     the team that gets the credit for the suc-
Service. He earned respect from peers and partners      wildest dreams could we have hoped to do      cesses, but Skippy deserves a large part
alike for bringing people together to reach consensus
on challenging management issues. (USFWS)
                                                        this without the help of the local communi-   of it.”
                                                        ty, private landowners and businesses,
                                                        The Conservation Fund, and of course, the     The list of Reeves’ honors is long and dis-
By Shawn Gillette                                       DuPont Mining Company itself,” Reeves         tinguished, including an On-the-Spot and
                                                        said. “We made a difference because we        other awards from the Fish and Wildlife
Skippy Reeves, project leader of the                                                                  Service for resolving sensitive issues
                                                        worked together.”
Okefenokee and Banks Lake NWRs, GA,                                                                   related to the DuPont Mining proposal in
retired June 30, leaving an indelible legacy            Additionally, Reeves worked with repre-       1997, a commendation award from the
of effective partnerships and leadership.               sentatives of the various water resource      Governor of Georgia for his work with the
                                                        agencies that manage the Suwannee             SRWMD, an Interior Department
Since his boyhood days hunting and fish-
                                                        River, which originates within Okefenokee     Superior Service Award for outstanding
ing in the Piedmont hills around Macon,
                                                        Refuge. Together, they formed the             leadership and outreach in 2000, a Unit
GA, Reeves aspired to be outdoors. His
                                                        Suwannee Basin Interagency Alliance,          Award for Excellence in Service in recog-
Forestry and Wildlife Management
                                                        which brought together a coalition of         nition of his management of the Blackjack
degree from the University of Georgia
                                                        Georgia and Florida agencies to collabo-      Bay Complex Fire, and most recently the
focused his career pursuit, leading to posi-
                                                        rate on issues affecting the river and        Wildlife Conservationist of the Year
tions with the Georgia Department of
                                                        water quality.                                award from the National Wildlife
Natural Resources, the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers and the Cooperative                        “Skippy recognizes the value of an individ-
Extension Unit of Alabama.                              ual,” added Webster. “He meets with indi-     “Over the years, I’ve learned how impor-
                                                        viduals from all sides of an issue and        tant it is to get all viewpoints on an issue
His 20-year career with the Fish and
                                                        successfully brings them together in a col-   and then help people realize their common
Wildlife Service included assignments at
                                                        laborative process for problem-solving. It    interests and go from there,” said Reeves.
St. Marks NWR, FL, and the Mississippi
                                                        takes a unique personality to accomplish      “That has helped us get through many a
Sandhill Crane NWR. In 1987, Reeves
                                                        this, and Skippy possesses that in            challenge at Okefenokee, at the same time
transferred to Atlanta, where he coordi-
                                                        abundance.”                                   helping the refuge reach its potential as an
nated the Regional Fire Program for
                                                                                                      internationally acclaimed treasure.” ◆
southeastern refuges. He became refuge                  Working Collaboratively
manager at Okefenokee in 1993.                          When fire within the refuge threatened        Shawn Gillette is a refuge ranger at Okefenokee and
                                                        valuable private timber resources outside     Banks Lakes NWRs, GA.
                                                        the refuge, Skippy worked with the vari-

Pg 20 Refuge Update | July/August 2005
Hopper Mountain Refuge Shares Expertise with Japanese
By Denise Stockton
Hopper Mountain NWRC, CA, hosted
three members of Japan’s fledging white
crested ibis recovery program for a week
in March, giving them a firsthand look at
the captive breeding work of the
California Condor Recovery Program,
which is managed at the refuge. The visit
launched an active working relationship.
Following the visit, Hopper Mountain
Refuge staff sent the Japanese team
California condor release protocols and
put them in touch with California Central
Valley rice farmers, who provide wetland
habitat for wildlife by using innovative
land management practices.
The white crested ibis, known as the Toki
in Japanese and extinct in the wild in that
country, is a bird with significant historical
and cultural value to the Japanese. The
Toki Project, considered by Japan’s
Ministry of the Environment as one of
that country’s most important conserva-
tion efforts, is currently in a captive          Known as the Toki in Japanese, the white crested ibis is extinct in the wild in Japan, where the Ministry of the
breeding phase at the Sado Toki                  Environment is working to help the bird make a comeback. Hopper Mountain Refuge, CA, is advising the
                                                 Japanese based on efforts to recover the California condor. (Japan Ministry of the Environment)
Conservation Center, located on Sado
Island off the western coast of Japan. The
center has produced more than 50 birds           ers’ belief that the birds damage rice                   share some of the same challenges,” said
from just three founding birds obtained          seedlings.                                               Project Leader Marc Weitzel. “We hope
from China. Scientists hope to reintro-                                                                   that our experiences through trial and
duce birds into the wild on Sado Island in       The Japanese delegation met with various                 error can help the Japanese. We look for-
a couple of years.                               Condor Program partners, saw condor                      ward to supporting the Toki Project as
                                                 field reintroduction around the Hopper                   they transition to the reintroduction phase
Like the Toki, the California condor, also       Mountain Refuge and visited breeding
of cultural and historical value, nearly                                                                  of recovery.” ◆
                                                 facilities at the Los Angeles Zoo, San
became extinct. Both species declined            Diego Wild Animal Park and the San                       Denise Stockton is an outdoor recreation planner at
from loss of habitat, pesticide use, being       Diego Zoo. The team took a tour of the                   Hopper Mountain NWRC, CA.
killed for their feathers or because they        Western Foundation of Vertebrate
were thought to be responsible for the loss      Zoology, another Condor Program partner
of crops and livestock. Many of these            and site of the world’s largest collection of
threats can be ameliorated through public        bird eggs. The Japanese delegation
education. The Condor Program has had            included Junko Chida, chief of the min-
an active outreach program since its             istry’s wildlife protection section, Niigata
beginning.                                       Wildlife Office; Kumiko Yoneda, senior
Realizing the importance of education, the       research scientist with the Japan Wildlife
Toki Project team was eager to discuss           Research Center; and Ichiro Aoyama, a
the public perceptions and resulting out-        raptor specialist.
reach efforts that affect the Condor             “Reintroducing species that have gone
Program. One educational challenge for           extinct in the wild is a complicated process
Toki reintroduction is Japanese rice farm-       and the Condor Program and Toki Project

                                                                                                          July/August 2005 | Refuge Update Pg 21
Secretary Norton Visits
Blackwater Refuge for Earth Day
Interior Secretary Gale Norton made            acres, is designated a
Blackwater NWR, MD, one of her Earth           Wetland of International
Day stopovers on April 18. Working             Importance under the
alongside volunteers, the Secretary and        Ramsar Convention and
Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD)             one of The Nature
planted marsh vegetation as part of an         Conservancy’s “Last Great
ongoing wetlands restoration effort.           Places,” as well as a priori-
                                               ty wetland area under the
Responding to decades of wetlands degra-       North American Waterfowl
dation, the Fish and Wildlife Service and      Management Plan. Even
partners are developing plans to restore       with this recognition and
8,000 acres of refuge wetlands in the          support, the challenges can
Blackwater River watershed, hoping the         be overwhelming.
area can once again live up to its common      According to Carowan, the
moniker as the “Everglades of the North.”      refuge has lost 8,000 acres
Secretary Norton also toured part of a         of highly productive marsh-
900-acre hazardous fuels reduction project     land over the last several
at the refuge made possible by the             decades due to rising sea
Healthy Forests Restoration Act signed         levels, subsidence, erosion,
by President Bush in 2003. The project         saltwater intrusion and
                                                                               Interior Secretary Norton celebrated Earth Day by working alongside
reduced excessive fuel loads to reduce the     invasive species.               refuge volunteers planting vegetation in one of Blackwater Refuge’s
risk of uncontrolled wildfires. In addition,    “We’re still losing 500-
                                                                               many forested wetlands. (Tami A. Heilemann/DOI)
she participated in the reforestation of a     1,000 acres of wetlands
55-acre forested wetland, an area dam-         each year,” said Carowan,                       Environmental Impact Statement to use
aged by a tornado in 2001 — a project          “but we’re hopeful that some of our new         clean dredged material from Port of
supported by a 2003 Interior Department        efforts are going to help us make a turn-       Baltimore shipping channels to help fill in
Cooperative Conservation Initiative            around.”                                        open water at Blackwater Refuge and
Grant.                                                                                         allow revegetation for marshlands
                                               Carowan was referring to two experimen-         restoration.
Broad and successful partnerships made         tal wetlands restoration efforts that
Blackwater Refuge an appealing site for        involved using clean sediment material          The EIS is just one hurdle, however,
the Secretary’s tour, with longstanding        from another area of the refuge to restore      because even if Blackwater is chosen as
conservation projects supported by             12 acres in the 1980s and another 15 acres      one of the sites for dredge placement, a
groups ranging from the Chesapeake Bay         in 2003. These experimental efforts             separate feasibility study will need to be
Foundation to the Boy Scouts of America,       involved the U.S. Army Corps of                 completed before the work can commence.
from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers          Engineers, National Oceanic and                 The good news is non-federal partners
to Ducks Unlimited.                            Atmospheric Administration, Maryland            have indicated they may be willing to
“We have a big job to do here at               Department of Natural Resources,                share the $5 million needed for the Corps
Blackwater and in the surrounding com-         National Fish and Wildlife Foundation,          to complete the feasibility study.
munity to help these forested wetlands         National Aquarium in Baltimore, Friends
                                               of Blackwater and Ducks Unlimited.              “It will be a long road to make this hap-
and marshes live up to their potential as                                                      pen, but in the end, when we see the
world-class habitat,” said Glenn Carowan,      Restoration was highly successful.
                                                                                               marsh and the birds return, it will be
project leader for the Chesapeake              Carowan and a host of partners are work-        worth it,” said Carowan. ◆
Marshlands NWRC. “We’re fortunate to           ing with the Corps of Engineers on an
have a lot of partners and conservation-       effort to restore 8,000 acres of Blackwater
minded citizens here in the Chesapeake         marshlands using clean dredge material
Bay area.”                                     from Maryland shipping channels, return-
Bringing Back the Marsh                        ing what are now lakes back to marsh-
Blackwater Refuge, established in 1933         lands. The Corps is currently reviewing
and now comprising more than 27,000            public comments on a draft

Pg 22 Refuge Update | July/August 2005
Scholarships Support Coral Reef Conservation
By Steve Farrell                              white paper will include proposed man-
                                              agement strategies and foster cooperative
The National Wildlife Refuge System           conservation of this spectacular coral reef
welcomed two recipients of the Second         ecosystem.
Annual Governor Tauese P.F. Sunia
Memorial Coral Reef Conservation              Robinson will develop a comprehensive
Summer Internship Awards in June. The         analysis of the Refuge System’s coral reef
internships support programs to improve       management programs. She will compile
management of 14 refuges with coral reef      and analyze the coral reef ecosystem
ecosystem resources, including coral reefs,   resources and management activities for
associated hard bottom habitats, seagrass     all refuges with coral reefs and associated
meadows, mangrove forests and estuaries.      habitats. The analysis will provide infor-
                                              mation about natural and cultural
Kassandra Cerveny, a Daytona Beach,           resources and challenges, in addition to
FL, native and graduate student attend-       marine recreation opportunities for use in
ing the University of Puerto Rico, and        education materials.                                  Kassandra Cerveny
Tiffany Robinson, a Honolulu, HI, native
and undergraduate attending Western           The Department of the Interior Office of
Washington University in Bellingham, are      Insular Affairs funds the Sunia
the Sunia Scholarship recipients.             Scholarship. Awards are based on profes-
                                              sional experience, academic background,
Led by the Refuge System’s Marine             an essay and letters of recommendation.
Program Specialist, Andrew Gude, the          The selection committee matches candi-
Sunia scholars will spend the summer ana-     dates’ aspirations with the coral reef con-
lyzing coral reef resource issues from the    servation and management priorities of
Refuge System’s headquarters in               the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. ◆
Arlington, VA.
                                              Steve Farrell is a communications specialist in the
Cerveny will investigate the history of       Division of Visitor Services and Communications in
Navassa Island NWR and produce a              Refuge System Headquarters.
white paper summarizing the marine biol-
ogy, geography, natural history and
human use of the Caribbean refuge. The

                                                                                                    Tiffany Robinson

   Refuge System’s Coral Reefs
   O The 14 national wildlife refuges that        Johnston and Rose Atolls, and
     have coral reef ecosystems within            Kingman Reef, and Key Deer, Key
     their boundaries are considered the          West and Great White Heron
     crown jewels of the U.S. coral               refuges in the lower Florida Keys.
     holdings and total about 3 million
     acres.                                   O The Pacific, Hawaii and Navassa
                                                national wildlife refuges are natural
   O Among the nation’s most remote and         laboratory ecosystems that serve as
     pristine possessions, the “coral reef”     benchmarks against which other
     refuges include, for example, the          fished and developed areas are
     Remote Pacific Islands Complex             compared for coral health and
     encompassing Baker Island,                 predator and species assemblages.
     Howland Island, Jarvis Island
     refuges, the atolls of Palymra,

                                                                                                    July/August 2005 | Refuge Update Pg 23
Chief’s Corner– from pg 2                      Foster Parents– from pg 7
when George Benson, the reservation            realized that the young bat could be rein-
warden at Malheur National Wildlife            troduced into its natural environment, and
Refuge in Oregon, strapped his canoe to        began to work with the Fish and Wildlife
his motorcycle’s sidecar, not only was he      Service’s Ecological Services Office in       Wildlife Biologist Anne Brooke, a fruit bat expert,
headed for one of our water trails, but        Honolulu to have it transferred into the      holds an orphaned Mariana fruit bat that she helped
he also was probably among the first to        Service’s care.                               raise and reintroduce to the wild. (Matt
use an auto trail.                                                                           Brown/USFWS)
                                               Brooke and two volunteers, Jennifer
Early in my career, I had the chance to        Farley and Dusty Janecke, constructed a       They left the cage open, and as team
play an active role in the development         large cage with room for the bat to fly and   members took pictures, she flew up into a
of the national trails program. My expe-       placed it in a sheltered area near a cliff    tree and climbed to the top. They left food
rience in the purchase and acquisition of      face on a part of Guam NWR that is            and water in the tree. By morning the
parts of the Appalachian National              closed to public access. In late December,    food had been eaten and the young bat
Scenic Trail, which runs through               Brooke and her team took over as the          had flown away for good.
Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge        bat’s foster parents.
in New Jersey, helped me appreciate                                                          The Mariana fruit bat was listed as endan-
                                               The team visited the bat several times a      gered on Guam in 1984, but subsequent
the value of trails. Today, the Fish and
                                               day and fed her a variety of native fruits,   research showed that the bats move
Wildlife Service has special interest in
                                               weaning her off the apples and oranges        between Guam and the Northern
trails because they bring people closer
                                               she had grown accustomed to eating.           Marianas, so the Service reclassified the
to their lands through boardwalks, auto
                                               Brooke encouraged the young bat to fly        Guam population as threatened in 2005
trails, accessible trails and other facility
                                               through activities designed to strengthen     and also listed the Northern Marianas
enhancements. For the first time, fed-
                                               her wings, and even introduced her to a       population as threatened. ◆
eral legislation will allow the Refuge
                                               brown tree snake, a predator of young
System to spend transportation money
                                               bats. Feeling rain and wind and seeing        Susan Saul is an outreach specialist in External
in FY 2006 for the maintenance and
                                               the world at night were all new experi-       Affairs in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific
improvement of our trails network.
                                               ences for the young bat.                      Regional Office.
The decision comes none too soon.
                                               In late January, the team decided it was
Americans, conscious of their health and
                                               time for the bat to strike out on her own.
enamored of their lands, don their hiking
boots, pack their tackle boxes, round up
the family and take to the trails. The
Refuge System stands ready to welcome          Send Us Your Comments
and orient visitors who find our trails the    Letters to the Editor or suggestions about Refuge Update can be e-mailed to
best way to meet the world of wildlife.        RefugeUpdate@fws.gov or mailed to Refuge Update, USFWS-NWRS,
                                               4401 North Fairfax Dr., Room 634C, Arlington, VA 22203-1610.

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4401 North Fairfax Dr.
Room 634C
Arlington, VA 22203-1610

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