Archive for October, 2012

October 19th, 2012

New iphone Butterfly App Available

With iPhones in hand, visitors to national wildlife refuges in the Chesapeake Bay
region can now photograph and share their sightings with a worldwide community
of wildlife watchers.  The free National Wildlife Refuges Chesapeake Bay app is a new tool for exploring the
outdoors and is available for download from the App Store (


App users can post photos of the plants and animals they find on refuges and tap
into a global network of experts for information about the species.   As the postings accumulate, scientists and
refuge managers will be able to view the data to see where and when species
inhabit specific locations.


The app was developed through a partnership among the Chesapeake Conservancy and National Geographic Society with
support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It incorporates the popular Project Noah wildlife photo-sharing service.

October 19th, 2012

FWS announces two new refuges in New Mexico and a new conservation area in Colorado

The National Wildlife Refuge System had a growth spurt as Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the establishment of two new refuges in New Mexico and a new conservation area in Colorado. The expansion brings the number of refuges to 560.

In late September, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge near Albuquerque and Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area in northern New Mexico were established.

“Today we celebrate two new jewels in the National Wildlife Refuge System – Valle de Oro, an urban oasis for people and wildlife
just five miles from downtown Albuquerque, and Rio Mora, which will serve as an anchor for cooperative conservation efforts in the Rio Mora watershed,” Salazar said at the time.

The Valle de Oro Refuge was formally established through the acquisition of 390 acres of a former dairy and hay farm. The site tentatively had been named Middle Rio Grande Refuge. The official name, which means Valley of Gold in Spanish, was selected after a social media campaign solicited suggestions.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intends to work with partners to restore native bosque forest at the refuge, establish recreation
and environmental education programs for local residents, and perhaps provide demonstration areas for sustainable agriculture.


Rio Mora Refuge and Conservation Area was established by a Thaw Charitable Trust donation of more than 4,200 acres. The refuge, two
hours northeast of Albuquerque, is in a transition zone between the Great Plains and the southern Rocky Mountains. The Mora River flows through the refuge for about five miles in a 250-300-foot deep canyon.

The refuge’s conservation objectives include to protecting and restoring riparian and grassland habitat, reversing erosion and restoring the river’s natural meanders. Species that stand to benefit include long-billed curlew, loggerhead shrike, burrowing owl, mountain plover, Southwestern willow flycatcher, a number of aquatic species, and migratory grassland and woodland birds.

In mid-September, Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area was established in southern Colorado, thanks to a large
easement donation in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains by conservationist Louis Bacon.

Bacon, a proponent of landscape and wildlife conservation, donated an easement on nearly 77,000 acres of his 81,400-acre Trinchera Ranch. He
previously announced his intention to donate an easement on 90,000-acre Blanca Ranch, bringing the total amount of perpetually protected land to nearly 170,000 acres. When completed, the two easements will be the largest donation ever to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Blanca Ranch easement donation was to be finalized late this year.

“We are too quickly losing important landscapes in this country to development – and I worry that if we do not act to protect them now, future generations will grow up in a profoundly different world. This motivates me and is why I am proud to place Trinchera Ranch, Blanca’s adjoining ranch, into a conservation easement,” said Bacon. “I am also honored to help Secretary Salazar and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service create the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. It is an area widely known for its cultural,
geographic, wildlife and habitat resources.”


The new conservation area benefits Rio Grande cutthroat trout, a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act, and the threatened Canada lynx.

In addition to 560 refuges, the Refuge System includes 38 wetland management districts.



October 8th, 2012

Saturday November 17, 2012, 9:00am-1:00pm: Cactus Monitoring on the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday November 17, 2012, 9:00am-1:00pm: Cactus Monitoring on the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge
Join refuge staff to make important observations about Coastal cactus wrens. Cactus wrens are fairly common in the desert, however, in coastal Southern California they are declining because they rely on a rare habitat type—cactus scrub especially prickly pear and cholla—for nesting, foraging, and protection. Unlike most other birds, cactus wrens use nests year round for roosting (sleeping); they build a covered, football-shaped nest with grasses and other vegetation.  The small populations of coastal cactus wren in Southern California are becoming more and more isolated from each other because of habitat loss and fragmentation due to urbanization and wildfire. Active restoration is underway on the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge to accelerate habitat recovery for the coastal cactus wren.

Guided by refuge biologist, John Martin, volunteers will visit the restoration sites to observe and record the condition of the cactus, the wrens, and any invasive plants or animals. Wear long pants, a hat, and sturdy shoes. Bring sunscreen or rain protection, as the weather indicates. Bring water and a water bottle if you have one. Tools, equipment, water and snacks will be provided. We are happy to sign for community service or extra credit hours. To RSVP, and for directions or more information, contact Cathy Chadwick, or 619-447-4715.

October 8th, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012, 7:30am – 1pm: Native Plant Sale, Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve

Saturday, November 10, 2012, 7:30am – 1pm: Native Plant Sale, Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve
Using native plants in home landscaping can be water-wise and habitat-friendly. Join us for a native plant sale at Crestridge in the El Cajon/Crest area, or at Rancho Jamul in the Rancho San Diego/Jamul area. Native seeds and books about native plants will also be available. Purchases benefit EDI’s environmental education program. If you’d like to help with the sale, or if you need directions or additional information, contact Cathy Chadwick, or 619-447-4715.

October 8th, 2012

National Wildlife Refuge Week Event Oct. 20th

Click image for larger version
Free admission to Living Coast Discovery Center!

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