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  • 15 Apr 2015 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    Friends of Anahuac Refuge
    Mini Gator Tales
    April 2015

    Member Appreciation Event
    Saturday, April 18, 2pm-8pm

    A member appreciation event is scheduled for the afternoon and evening of Saturday, April 18 from 2pm-8pm. It will be held at the Oyster Bayou Hunting Club west of the refuge. This event is for EVERYONE who is a part of the Friends of Anahuac Refuge. If you are a volunteer, member, donor, USFWS personnel, or anything in between, we want to visit with YOU!  Light refreshments will be served, and we will be celebrating our accomplishments and giving away door prizes. You are welcome to stop by anytime this Saturday! We hope to see everybody there.

    Click here for more information

    Final Spring Rail Walk Scheduled for April 25

    Rail Walk at Anahuac NWR, Spring 2013

    This year's final spring rail walk at Anahuac NWR is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 at 7am. Participants could see or hear as many as SIX rails during a walk including King, Clapper, Virginia, Yellow, Sora, and the elusive Black Rail. Meet at theVIS at 7am the day of the walk for a briefing to arrange carpools to drive to the walk location on the refuge.

    Check out our Rail Walks page for more information.

    Spring Newsletter Now Available

    Our 2015 spring Gator Tales newsletter is now available. View it online here and check out previous issues here.

    Birding Workshop Highlights

    Check out video highlights of our latest birding workshop held at the refuge Visitor Center on April 4. FOAR board member David Sarkozi discussed migrating birds found at and near Anahuac NWR. Fellow board member Travis Lovelace discussed Audubon Texas' ongoing TERN Citizen Science project. You can be a part of the project by picking up a bird survey form at the VIS (or download here). Take the form to a spot on the refuge and count as many birds as you can for 20 minutes. Any data is helpful!
    You can email Travis Lovelace at for more information.
    Video courtesy of Chambers Wild

    Save the Date!

    Family Fishing Day at Anahuac NWR
    Saturday, June 6, 2015

    Click here for details

    National Wildlife Refuge System News

    Refuges, YouTube Help Researchers Discover Frog Species in New York City

    Atlantic Coast leopard frog in New York City; photo by Jeremy Feinberg
    Biologists have discovered a new frog species in New York City with the help of two National Wildlife Refuges and videos posted on YouTube.Read the story here

    Buy a Book About the Support the Refuge!
      The 50th anniversary books are for sale at the Visitor Center and Visitor Information Station as well as online on our book project page.  The book tells the story of the Anahuac NWR's 50th year through photographs and writing all done by volunteers. Profits from book sales go back to the Friends to pay for refuge projects.Check out an article from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service about the book here.

    Don't Forget to Renew Your Membership!

    Don't forget to renew your membership online via PayPal or by check in the mail.  When renewing, we also encourage you to receive our full quarterly newsletter Gator Tales, electronically.  It saves trees, saves us printing costs, and gets you access to more content.
    Send checks to:
    Friends of Anahuac RefugeP.O. Box 1348Anahuac, TX 77514 
    Clapper Rail at Anahuac NWRPhoto by Norman Welsh

    Thank you for supporting YOUR

    National Wildlife Refuge! 

  • 08 Apr 2015 9:00 AM | Anonymous
    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service News

    Conservation by Multiplication

    By: Dan Ashe, Director, US Fish & Wildlife Service

    In the 20th century, led by icons including John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold and Ding Darling, America created the National Park Service, the Forest Service, the National Wildlife Refuge System and other federal and state public land protections. As a result, nearly 30 percent of the nation’s land is protected, in some form, and stands as a foundation for the future.

    In the 21st century, we will strengthen that foundation. But if we want to meet this century’s conservation challenges, we must link the public estate to the more than 70 percent of the land that is privately owned. Many species entrusted to our care rely on private land to survive and thrive. If we’re going to conserve biological diversity, we must keep our public land foundations strong and build on them by engaging private landowners, most of whom are proud land stewards.

    That’s why we’ve focused on a vision for the Refuge System that sees refuges as hubs of networks of public and private lands. It’s why our field offices are engaging landowners across the country and developing voluntary conservation easements on hundreds of thousands of acres. These easements and other tools allow us to do conservation work through landowners, helping them achieve sustainable economic use of their lands while protecting and enhancing essential habitat for wildlife.

    By linking habitat on these private lands to our public estate, we are doing conservation by multiplication rather than simple addition. And to deal with 21st-century challenges like changing climate, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s next generation will need to graduate to algebra, trigonometry and calculus, creating more complex connections and giving wildlife the means to move across the landscape in step with the seasons, increasing human presence and shifting sources of food and shelter. That’s why we are building next-generation capacities like Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) and Refuge System Inventory and Monitoring.

    I recently read an article about Jude Smith, the manager of Buffalo Lake, Muleshoe and Grulla National Wildlife Refuges in Texas and New Mexico. He’s at least in Algebra II already.

    “Whatever we are doing on the refuge complex,” he says, “I’m considering how we can take the benefits and knowledge we have gained to surrounding landowners on the larger landscape. This complex is too small to make the big difference for wildlife that we are after.”

    Smith knows the formula for success. If you multiply your refuge lands by partnership with private landowners, the product is a landscape that makes the difference.

    This is happening as we work to conserve the greater sage-grouse. We have a strong public lands foundation, with 64 percent of the habitat under Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service management. We are strengthening that foundation but also working with and throughout the 11 range states to build strong state conservation programs and enlist private landowners in voluntary conservation. In the end, we are multiplying efforts and conserving a “sagebrush sea” that supports sage-grouse and hundreds of other species.

    In Harney County, OR, our folks have signed up nearly 300,000 acres of private ranch lands in conservation agreements. Rancher Tod Strong put it best when he said, “What’s good for the bird is good for the herd.” Amen, Tod.

    We can conserve the nature of America, if we think big, like Jude Smith, and reach out to good private land stewards like Tod Strong. Practice multiplication! Prepare for calculus! Think big!

    For more stories like this, visit:

  • 07 Apr 2015 6:00 PM | Anonymous
    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service News

    Refuges, YouTube Help Researchers Discover Frog Species

    With help from YouTube and two national wildlife refuges, researchers have discovered a new species of frog in New York City.

    The Atlantic Coast leopard frog’s existence was ratified in the October 2014 PLOS One article “Cryptic Diversity in Metropolis: Confirmation of a New Leopard Frog Species (Anura: Ranidae) from New York City and Surrounding Atlantic Coast Regions.” The discovery was a 10-year journey.

    In the mid-2000s, after three years as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service term biologist with Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Jeremy Feinberg decided to pursue a PhD from Rutgers University and focus on why southern leopard frogs had vanished from his native Long Island. For two years, Feinberg spent countless hours in southern New Jersey, where southern leopard frogs thrive. He knew their mating call by heart.

    One day he learned there might be a surviving leopard frog population on New York City’s Staten Island. Those frogs would be more genetically and geographically relevant, so one evening in 2008 he visited the Staten Island site.

    “Within five or 10 seconds of getting out of my car, I heard a vast chorus of leopard frogs from this big, wet meadow,” he says. “The problem was: The call I was hearing was not the southern leopard frog call. Nor was it a northern leopard frog call. It was a call that I had never heard in my life.”

    But, because he was a field herpetologist inexperienced in genetics and taxonomy, he feared no one would believe that he might have found something unusual. He needed help. A series of fortuitous events brought it to him.

    In 2009, Feinberg stumbled on a YouTube video that had been shot two years earlier at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, 25 miles west of Manhattan. He contacted the poster, Brian Zarate, an amphibian-reptile zoologist with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. “Pretty quickly, I said to Brian, I think it’s a new species,” Feinberg recalls.

    In 2010, Catherine Newman, then a University of Alabama graduate student, agreed to run the genetics. “She started to see things in the tissues and DNA sequences that made her interested,” says Feinberg. A year later, Newman told Feinberg that her molecular evidence strongly supported his hunch.

    In all, nine researchers contributed to the project. In 2012, Newman, Feinberg and others authored an initial article in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution suggesting a new species had been discovered. But it needed to be formally described. Describing the new species involved three lines of evidence.

    One line was molecular – showing it was a genetically distinct species. Many tissue samples for that work, which was largely covered in the 2012 paper, were gathered at Great Swamp Refuge. The second line of evidence was bio-acoustical – comparing mating calls of the new species to other known species. Feinberg used the call to identify the new frog at, among other places, Wallkill River Refuge on the New Jersey/New York border. “It was crystal clear that they were everywhere, a massive population,” he says. “I think, to date, Wallkill has the most impressive chorus I’ve ever heard.”

    The third line of evidence was morphology – physical characteristics and shape. The new species is a cryptic species (basically, a look-a-like). Still, there are differences. The Atlantic Coast leopard frog has a smaller, fainter white spot on its eardrum than the southern leopard frog does, and a wider body and stouter head, too.

    Feinberg credits refuge biologist Colin Osborn, Great Swamp Refuge deputy manager Steve Henry and Wallkill River Refuge manager Mike Horne with wonderful cooperation. For Feinberg, the discovery’s locale makes it extra-special: 

    “As a guy who grew up in New York reading about the new Florida this species or the California that species, I always said, ‘Boy, how come there’s nothing ever from New York?’ So to be able to find a frog not only in the U.S. but to formally describe it from New York, and not just from New York, but in the five boroughs of New York City, was a real treat.” 

    CAPTION: With the help of several collaborators and two national wildlife refuges, Jeremy Feinberg discovered this new frog species – the Atlantic Coast leopard frog – in New York City. (Jeremy Feinberg)

    For more stories like this, visit:

  • 07 Apr 2015 9:00 AM | Anonymous
    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service News

    Two Programs Epitomize the Concept of Working Beyond the Borders of National Wildlife Refuges

    Two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs -- the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and the Coastal Program -- exemplify the concept of working beyond the boundaries of national wildlife refuges, joining partners to conserve and restore ecosystems on a landscape scale. Working with more than 45,000 private landowners and 3,000 conservation partners since its founding 1987, the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program has restored more than a million acres of wetland habitat; 3 million acres of upland habitat and 11,000 miles of streams on private lands, a lot of it near and in conjunction with refuges. 

    “We have 225 Partners staff biologists in the field all over the country, and they’re in their trucks with shovels and leaning across fences with farmers and ranchers every day” helping to repair wetlands and streams, remove fish barriers, aid fish passage and even set up grazing systems, says John Schmerfeld, chief of the Refuge System Branch of Habitat Restoration. “It’s really an amazing program that has had incredible conservation success over the past 28 years.” 

    Coastal Program staff members in 24 priority coastal areas develop long-term partnerships on both private and public property to deliver landscape-scale conservation. Through the Coastal Program, the Service has restored approximately 517,670 acres of wetland and upland habitat, more than 2,220 miles of stream habitat, and helped permanently protect 2,079,655 acres since 1985. In 2014, the Service leveraged $22 for every $1 the Coastal Program project spent. 

    “The Refuge System is heavily invested in coastal areas,” says Schmerfeld. “They are superimportant both for the human element and for wildlife.” He cites two facts: More than 170 refuges are coastal; and while coastal counties make up only 10 percent of the lower 48 states’ land mass, they are home to more than half of the states’ population. 

    Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program 

    The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, established in 1987, is a diversified habitat restoration program that provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and tribes who are willing to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners to help meet the habitat needs of federal trust fish, wildlife and plant species. Locally-based field biologists work one-on-one with private landowners to plan, implement and monitor projects. This level of personal attention and follow-through is a significant strength of the program. More about the program:  

    Coastal Program

    The Coastal Program is one of the Service’s most effective tools for delivering fish and wildlife habitat restoration and protection on public and privately owned lands. Coastal Program staff members are located in 24 priority coastal areas, including the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes and Caribbean. These locally-based personnel know the community, its natural resources, environmental challenges, potential partners and political and economic issues. This knowledge enables the Service to develop long-term partnerships to deliver strategic habitat conservation. More about Coastal program: 

    For more stories like this, visit:

  • 16 Mar 2015 12:00 PM | Anonymous
    Friends of Anahuac Refuge
    Mini Gator Tales
    March 2015

    Volunteer Workday

    Saturday, March 28, 9am-noon, meet near the VIS

    Volunteers planting trees along Willows Trail

    A volunteer workday is scheduled for Saturday, March 28. Volunteers will be helping doing some landscaping and "spring cleaning" around the Butterfly Garden and VIS. Lunch will be provided to all volunteers. Click here for more details and RSVP information. 

    Nature and Bird Walks in March at Anahuac NWR

    Fridays in March

    10am at Shoveler Pond on the Refuge

    2pm at the Lake Anahuac Boardwalk behind the Visitor Center

    Lake Anahuac boardwalk

    Visit the Refuge on Fridays in March for guided walks at Shoveler Pond and the Lake Anahuac Boardwalk. The Shoveler Pond walk/bird viewing will take place at the Shoveler Pond boardwalk at 10am. The walk along the Lake Anahuac Boardwalk will begin at 2pm from the Visitor Center.

    FOAR Member Appreciation Event

    Saturday, April 18, 2015, 2pm - 8pm

    FOAR will be hosting an appreciation/mixer event on Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 2pm-8pm. It is to show our gratitude for your support and a chance for you to meet other members, the FOAR board, and refuge staff. The event is BYOB, but refreshments will be provided. Visit the event page for more details. Make plans to attend!

    Click here for event details. 

    Spring Newsletter Coming Soon

    Watch for our full Gator Tales newsletter in your inbox or mailbox!

    Check out previous issues here. 

    Spring Rail Walks Scheduled in April

    King/Clapper Rail hybrid at Anahuac NWR, Norman Welsh

    Spring Rail walks at Anahuac NWR are scheduled in April. Participants could see or hear as many as SIX different species of rail during a walk including King, Clapper, Virginia, Yellow, Sora, and the elusive Black Rail. Meet at the VIS at 7am the day of the walk for a briefing to arrange carpools to drive to the walk location on the refuge.

    Check out our Rail Walks page for more details.

    Saturday, April 11 at 7am 

    Saturday, April 25 at 7am  

    National Wildlife Refuge System News

    Campaign to Save Beleaguered Monarch Butterfly

    Monarch butterflies at Anahuac NWR, Joe Blackburn

    The USFWS is addressing the drastically dwindling numbers of monarch butterflies. Their numbers have been cut by 90% in recent years due to loss of habitat across the country. Read how the issue is being addressed at refuges across the country, including Anahuac NWR. Click here for the article.

    Buy a book about the support the refuge!

    The 50th anniversary books are for sale at the Visitor Center and the Visitor Information Station as well as online. The book tells the story of the Anahuac NWR's 50th year through photographs and essays from volunteers. Visit the book project page.

    Don't forget to renew your membership!

    Renew online via PayPal or by check in the mail. When renewing, we also encourage you to receive our full quarterly Gator Tales newsletter electronically. It saves trees, saves us printing costs, and gets you access to more content. Click here to join or renew.

  • 14 Mar 2015 12:30 PM | Anonymous
     U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service News

    Campaign to Save Beleaguered Monarch Butterfly

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service launched a major campaign aimed at saving the declining monarch butterfly.

    The Service signed a cooperative agreement with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), announced a major new funding initiative with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and pledged $2 million in immediate funding for on-the-ground conservation projects around the country.

    Introducing the new initiatives at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. were Service Director Dan Ashe, U.S. Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar, NWF President and CEO Collin O’Mara, and NFWF representatives.

    Monarchs are found across the United States. While they numbered some 1 billion in 1996, their numbers have declined by approximately 90 percent in recent years. The decline is the result of numerous threats, particularly loss of habitat due to agricultural practices, development and cropland conversion. Degradation of wintering habitat in Mexico and California has also had a negative impact on the species.

    “We can save the monarch butterfly in North America, but only if we act quickly and together,” said Ashe. “And that is why we are excited to be working with the National Wildlife Federation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to engage Americans everywhere, from schools and community groups to corporations and governments, in protecting and restoring habitat. Together we can create oases for monarchs in communities across the country.”

    The memorandum of understanding between NWF and the Service will serve as a catalyst for national collaboration on monarch conservation, particularly in planting native milkweed and nectar plants, the primary food sources in breeding and migration habitats for the butterfly.

    The new NFWF Monarch Conservation Fund was kick-started by an injection of $1.2 million from the Service that will be matched by private and public donors. The fund will provide the first dedicated source of funding for projects working to conserve monarchs.

    From California to the Corn Belt, the Service will also fund numerous conservation projects totaling $2 million this year to restore and enhance more than 200,000 acres of habitat for monarchs while also supporting more than 750 schoolyard habitats and pollinator gardens. Many of the projects will focus on the I-35 corridor from Texas to Minnesota, areas that provide important spring and summer breeding habitats in the eastern population’s central flyway.

    The monarch may be the best-known butterfly species in the United States. Every year they undertake one of the world’s most remarkable migrations, traveling thousands of miles over many generations from Mexico, across the United States, to Canada.

    The monarch’s exclusive larval host plant and a critical food source is native milkweed, which has been eradicated or severely degraded in many areas across the U.S. The accelerated conversion of the continent’s native short and tallgrass prairie habitat to crop production has also had an adverse impact on the monarch.

    The monarch serves as an indicator of the health of pollinators across the American landscape. Conserving and connecting habitat for monarchs will benefit other plants, animals and important insect and avian pollinators.

    A new Web site -- -- provides information on how Americans can get involved with the campaign. 

    Image: Monarch butterflies at Anahuac NWR, photo by Joe Blackburn

    For more stories like this, visit

  • 17 Feb 2015 9:00 AM | Anonymous

     U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service News

    Fostering a New Generation Of Outdoor Enthusiasts

    The newest Conserving the Future implementation team – the Outdoor Recreation Team – is developing a strategy to expand outdoor recreation on national wildlife refuges to fulfill Recommendation 18 ( The goal is to create a Refuge System recreation program that is relevant and accessible to all Americans in order to create a connected conservation constituency. 

    The team is chaired by Marcia Pradines, chief of the Division of Visitor Services and Communications; Will Meeks, assistant regional director for refuges in the Mountain-Prairie Region; and Charlie Blair, assistant regional director for refuges in the Midwest Region.

    “The Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Recreation Team did a terrific job writing a strategic plan that will advance hunting and fishing on national wildlife refuges,” said Pradines. “This new team will focus on recreation that is both compatible to the wildlife conservation mission of refuges but also more accessible to ‘nature novices.’ This team is considering how to invite them to enjoy and care about wildlife, and help them become comfortable enjoying the great outdoors.” 

    The Outdoor Recreation Team is assembling four sub-teams, working to prepare draft products as early as July. The sub-teams are: 

    1. Recreation Access: The team will look at improving signs along highways and at other places that inform visitors and also research how transportation affects access. The team will consider how to streamline national guidance on accessibility, and calculate what it will cost in infrastructure investments to provide better access. 
    2. Appropriate Refuge Uses: The team will develop additional appropriate uses guidance to focus on activities that attract new and diverse audiences and encourage partnerships with communities. New guidance would not compromise the standard that all recreation must be compatible with a refuge’s conservation mission. 
    3. Wildlife Observation/Photography: In an era when so many people have great cameras in their smartphones, the team is seeking to establish a photography initiative. The team will expand online resources – and develop training and mentoring opportunities for refuge staff and volunteers – in an effort to provide the Refuge System’s photography offerings to a broader cross-section of the public.  
    4. Other Recreation: Going beyond the “Big Six” – hunting, fishing, wildlife photography, wildlife observation, interpretation and environmental education – the team will, among other tasks, assemble examples of the kind of expansive recreation offered on some wildlife refuges. It also will ensure that at least one outdoor skills center will be launched to help foster a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts. 
    The concept of outdoor skills centers came from the Conserving the Future Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Recreation team, which last year issued its strategy ( It called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to undertake steps to increase quality hunting and fishing opportunities. The team also recommended greater collaboration with state agencies in hunting and fishing programs; development of guidance for continuation of fish stocking programs and consideration of new stocking programs; and mentoring of a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts, among other steps.

    The new Outdoor Recreation Team expects complete its work in about two years.

    For more stories like this visit:

  • 17 Feb 2015 7:49 AM | Anonymous
     U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service News

    Obama Administration Moves to Protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Recommends Largest Ever Wilderness Designation

    President Obama’s Administration moved to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, widely considered one of the most spectacular and remote areas in the world. 

    The Department of the Interior released a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the refuge, which recommends additional protections, and President Obama announced he will make an official recommendation to Congress to designate core areas of the refuge – including its Coastal Plain – as wilderness, the highest level of protection available to public lands. If Congress chooses to act, it would be the largest ever wilderness designation since Congress passed the Wilderness Act more than 50 years ago. 

    “Designating vast areas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as Wilderness reflects the significance this landscape holds for America and its wildlife,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “Just like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of our nation’s crown jewels and we have an obligation to preserve this spectacular place for generations to come.” 

    Based on the best available science and extensive public comment, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s preferred alternative in the CCP recommends 12.28 million acres – including the Coastal Plain – for designation as wilderness. The Service also recommends four rivers – the Atigun, Hulahula, Kongakut, and Marsh Fork Canning – for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. 

    Currently, more than 7 million acres of the refuge are managed as wilderness, consistent with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980. Only Congress has the authority to designate Wilderness areas and Wild and Scenic Rivers. Recommendations for Wilderness or Wild and Scenic River designations require approval of the Service Director, Secretary of the Interior and the President. 

    The Service is not seeking further public comment on the revised CCP/EIS, but it will be available to the public for review for 30 days, after which, the record of decision will be published. At that point, the President will make the formal wilderness recommendation to Congress. 

    The 19.8 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to the most diverse wildlife in the arctic, including caribou, polar bears, gray wolves, and muskoxen. More than 200 species of birds, 37 land mammal species, eight marine mammal species and 42 species of fish call the vast refuge home. Lagoons, beaches, saltmarshes, tundra and forests make up the remote and undisturbed wild area that spans five distinct ecological regions. 

    For information about the CCP:

    For more stories like this visit:

  • 16 Feb 2015 9:02 AM | Anonymous
    Friends of Anahuac Refuge
    Mini Gator Tales
    February 2015

    Volunteer Workday

    Saturday, February 28, 9am-noon, meet near the VIS

    A volunteer workday has been scheduled for Saturday, February 28. Volunteers will be helping build bird perches to be used in the Rookery at the Skillern Tract and also doing some landscape work in and around the Butterfly Garden. Lunch will be provided to all volunteers. The Butterfly Garden is one of the first places refuge visitors see and home to native plant species on the refuge, so keeping it clean is important! Click here for more event information and to register.

    A second volunteer workday has been scheduled for Saturday, March 28. Another announcement will be sent before the event.

    Audubon Texas / FOAR Monthly Bird Survey

    Saturday, March 7, 9am-noon, meet near the VIS

    Black-bellied Plover photo taken by Colin Shields at Anahuac NWR

    The next monthly bird survey hosted by Audubon Texas and the Friends will take place on Saturday, March 7. Attendees will be helping count birds and record information to be used by refuge staff and Audubon Texas. No experience necessary. Click here for more information and to register.

    Save the Date!

    **FOAR Member Appreciation Event**

    Saturday, March 21, 2015

    FOAR will be hosting a members only event in March. It is a thank you to all of our generous members. More details will be sent out and posted soon on our website. We hope you can make it!
    Support FOAR through AmazonSmile

    When you link to Amazon through our website, FOAR receives a donation from your purchase. Start shopping here! (or click on button on left side of window)

    National Wildlife Refuge System News

    Budget Increased Proposed for USFWS in 2016

    USFWS staff leading environmental education at Anahuac NWR; USFWS

    Big news from the White House this month as the President has proposed a significant budget increase of more than $100 million for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2016.

    Check out the details here

    Buy a Book About the Refuge...
    to Support the Refuge!
    The 50th anniversary books are for sale at the Visitor Center and Visitor Information Station as well as online on our book project page. The book tells the story of the Anahuac NWR's 50th year through photographs and writing all done by volunteers. Profits from book sales go back to the Friends to pay for refuge projects.
    Don't Forget to Renew Your Membership!
    Don't forget to renew your membership online via PayPal or by check in the mail. When renewing, we also encourage you to receive our full quarterly newsletter, Gator Tales, electronically. It saves trees, saves us printing costs, and gets you access to more content.

  • 06 Feb 2015 5:00 PM | Anonymous
     U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service News

    President Requests $1.6 Billion in Fiscal Year 2016 for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 discretionary budget request supports $1.6 billion in programs for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an increase of $135.7 million over the 2015 enacted level.

    “Investing in the conservation of our wildlife and habitat resources results in myriad health and economic benefits to U.S. communities,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Investing in the next American generation is also critical, so we are creating new ways to engage young audiences in outdoor experiences, both on wildlife refuges and partner lands. With 80 percent of the U.S. population currently residing in urban communities, helping urban dwellers to rediscover the outdoors is a priority for the Service.”

    This budget invests in the science-based conservation and restoration of land, water and native species on a landscape scale, considering the impacts of a changing climate; expansion and improvement of recreational opportunities — such as hunting, fishing and wildlife watching — for all Americans, including urban populations; increased efforts to combat illegal wildlife trafficking, which is an international crisis; and the operation and maintenance of public lands.

    America’s Great Outdoors – This initiative, a Service priority, seeks to empower all Americans to share the benefits of the outdoors, and leave a healthy, vibrant outdoor legacy for generations to come. In 2016, a total of $1.5 billion in current funding is proposed for the Service as part of the Administration’s initiative to reconnect Americans to the outdoors while developing a landscape level understanding of a changing climate. This includes $1.3 billion for Service operations, an increase of $119.2 million over the 2015 enacted level.

    A critical component of America’s Great Outdoors is the National Wildlife Refuge System. Funding for the operation and maintenance of the Refuge System is requested at $508.2 million, an increase of $34 million above the 2015 enacted level. Included in that increase is an additional $5 million for the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program, which will extend opportunities to engage more urban youth and adults.

    The budget also requests $108.3 million for grant programs administered by the Service that support America’s Great Outdoors goals. Programs such as the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants are an important source of funds for the conservation and improvement of a range of wildlife and the landscapes on which they depend.

    Land Acquisition – The 2016 Federal Land Acquisition program builds on efforts started in 2011 to strategically invest in the highest priority conservation areas through better coordination among Department of the Interior agencies and the U.S. Forest Service. This budget includes $164.8 million for federal land acquisition, composed of $58.5 million in current funding and $106.3 million in proposed permanent funding. The budget provides an overall increase of $117.2 million above the 2015 enacted level. An emphasis on the use of these funds is to work with willing landowners to secure public access to places to recreate, hunt and fish.

    Cooperative Recovery – Species recovery is another important Service priority addressed in this budget. For 2016, the President requests a total of $10.7 million, an increase of $4.8 million over the enacted level, for cooperative recovery. The focus will be on implementing recovery actions for species nearing delisting or reclassification from endangered to threatened, and actions that are urgently needed for critically endangered species.

    Ecological Services – The budget includes $258.2 million to conserve, protect and enhance listed and at-risk wildlife and their habitats, an increase of $32.3 million compared with the 2015 enacted level. These increases include a $4 million program increase to support conservation of the sagebrush steppe ecosystem, which extends across 11 states in the intermountain West. Conservation of this vast area requires a collaborative effort unprecedented in geographic scope and magnitude. To achieve sustainable conservation success for this ecosystem, the Service has identified priority needs for basic scientific expertise, technical assistance for on-the-ground support, and internal and external coordination, and partnership building with western states, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and other partners.

    Additionally, the budget request contains a
    $4 million increase to ensure appropriate design and quick approval of important restoration projects that will be occurring in the Gulf of Mexico region in the near future. The Gulf of Mexico Watershed spans 31 states and is critical to the health and vitality of our nation’s natural and economic resources. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill dramatically increased the urgency of the Service’s work in the Gulf and our leadership responsibilities. Over the course of the next decade, billions of dollars in settlement funds, Clean Water Act penalties and Natural Resource Damage Assessment restitution will be directed toward projects to study and restore wildlife habitat in the Gulf of Mexico region. The Service is in high demand to provide technical assistance and environmental clearances for these projects, and this funding will ensure that this demand can be met.

    To learn more about the President’s FY 2016 budget request for the Department of the Interior, visit:

    Read more information from the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

    Photo courtesy of USFWS

    For more stories like this, visit

The Friends of Anahuac Refuge was established in 1997 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Anahuac, TX.

For questions, call the refuge office at 409-267-3337.


Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 1348

Anahuac, TX 77514

Refuge Office Address:

4017 FM 563, Anahuac, TX 77514

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