Want to work with wildlife & support conservation this summer? We're hiring dozens of positions across the U.S.! From fisheries management to invasive species control to bird biology, adventure awaits.
Biological Science Tech - http://ow.ly/gk2K50CLa6S
Park Ranger - http://ow.ly/4yc850CLa6T
Applications close December 17!
Yellowstone National Park
Did you know scientists have been routinely measuring streamflows within Yellowstone since the 1880s? Streamflow (discharge) is the volume of water that moves past a reference point over a period of time. This data helps answer management questions related to water availability, water quality, ecological conditions, infrastructure design and maintenance, hazards, climate change, and water rights. It also lets visitors know when it’s time to pull out their fishing rod and waders each year.
“Taking streamflow measurements is comparable to taking the pulse of a river. It’s rewarding to think about how the pulses measured in a small wadable creek or river in the park will be propagated downstream and affect the ecological conditions of a nationwide river network. Water not only touches every aspect of our resources and operations in Yellowstone, it moves across the park boundaries and impacts communities and ecosystems several thousand miles away.” - Erin White, Park Hydrologist #WhatWeDoWednesdays
“To this day, Crystal teaches her agency colleagues to save their job title for the end of any introduction. “Native people want to know your heart,” she says. Naming your ancestors means you accept responsibility to behave a certain way, that you will be accountable.”
Perspectives from the first Indigenous woman to ever serve as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Native American liaison
A big farewell and congratulations to our workmate Joaquin Baca as he takes the next step in his career; Water Rights Coordinator for the Forest Service R3.
Welcome to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's home for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service History
Ask the Historian: A New FWS History Feature.
When did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service begin?
Normally this is a simple question, but for our agency the answer is more complex. On July 1, 1940, the previously independent Bureau of Biological Survey and Bureau of Fisheries were combined into the newly named Fish and Wildlife Service in the U.S. Department of the Interior.
But the mission of our agency goes back much farther to February 9, 1871 when the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries (later the Bureau of Fisheries) was established. This earliest federal wildlife restoration effort involved starting scientific research into fish restoration and creating the first national fish hatchery in 1872. As such we trace our roots back to 1871 with a continuing mission to conserve America's fish and wildlife resources for future generations. In 2021 we will celebrate our 150th Anniversary as an agency.
Every week our U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Historian gets dozens of questions. We will share some of the more common and interesting questions with our Facebook friends.
The Rio Grande silvery minnow is one of the most well-known symbols of New Mexican conservationism; the shimmery little fish is protected by the Endangered Species Act, and requires certain specific habitat conditions to spawn. Two other endangered riparian species, the Southwestern willow flycatcher and the yellow-billed cuckoo, also benefit from river conservation work.
Man-made changes to the river—namely channelization and dam construction—have inhibited the minnow’s natural spawning and migratory conditions. The river lacks the natural floodplains of the past, and as a consequence, the silvery minnow now occupies only seven percent of its original range. The restoration goal of this project is to create slow-moving backwater channels to flood during the spring and early summer, creating suitable spawning habitat for the minnow.
Silvery minnow prefer slow, shallow water to spawn. To create these conditions, staff at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge mechanically removed the invasive salt cedar in the area and began replacing it with native vegetation: namely, Gooding’s willow and cottonwood. The team also lowered the floodplain, connecting it to the river after decades of dryness. These changes not only create the necessary backwater channels, they also increase habitat for the aforementioned endangered birds. The endeavor, by no means a one-time effort, depends on active monitoring of the river—a task the Division of Water Resources has been undertaking on a weekly basis.
This year has been a particularly wet one for the Rio Grande—but what does that mean for silvery minnow if they prefer calmer waters? This project aims to create enough suitable habitat no matter the amount of water in the river. The units are built in a sloping fashion: some areas are quite deep now, but become shallow towards the edges. On a low-flow year, every area of the channel may flow at the correct slow-moving rate. There may be a smaller percentage of suitable habitat, but there may still be enough suitable habitat on the edges.
When I spoke with refuge biologist Jon Erz, he emphasized the necessity of water monitoring during this project: “The reason it’s important to do this monitoring is to see how we need to change our management in the different flood regimes,” he said. “We built it, and now we need to see if we’re reaching the necessary acreage.”
Indeed, the success of these types of projects depends on active river monitoring and data collection. This particular task would not be possible without the continuous collaboration of many people and organizations: the Bureau of Reclamation, Santa Fe Stream Commission, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff have all worked towards its completion. As the river changes through the years, our monitoring team will be there through it all—safeguarding the home of the plants and animals inhabiting it.
Here at the Region 2 Division of Water Resources, we would like to bid a fond farewell to Andrew Hautzinger as he retires from his role as chief hydrologist. In his twenty-five years of service at USFWS, Andrew has been a champion of the conservation mission, from coordinating a dam release on the Bill Williams River (one that would eventually serve as a model for an iconic Colorado River release) to leading the monitoring team in their everyday endeavors on the Rio Grande.
Above all, Andrew has made sure to stay true to the motto he has always rallied behind: "wildlife first!"
"After dam removal on the Penobscot, populations of several migratory fish species using the river began to increase, including river herring, which catapulted from a few thousand before dam removal to well over two million fish after, surging up the main channel and filling tributaries."
Dams can be a big detriment to a river system. This article talks about how beneficial it can be to remove them!
Facilitated in part by the dramatic expansion of other renewables, the pace of dam removal is increasing, including Europe's largest dam removal (to date), on the Sélune River in France last month. While many trends for freshwater ecosystems have been downward, dam removal bends the curve back up.
This city is using public art to draw awareness to water pollution--runoff in particular.
"Through the art, Raleigh's stormwater management division wants to teach residents – who sometimes still pour liquids like cleaning products, motor oil and paint down the storm drains – that what goes down the drains directly impacts the health and quality of lakes and streams. It also affects the wildlife that live there and the humans who use the water for recreation."
Raleigh, North Carolina, is one of several cities using public art to draw attention to water pollution.
Happy #WorldHydrationDay part of hydration is access to clean water, an oh-so-precious resource for both the endangered Koster's springsnail and Noel's amphipod alike. See how USFWS biologists are working to recover them at Bitter Lake NWR in Roswell, NM
NASA is using satellites to track patterns on earth, giving us a better glimpse into the planet's rapidly changing water systems.
The truth is, we (humans and animals alike) rely on water to live and prosper; this technology will let us make more informed management decisions locally and globally.
Water, water everywhere that the satellites' eyes can see.
Shout out to our former work mate featured in GGW. A great site we recommend!
This week on our #HumansofWater project, we're featuring Chris Wolff, better known as the original Adventure Hydrologist and founder of Adventure Hydrology! Chris explores some of the most remote and awe-inspiring landscapes on the planet, all in the name of water 🧗♂️💧
If you ask him, water is everything - from growing food, making clothing, manufacturing, to shaping human culture and even shaping the Earth itself… when you step back, water is the essential ingredient. During his adventures, Chris found himself talking all things water with a variety of people and realized that we often misunderstand the impact water has on everyone and everything on this little blue ball we call home. He decided that there should be a new way we communicate science… a more fun way…a more adventurous way! Combining his adventurous spirit and his love for our environment, Chris created Adventure Hydrology and now uses the “Lens of Adventure” to show how important water is to everything. Join him on his YouTube adventures and climb glaciated volcanoes, kayak across Monterey Bay, crawl through Icelandic Ice Caves, and explore so much more! As Chris says “Water is Life… and Life is an Adventure… Welcome to Adventure Hydrology" 💦
While out at Bosque del Apache NWR, our hydrology monitoring team made an adorable discovery: a nest of baby swallows, pictured below. You never know what you might find when you're out in the field.
Wading in the river can be particularly treacherous when the water levels are high (which they have been lately). Luckily, our interns Ben and Dan are wearing their life vests—so they're safe in the event of a tumble!
People all over the world are taking action when it comes to water and the justice surrounding it. Click the link to read about some incredible women raising their voices and hands for the protection of this precious natural resource!
A new photo project spotlights activists around the world.
Got #Pride? This Greater Earless lizard is out and about, sporting rainbow stripes and soakin' up the summer heat.
This month, we celebrate the diversity within the Division of Water Resources and beyond. To all our LGBTQIA+ colleagues and friends, we are proud to have you among our ranks. Happy Pride!
Photo by Patrick Alexander from BLM.
Our people make a difference.
Ben Padilla, home grown in Albuquerque's south valley farming community, is our new Region 2 Water Resources intern. He's also a UNM engineering student. You'll be hearing more about his involvement in our many projects in the future, but just this week, he went out to do 🇺🇸water quality testing🇺🇸 out at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
He also knows how to work a shovel, which is good, because hydrologists don't just work with data and manage water rights. We also do the dirty work, clearing out our flumes.
Tomorrow, he's back over to Sevilleta's minnow habitat to see how the Bereau of Reclaimation's water management on his home river, the Rio Grande, is working with that habitat.. Wow, the man just doesnt stop.
🇺🇸Excellent work Ben!🇺🇸
The work we do here in hydrology isn't just abstract—it has a direct impact on the world around us.
Our colleague in the Midwest, Jennifer Gruetzman, has been working hard on a project to monitor and protect Brook Trout in an urban stream area known as Ike's Creek. Here's the gist: an impending Minnesota sewerline project would require a significant drop in the water table, which could have negative consequences for the trout. If the streamflow in the river decreases by 25% or more, Brook Trout habitat is at risk.
Gruetzman will be continuously taking streamflow measurements and logging water levels before, during, and after the sewerline project to ensure the trout's protection.
Thanks for showing us some conservation in action, Jennifer!
The Western US has always been adaptable when water is involved. How will these states adapt moving forward as this precious resource grows increasingly scarce? Click the article to see if you live in or near an at-risk city, and to examine the factors that have led to its listing.
Population growth, poor planning and climate change put tremendous stress on the water supplies in these cities.
Happy World Environment Day! On this day, the UN urges the world to act for the protection of our natural areas.
This photo of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is a prime example of how big a role water plays in the health of the environment--all wildlife depends on it, and our mission at the Division of Water Resources is to make sure it is maintained.
What are some steps you are going to take today (and moving forward) to minimize your own impact on the environment and take action towards protecting it? Let us know in the comments!
"Indigenous and local communities play really important roles in maintaining and managing biodiversity and landscapes that the rest of us can learn from.”
Many indigenous communities' relationships with the land around them are based on cohabitation and intimacy. By espousing these values and others at a large scale, we can learn "what is important to keep in terms of connectivity, how different habitats can be managed to complement each other."
A major U.N.-backed report says that nature on indigenous peoples’ lands is degrading less quickly than in other areas
Follow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region biologists at the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, where they work to conserve the endangered New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse.
Video Courtesy of Meluso Productions - University of New Mexico
Special Thanks to Laurel Ladwig Photography
Water resource protection through strategic application of science, legal capacity, and data acquisition for enhanced habitat and species management on a local and regional spatial scale. Furthering these goals is achieved through stronger partnerships, education and effective communication.
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Contact The Business
Send a message to USFWS Water Resources:
🇺🇸Friends🇺🇸 It's friday. You made it. Each of us makes it through the week with some help here and there. Working together- a bunch of us are passionately managing our water (yours and mine).
So, that's one less thing on your plate for next week's to do list. Yeah, no problem. You're welcome. Have a good weekend. And dont forget to drink 🇺🇸💧water💧🇺🇸.
#water #publiclands #BOR #USFWS #friends #USA #riogrande #nmtrue #Sevilleta
🤜Friday, you made it!🤛 You probably survived the week with some help from your family and friends. Thank goodness for communities that move each of us forward and remind us we are individuals, but also part of a larger group of people.
We're back in the Region 2 office, inside (out of the wind) processing some field data. Watch the next few posts to hear some basics about some of our 🇺🇸friends🇺🇸 at US agencies that help our week (month, and year) run smoothly. (They help you too, actually👍). #publiclands #usfws #happyfriday #friends #USA #NGS
🇺🇸💧💧Facts Matter💧💧🇺🇸 Luckily for us we know how to search for them...You could say, we're Pros!
Saving wildlife from extinction is one of our missions that relies on facts gathered from the field. Here along the Rio Grande's Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge our Department of Water Resources folks supply Refuge and Biology managers with essential data that ensure fact-based decisions and planning.
Pro Tip: you can search for facts too.
💧💧🇺🇸Facts are the 💣🇺🇸💧💧
One of the benefits of having the auto-tour route between two of the water gaging stations we monitor. #publiclands 🇺🇸
In case you haven't heard, the snowpack in the headwaters of the Rio Grande in Colorado have finally reached ~100% of the median SWE, Snow Water Equivalent, for this time of year. This is the section of the watershed from which much of the river's water comes. So we are psyched! (And so are some skiers we know). Our birds and other animals are also psyched (they will be at least).
Still, Spring temps, and the runoff dates and amounts caused by them, are a big factor in how the Rio's water is managed.
100% SWE, ❄👍✔
Happy animals 🦃🦅🦆🦉🐜🐁🐟✔
Meantime, we love being back at work, measuring what we have. Here is hydrologist and policy guru, Joaquin Baca, getting out for some flow measurement fun in one of YOUR beautiful Refuges, Bosque del Apache.
Want to know more about Oklahoma? Check out our next few posts, where we'll highlight our recent work at Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, OK.
Wichita Mountains NWR is the place bison were brought back from near extinction. It also has some awesome rock climbing, trails, and...our favorite... 13 public use lakes (We love water ;-) ).
Follow our next few posts to learn more about this awesome American resource, and check out the refuge page to learn about the water resources it has. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/wichita_mountains/
Water: it's important.
So, to keep tabs on our water, we use radios to transmit our flow data to the master station and on to the office. Signal strength, reflectivity, and noise all play a part in how well the radio signal works.
But, you guessed it, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge has these HUGE, beautiful cottonwoods that love to block our line-of-sight. So, small improvements to our instrument can make a big difference in the signal.
This is our hydrology technician, Quinn Martine, feeling pumped that the signal is good! And, well, I'm working hard taking in the scenery.
PS The recent storms filled our Riverside gage a bit, but remember stormwater does little to affect a drought.
Darrell and Critters
It's National Monitoring Day! When we're out in the field, we can never know exactly what'll happen. Sometimes, things don't always go as planned--you might get some trouble from a critter friend!
Perks of the gig.
Rattlesnake in the Desert
It's #NationalPetDay! Did you know rattlesnakes don't lose water by evaporation? Instead, they're covered in scales with a lipid bi-layer that allows them to conserve the maximum amount of water. This guy isn't a pet by anyone's standards - but comment with a name for him!
Overcoming countless challenges in her life and career, hydrologist Quantina Martine has worked hard to succeed as a woman in science. After her time in the military, she took a seminal class that inspired her to dive into the environmental field—and the rest is history. Her advice for young women? Just do it, and never give up. #InternationalWomensDay #WomenInScience #WomensHistoryMonth
Langemann #9 at Bosque del Apache NWR. Maintenance day, mostly we enjoy the sound.
Water is the lifeblood of ecosystems - Jaques Cousteau
Chief Andrew HautzingerAlong the banks of the Rio Grande, near Pate Bend Hidalgo Texas. #6secondsofcalm
Perks of the job!
Short Discharge Measurement
"A bad day in the field is better than a good day in the office"
What is a bad day for you?
For a hydrologist a bad day is trying to make a discharge measurement in a stream with equipment that does not work. Check out this video for a glimpse of a bad day in the field for USFWS Hydrologists
FWS UTV ride at Agassiz NWR
View from inside a FWS UTV as we drive around dry Agassiz Pool and large cattail stands at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge
Partners Program Youth
Happy #latinoconservationweek This is Ilene Flores of the Aguas Vidas program talking about her role installing a rain water harvesting system. Go Ilene!
Hiding under the gage box Hydrologist Kundargi replaced this week was a bull snake that had just shed his skin. He (the snake) was not happy to be bothered but was carefully moved from harms way. We have never seen Mr. Kundargi jump so high as when the snake struck at him: high jump records were broken.
Living the dream! Hydrologist Darrell Kundargi replaces old monitoring equipment at Laguna Atacosta National Wildlife Refuge.
Natural spring at Bitter Lake
The Big Flush out. Each year we Work with our partners at the Bureau of Reclamation in order to flush out sediment from the low flow conveyance channel at Bosque del Apache NWR. This action is needed in order to keep the channel clear of sands, silts and other debris.
In a classic example of early 20th century engineering, the Rio Grande was deemed inefficient in transporting water. A channel was dug in order to lower evaporation, cut down on seepage loss and increase velocity. While the channel has been successful, the changes along the river due to its construction mean that its long term use is doubtful.
For more information visit, http://wrri.nmsu.edu/publish/watcon/proc44/gorbach.pdf
Evening flight of Sandhill cranes at Bitter Lake NWR. Perks of the Job!
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