FY13 Regional Priorities
U.S. Fish & Wildlife ServiceOperational Priorities
Our People Invest in Our Current and Future Workforce
■■ Develop and begin testing a pilot employee development program for all
employees that capitalizes on current regional resources. The program
will be low cost, highly tailorable to individual employee needs, and easily
Ensure our Employees Have a
Safe Work Environment
■■ Successfully prepare for and participate in the combined DOI/FWS 2013
■■ Every Project Leader/Station Manager will complete and follow up on
their Safety and Environmental Self-Inspection prior to August 15.
Development Opportunities for
Recruit and Retain a Diverse
and Highly Engaged Workforce
That Reflects the Publics We
■■ Build and utilize an effective network of professional, academic, non-profit
and governmental contacts that will enhance the region’s ability to attract
diverse, highly qualified applicants; capitalize on technology and social
media to advance our marketing.
■■ In coordination with all regional programs, begin an analysis on retention
rates to determine if there are trends or concerns that regional leadership
Continue to Advance the Principals of Strategic Habitat
Conservation as our Conservation Design and Delivery Paradigm
Work with Partners to Identify
and Utilize Surrogate Species
to Achieve Self-sustaining Fish
and Wildlife Populations in
Continue to Build Science
Capacity Through our
Leverage Other Existing Internal
■■Working with our partners (particularly state fish and wildlife agencies),
we will select surrogate species to help design functioning landscapes.
■■ Ensure Region 6 representatives on LCCs are aware of regional priorities
within the reach of each LCC and develop a mechanism to ensure LCCs
develop scientific support tools Region 6 program staff need to conserve
priority trust resources.
■■ Charter a team to look at the future role of the Habitat and Population
Evaluation Team (HAPET) in supporting conservation of priority trust
resources, including aiding in the selection of surrogate species.
■■ Integrate the Refuges Inventory and Monitoring program, LCCs,
surrogate species and other science based efforts to inform, support and
strengthen our priority conservation delivery efforts.
Invest in Improving our Relationship with Key Partners
Enhance Communications Efforts and Further Align Outreach
with Regional Priorities
■■ Build strategic public information campaigns around our regional resource
■■ Strategically engage key Members of Congress and state legislators on
Maintain and Increase our
Collaboration with State Fish
and Wildlife Agencies, Our
■■Within each of our eight states, each Service program, or all programs
together, will host at least one general coordination meeting to discuss
mutual priorities and conservation opportunities with State wildlife
agency directors and appropriate agency staff.
■■ Regional Director (RD) and Deputy Regional Director (DRD) will meet
personally with each State wildlife agency director at least once per year
to discuss priorities and opportunities for collaboration.
■■ Each project leader will ensure that State wildlife agency directors are
apprised in advance of local announcements or initiatives.
■■ For major policy initiatives or decisions (such as ESA listing decisions),
the Assistant Regional Director, DRD or RD will personally communicate
decisions to state directors in advance of public release using information
provided by the relevant Service program.
Maintain and Increase our
Collaboration with Tribes
■■ Establish Tribal Advisory Board concerning issues of mutual interest.
■■ Develop mutually beneficial relationships with tribes and the Service
focused on joint priorities.
■■ Establish at least one new tribal partnership on a project of mutual
Energy, Water, Food Production
■■ Develop a cross-programmatic team that will identify future challenges
from stressors and how to address them.
■■ Identify priority landscapes and develop applicable conservation
measures for golden eagles and sage-grouse that may be implemented by
oil, gas and wind development projects.
■■ Inspect our hatcheries in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for possible
infection by New Zealand mudsnails, and quagga and zebra mussels and
mitigate if found.
■■ Draft regional policy to establish processes to prevent invasive species
transport by Service personnel.
■■ Co-host along with the National Conservation Training Center, Hazard
Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) training for Region 6 in
and Protect Priority
Landscapes and the
Wildlife that Depend on
Grassland Dependent Species and Native Grassland Ecosystems
(including aquatic resources)
■■ Using Migratory Bird Conservation Funds, protect over 50,000 acres of
grasslands and 10,000 acres of wetlands of highest priority migratory bird
breeding habitat with perpetual conservation easements.
■■ Develop strategic communication campaign on value of prairies to gain
public support of grassland conservation efforts.
■■ Increase the effectiveness of our land protection efforts for priority
grassland nesting birds by improving the effectiveness of the Breeding
Bird Survey by increasing survey routes in those habitats.
■■ Initiate funding for at least 2 total fish passage projects in the Flint Hills
area in Kansas, Sandhills area of Nebraska and areas of North and South
Dakota grasslands to mitigate fragmentation of habitat for listed and
species of concern.
Sage-Grouse and the Sage Steppe Ecosystem
■■ Lead the Service’s participation in the range-wide effort to conserve the
■■ Assess opportunities for sage steppe ecosystem habitat protection
including potential for easements, fee, mitigation banking and other tools.
■■ Lead a cross regional team to identify and implement sage-grouse
conservation across the range in concert with partners.
■■ Support the Intermountain West Joint Venture in coordinating the multi-agency
and multi-partner Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT) to
maximize the effectiveness and durability of the $50 million in Natural
Resources Conservation Service funding for the Sage-Grouse Initiative.
Proactively Identify and
Environmental Stressors to
Minimize Impacts to Fish,
Wildlife and their Habitats
Initiate a minimum of three projects to restore connectivity and enhance habitat for native salmonids in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.
Explore opportunities with state partners to utilize Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery to further conservation goals for a variety of native cutthroat trout.
Coordinate with Headquarters, various eagle teams, our partners, and industries on research addressing key mortality factors, movement patterns, and productivity via satellite telemetry and nest monitoring.
Complete 3rd party review of golden eagle fatality prediction model for proposed wind development projects.
Advance Conservation for Other Priority Trust Resources
Advance Conservation for Recovery of Priority Threatened and Endangered Species
Black-footed Ferret Recovery
Develop at least three new reintroduction sites in the field.
Finalize the Rangewide Safe Harbor Agreement.
Publish the Draft Recovery Plan.
Meet or exceed our Expected Productivity Rate for captive-bred ferrets at the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center.
Develop a timeline outlining steps and milestones for possible reintroduction of black-footed ferrets at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA)National Wildlife Refuge, including the completion of the RMA Habitat Management Plan.
Grizzly Bear Recovery
Revise Yellowstone demographic standards in the Recovery Plan and the Conservation Strategy and release the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem Conservation Strategy for public comment and peer review and develop the necessary proposed changes if appropriate.
Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery
Work with State partners to finalize a basin wide aquatic invasive species control strategy targeting source areas of non-native fish and develop a more forward looking preventive approach to containing non-native fish.
Assist Bureau of Reclamation in developing instream flow strategies out of Flaming Gorge and Aspinall to assist in juvenile fish survival.
Invite state experts to recovery planning teams to develop revised recovery plans.
Draft a proposal for delisting a northern Distinct Population Segment for Topeka shiner by the end of the fiscal year. ■■
Secure Director approval to establish the Bear River Watershed Conservation Area that will protect up to 920,000 acres within the watershed using conservation easements and protect key habitat for species including Bonneville cutthroat trout, Greater sage-grouse, sage thrasher and American avocet.
Secure Director approval to establish the Niobrara Confluence and Ponca Bluffs Conservation Areas that will protect up to 140,000 acres of habitat along the Missouri River through a mix of fee acquisition and easements for key species including bald eagle, piping plover, least tern and pallid sturgeon.
Using Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) dollars, protect an additional 30,000 acres within the Crown of the Continent in Montana through conservation easements to prevent land fragmentation and protect habitat for numerous trust species including grizzly bears, Canada lynx, bull trout and numerous migratory bird species.
Using LWCF dollars, protect an additional 6,500 acres of grassland and 500 acres of wetlands in the Dakota Grasslands Conservation Area through conservation easements to stem significant rate of grassland conversion and provide critical migratory bird nesting habitat.
Finalize our first easement of 2,400 acres and protect an additional 4,000 acres of tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills Conservation Area through conservation easements providing key habitat to numerous grassland nesting bird species.
Develop a cross programmatic approach to determine where potential large landscape conservation projects are needed for conservation of priority trust resources to assist future land protection efforts.
Continue Existing and Identify New Priority Landscape Conservation Efforts
Cover photos: American avocet, Purple iris, Juvenile pallid sturgeon, Sunset at
J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge, Wetlands and mountains in Montana
Photos: Service employee Jackie Fox holds a short-eared owl, Service employee Dan Mulhern releases a black-footed ferret in Kansas, Service employee on a fish study at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge / Courtesy of U.S. Army, Dwarf bear poppy, YCC crew at work at Kicking Horse Reservoir in Montana, Bird banding at Devil’s Lake Wetland Management District, Visitors fly kites at Huron Wetland Management District, Youth at D.C. Booth National Fish Hatchery, Bull trout underwater, Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge landscape, Grizzly bear, Golden eagle, Ouray National Wildlife Refuge, Monarch butterfly rests on a Black-eyed Susan, Bison on the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming, School of endangered bonytail fish
All images in this document credit to and courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service unless specified otherwise.
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