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Ellen Paul

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  1. I have received a request from Akbar Shah, a Pakistani Ph.D who has been studying tragopans. The Pakistani government offers a full-freight six-month post-doc fellowship. He has contacted the very few who have published on tragopans and is hoping there might be someone else who is interested in having him in his lab. The fellowship pays his airfare, lodging, and something called "bench fees." It has to be at one of the top 200 universities as per this ranking: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2018/world-ranking#!/page/0/length/25/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats If you are interested in having Dr. Shah working in your lab for six months, please contact him directly. His e-mail address is wildlifeswat@gmail.com I have attached his CV. AkbarShahCV-2.pdf
  2. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. August 9: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/401163-fws-head-associated-with-endangered-species-act-rollbacks-departing Greg Sheehan, the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is stepping down from his post, the Interior Department confirmed to The Hill Thursday. [NOTE: Sheehan was never actually the chief of the USFWS. He was appointed as an "acting" and when his term as "acting" exceeded legal limits, the DOI re-named the slot "Principal Deputy Director. The USFWS could not name him to the director's position because the law provides that, "No individual may be appointed as the Director unless he is, by reason of scientific education and experience, knowledgeable in the principles of fisheries and wildlife management." Sheehan earned a bachelor’s degree at Utah State University and later received an MBA.] "Greg Sheehan has been an incredible asset to the Interior team and was tremendous in helping Secretary Zinke expand access for hunting and fishing on over a quarter million acres of public lands across the country. We will miss working with him and wish him and his family nothing but the best," Interior Spokeswoman Heather Swift said in a statement. In an all employee email Sheehan sent to staff Thursday evening, he referenced family time as the impetus behind his stepping down. He plans to move back to Utah. "I have been away from my family for quite some time now, and while they have been patient and understanding, it is time that I rejoin them," he wrote. He acknowledged that he will not be serving his full term, as he originally promised Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. In the letter he cited a number of achievements he accomplished while at the agency, including "opening more than 380,000 acres of our Refuge System to new hunting, fishing, and other recreational uses." Sheehan additionally mentioned his close relationship with Zinke saying that he was "constantly under the gun in the media." I can tell you from experience that he genuinely cares about our public lands and their responsible and sustainable use by all. I have spent time over dinner or driving remote roads with the Secretary, and I honestly believe that your thoughts and ideas of conservation stewardship align more closely with him than you may know," Sheehan told FWS staff. Since starting at FWS last June, Sheehan has largely been regarded as a driving force behind some of the service's more controversial decisions. A member of the Safari Club, Sheehan was a key figure in the Trump administration's push last fall to overturn an Obama-era ban on elephant trophy imports from a number of African nations. Sheehan first made the announcement that FWS was releasing a finding to overturn the ban at a Safari Club event in Tanzania last November. Following public outrage and a few tweets from President Trump promising to put a halt on the decision, the administration later announced it would allow imports in on a "case by case" basis. In February Sheehan attended the Safari Club's annual conference in Las Vegas on behalf of the administration. Sheehan was also influential in implementing a number of agency-wide reforms to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act. In July he helped the agency roll-out a number of new proposals that could ultimately weaken ESA species protections. On a call with stakeholders, Sheehan--the former head of Utah’s wildlife agency-- said the changes would help the agency meet the ESA's main goal of “species recovery,” so that animals and plants could more easily be removed from endangered and threatened species lists. As Acting Administrator of FWS, Sheehan never went through the official confirmation process, an issue addressed by a number of environmental groups. At least one environmental group praised the news that Sheehan was leaving. "Sheehan’s departure is welcome news for America’s wildlife. In just one year in office, he inflicted incredible harm on imperiled animals by consistently putting special interests ahead of science and the environment," Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement. "His actions derailed the recovery of countless endangered species, gutted protections for billions of migratory birds and wreaked havoc on our natural heritage.”
  3. Ever wonder just what the Ornithological Council does for you and for your societies? The Ornithological Council is a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. Here's the run-down for June-July 2018. Prior newsBRIEFS can be found on BIRDNET, the Ornithological Council's website. In this time period, the Ornithological Council: 1. Submitted a second set of comments to the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare of the National Institutes of Health pertaining to the potential reform of animal welfare laws, as mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act. These comments focused on specific changes that the animal welfare agencies (OLAW and the Animal Care program of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) are considering. As before, the OC focused on burdens to the researcher (as opposed to the institution) and the use of these policies to better animal welfare. The OC comments supported the idea of continuing review using risk-based methodology (a logical extension of the standard operating procedure concept); harmonizing guidance issued by the two agencies; streamlining the guidance; refraining from regulating via guidance (which actually violates the law!); expanding the scope of guidance documents to include the taxon-based materials such as Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research: much more extensive opportunity for stakeholder input into guidance documents. 2. Pursued discussion with the USFWS Division of Migratory Bird Management about many long-standing permit policy and procedures problems. Met with Eric Kershner (Branch Chief for the Branch of Conservation, Permits, and Policy) and Ken Richkus (Deputy Division Chief and Acting Division Chief since Brad Bortner retired). For the first time in many years, we are hopeful that our persistent efforts are about to bear fruit! Key among these changes underway: an upcoming online permit application and reporting system (!) that may be completed as soon as February 2019, extending permit duration, and completing long-pending standard operating procedure manuals and the scientific collecting policy (which has been in draft since 1995). 3. Met with Aurelia Skipwith, the Department of the Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary (and acting Assistant Secretary) for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to urge DOI support for the efforts of the USFWS Division of Migratory Bird Management, including funding for the online permit application and reporting system, staffing, and efforts to reform and streamline permit procedures. During that meeting, OC also informed Ms. Skipwith of the decades of effort by OC and others to reach an agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) regarding the ownership of specimens collected on NPS land. This problem was on the brink of resolution via a "permanent custody" agreement. The NPS was planning a press conference and a pilot project comprising five museums but then suddenly and without explanation reversed course and and left things to stand in the same unsatisfactory situation that had been problematic for biology collections for at least 30 years. At the same time, the OC asked Ms. Skipwith to look into the petition filed by the OC in 2014 to suspend or revoke the CITES "validation" requirement, which has proved unworkable and has the potential to result in the loss of valuable imported research material. 4. Submitted a request to USDA regulatory reform initiative to increase import permit duration to three years. The only reason for the one-year duration is the need for the fees generated by import applications. The OC explained that extending the permit duration would decrease the agency workload and decrease burden on the stakeholders. 5. Spearheaded an effort to bring attention to serious resource limitations at the USGS Bird Banding Lab. The OC learned that there is a real possibility that the BBL will not have funding for its current data management software, much less funding for a much-needed upgrade. Loss of the data management system would almost certainly force a shut-down of the banding program, with dire consequences for ornithological research. The OC also learned that the BBL is in need of permission from the Department of the Interior to move forward to fill four approved positions. The OC shared this information with other organizations -including Ducks Unlimited, the Flyway Councils, the Wildlife Society, and bird observatories - and proposed a sign-on letter to Timothy Petty, Ph.D (DOI Assistant Secretary for Water and Science), but due to the urgency of the situation (department budgets will be submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Sept. 10), chose instead to send its own letter and encourage the other organizations to do likewise. To date, the Atlantic Flyway Council, twelve bird observatories, and one independent research institution have sent letters. The OC is attempting to arrange for an in-person meeting with Dr. Petty. 6. OC is working on a side-by-side-by-side analysis of the new California scientific collecting permit regulation, comparing it to the proposed regulation and with OC requests and suggestions (prepared with the input of numerous ornithologists and research organizations in California); fielded questions from ornithologists, submitted follow-up questions to the agency, and updated the California permits information on the BIRDNET permits page 7. Completed the year-end financial analysis and completed the annual 990 tax returns. 8. Worked with Jeff Stratford, the new chair of the conservation committee of the Wilson Ornithological Society, on options and strategies for that society's conservation efforts. 9. Attended the joint meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists and the Wilson Ornithological Society. 10. In anticipation of a resolution (or at least a temporary resolution) of the import problems resulting from the implementation of the "ACE" declaration system by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), OC has resumed efforts to update the import manual for scientific specimens and samples. In the meantime, OC has continued to act as a liaison between the research community and the CBP with regard to specific problems that occur. 11. Investigated a report by the Government Accountability Office pertaining to animal welfare regulations as those regulations pertain to federal agencies. The report is of concern because it addressed the issue of the "field studies" exemption and the long-pending regulations pertaining to birds. The GAO is one of the most highly respected of government agencies but they have no expertise in these issues and no understanding of how difficult, if not impossible, it would be to issue guidance on field studies. The Animal Care program of APHIS, which also lacks such expertise, seems to be continuing its efforts to do just that, and again, with essentially no input from experts. 12. Circulated the research papers by Joanne Paul-Murphy, Ph.D (supported by the American Ornithological Society) and Andy Engilis (published in the Condor) pertaining to rapid cardiac compression. We explained that these papers should suffice as "scientific justification" to approve a departure (for research funded by NIH, NSF, and certain other federal agencies) until the AVMA changes the classification (at that point, it would no longer be a departure) or, if the AVMA opts not to change the classification, then to continue approving departures.This information was sent to the IACUC-Administrator's listserve, the Scientists' Center for Animal Welfare, PRIM&R (a leading research ethics organization), AAAALAC International (a private accreditation organization), the Association of Avian Veterinarians, and the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians. Assistance with permits - assisted 10 individuals with permit issues. Names are provided in reports to society leadership.
  4. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. On 24 May 2018, the National Audubon Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and American Bird Conservancy filed suit against the Dept. of the Interior challenging as unlawful and arbitrary and capricious the December 22, 2017 Solicitor’s Memorandum M-37050, which was issued by the office of the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) and reverses Defendants DOI’s and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“FWS” or “Service”) longstanding interpretation and implementation of the Migratory BirdTreaty Act of 1918, 16 U.S.C. § 703(a) (“MBTA” or “Act”). A copy of the lawsuit is attached. STATUS: on 13 July 2018, the court held a pretrial conference. At that conference, the government was ordered to submit a brief on its motion to dismiss the litigation ( as described in the attached letter notifying the court that such motions would be filed) no later than 17 August 2018. The plaintiffs were ordered to submit their separate reply briefs by 17 October 2018 and their joint reply brief no later than 20 November 2018. In addition, there is an earlier-filed case brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Federation (Civil 1:18-cv-4596). The court has not yet consolidated the two cases but is likely to do so if the two cases survive the motion to dismiss. It is not known if the court will decide the motion on the briefs or if oral argument will be heard. IncidentalTakeComplaintMay18.pdf IncidentalTakeComplaintLetterResponse.pdf
  5. Chicago, IL: July 30, 2018—The American Ornithological Society seeks seeks a highly motivated individual with the talent and creativity to deliver the Society’s online communications and social media. The successful candidate will have experience in science writing and storytelling; online communication programs and services, including website development, social media, email communications; content management; and publicity. Strong science writing and marketing skills, proven interpersonal skills, and the desire to work in a mission-driven organization are highly desired. This is an outstanding opportunity for someone seeking to lead a communications program in a growing professional society. The Communications Specialist will also be at the front line of implementing the comprehensive communications strategy for the AOS. The Communications Specialist is a part-time position, up to 25 hours per week on average, through Dec 2018, and is expected to go to a full time position in 2019. Compensation: $2,150 per month, for an average of 25 hours per week through December 2018. Base salary range anticipated for the full time position is $42,000-$46,000, starting in 2019. The successful candidate is not required to be located in Chicago. The position begins as soon as the vacancy is filled. See the complete position description. The committee will begin reviewing applications and contacting applicants for interviews after 25 August 2018. To be considered, send an application in one file that includes a current C.V. and cover letter detailing your qualifications and interest in the position (no more than four pages combined) to jobs@americanornithology.org. Please direct any questions about the position to Crystal Ruiz, Director of Operations, at cruiz@americanornithology.org. About the American Ornithological Society The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is the largest international member-based society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. AOS publishes two international journals—The Auk: Ornithological Advances, and The Condor: Ornithological Applications, and the book series, Studies in Avian Biology. The Society’s Checklists serve as the accepted authority for scientific nomenclature and English names of birds in North, Middle, and South America. The AOS is also a partner in the online publication of The Birds of North America with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. For more information, see www.americanornithology.org. The AOS is an equal opportunity employer. We seek and welcome a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
  6. Chicago, IL: July 30, 2018—The American Ornithological Society seeks candidates for the editor-in-chief position for its journal, The Condor: Ornithological Applications. The new editor-in-chief will begin their term in 2019 when Phillip Stouffer, Ph.D, the current editor-in-chief of the journal, will step down after a distinguished 5-year term of service. The Condor is an international, peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research, syntheses, and assessments focusing on the application of scientific theory and methods to the conservation, management, and ecology of birds, and the application of ornithological knowledge to conservation and management policy and other issues of importance to the society. The journal holds an Impact Factor of 2.722, making it the top-ranked journal in the field of ornithology. The new EIC of The Condor will serve as the chief scientific authority responsible for the process and output of top quality peer reviewed articles in the journal. The EIC is responsible for assembling and overseeing a diverse editorial board; determining the scope and direction of the scientific content of the journal; overseeing manuscript submissions; ensuring that journal content is effectively and broadly disseminated; and aiding the society in developing new policies responsive to changing publishing needs. The EIC also attends annual AOS meetings and, as an ex officio member of the Elective Council, is responsible for representing and reporting on the publication program of the AOS. The ideal candidate for the editor-in-chief position should be an internationally recognized scientist whose reputation brings prestige and visibility to the journal. Candidates should have five or more years of cumulative hands-on editorial (associate editor or above) experience with international peer reviewed journals; a demonstrated ability to lead teams of fellow scientists; dedication to supporting individual diversity and inclusivity in our field; and a commitment to publishing and broadly disseminating our science. Excellent organizational and communication skills, strong professional ethics and a willingness to adapt to new techniques in scholarly publications are essential. The term of the initial appointment is one year with annual reappointment subject to AOS Council approval; the position includes an annual honorarium of $16,000 USD, and full financial support to attend the AOS Annual Meetings during their editorial term. See the complete position description. The AOS welcomes both direct applications and nominations for the position. Nominees will be contacted by the Chair of the Condor Editorial Search Committee. Interested candidates should submit, electronically, the following materials to the Editorial Search Committee aggregated in one file: cover letter describing their qualifications for the position, editorial experience and ability to meet the annual time demands of the position vision and goals to improve the reach, impact and visibility for The Condor curriculum vitae The committee will begin reviewing applications and contacting applicants for interviews after 4 September 2018. For questions about the Condor editor-in-chief position and to submit applications, please contact: Dr. Anna Chalfoun, Chair, The Condor Editorial Search Committee at jobs@americanornithology.org. About the American Ornithological Society The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is the largest international member-based society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. AOS publishes two international journals—The Auk: Ornithological Advances, and The Condor: Ornithological Applications, and the book series, Studies in Avian Biology. The Society’s Checklists serve as the accepted authority for scientific nomenclature and English names of birds in North, Middle, and South America. The AOS is also a partner in the online publication of The Birds of North America with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. For more information, see www.americanornithology.org. The AOS is an equal opportunity employer. We seek and welcome a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
  7. Ellen Paul

    New ornithology textbook!

    https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/ornithology And one of the authors is Melanie Colon, one of the OrnithologyExchange administrators!
  8. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. With the GOP in control of both the House and the Senate as well as the White House, it was inevitable that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) would come under attack. In recent years, sporadic attempts have been made by the GOP in Congress to weaken the ESA, including attacks on the scientific bases for decision-making. None of these bills succeeded. Now, since the November 2016 election, two dozen or more bills to gut or even revoke the ESA have been introduced. On 2 July 2018, John Barrasso, chair of the Senate committee on Environment and Public Works, released a draft discussion of a comprehensive bill that is likely to be the legislation that the GOP will try to enact. Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior has proposed a series of regulatory changes that would drastically reduce the ability of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect species under the current law. In other words, even if the legislative proposals fail, the regulatory changes would render the ESA ineffective in many regards.**The proposed rules are scheduled to be formally released for public comment on 25 July 2018.** Comments for each notice must be received within 60 days, by September 24, 2018. All comments will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means any personal information provided through the process will be posted. Update 7/25: the formal notices have now been posted. The links to regulations.gov are as follows: Listing habitat and designated critical habitat Changes to prohibited acts Interagency cooperation The specific changes proposed are as follows: 1. Listing and critical habitat designation (Note - everything in this section is prospective only). There are a number of specific sections that would change but this one is of particular concern: The USFWS is seeking public comment for additional potential changes to 50 CFR 424 (the joint USFWS and NOAA provisions for listing species and for designating critical habitat. "We seek public comments recommending, opposing, or providing feedback on specific changes to any provisions in part 424 of the regulations, including but not limited to revising or adopting as regulations existing practices or policies, or interpreting terms or phrases from the Act.In particular, we seek public comment on whether we should consider modifying the definitions of “geographical area occupied by the species” or “physical or biological features” in section 424.02. Based on comments received and on our experience in administering the Act, the final rule may include revisions to any provisions in part 424 that are a logical outgrowth of this proposed rule." a) The current regulation defines geographical area as "Geographical area occupied by the species. An area that may generally be delineated around species' occurrences, as determined by the Secretary (i.e., range). Such areas may include those areas used throughout all or part of the species' life cycle, even if not used on a regular basis (e.g., migratory corridors, seasonal habitats, and habitats used periodically, but not solely by vagrant individuals)." b) The USFWS proposes to remove the phrase, “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination [determination = listing, delisting, or reclassifying]. "In removing the phrase, the Services will continue to make determinations based solely on biological considerations. However, there may be circumstances where referencing economic, or other impacts may be informative to the public....While Congress precluded consideration of economic and other impacts from being the basis of a listing determination, it did not prohibit the presentation of such information to the public." 2. Changes to prohibited acts (new listings only) The ESA allows the USFWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to apply to threatened species the same protections from prohibited acts as those afforded to endangered species. The USFWS has done that but NMFS has not. NMFS applies the prohibited acts provision on a species-by-species basis. The proposed rule - which is prospective only - would do likewise. This would also apply to experimental populations. 3. Interagency cooperation This proposed change is prospective only. It pertains to the way agencies coordinate in the evaluation of activities that affect listed species. Specific changes: a) Adding the phrase “as a whole” to the definition of habitat modification or destruction. The USFWS explains that it intends to clearly indicate that the final destruction or adverse modification determination is made at the scale of the entire critical habitat designation. Smaller scales can be very important analysis tools in determining how the impacts may translate to the entire designated critical habitat, but the final determination is not made at the action area, critical habitat unit, or other less extensive scale. b) Deleting this sentence entirely. “Such alterations may include, but are not limited to, effects that preclude or significantly delay the development of the physical or biological features that support the life history needs of the species for recovery.” c) Definition of "effects of the action." The USFWS collapsed the various concepts of direct and indirect effects, and the effects of interrelated and interdependent actions into the new definition. It also limits the analysis to effects of the proposed action. Activities that might result from that proposed action (i.e., BLM building a dam is an action; thousands of people boating on the lake that forms is an activity) would be considered only if they would not occur but for the action and are reasonably certain to occur. d) Environmental baseline - The USFWS is considering this definition: "Environmental baseline is the state of the world absent the action under review and includes the past, present and ongoing impacts of all past and ongoing Federal, State, or private actions and other human activities in the action area, the anticipated impacts of all proposed Federal projects in the action area that have already undergone formal or early section 7 consultation, and the impact of State or private actions in the action area which are contemporaneous with the consultation in process. Ongoing means impacts or actions that would continue in the absence of the action under review.” e) The USFWS plans to formally recognize the concept of programmatic consultation. "They can be used to evaluate the effects of multiple actions anticipated within a particular geographic area; or to evaluate Federal agency programs that guide implementation of the agency’s future actions by establishing standards, guidelines, or governing criteria to which future actions will adhere. By consulting on the program, plan, policy, regulation, series, or suites of activities as a whole, the Services can reduce the number of single, project-by-project consultations, streamline theconsultation process, and increase predictability and consistency for action agencies." f) Eliminating the consultation requirement - in essence the USFWS proposes to allow other agencies to determine that the proposed action will: (1) not affect listed species or critical habitat; or (2) have effects that are manifested through global processes and (i) cannot be reliably predicted or measured at the scale of a listed species ’ current range, or (ii) would result at most in an extremely small and insignificant impact on a listed species or critical habitat, or (iii) are such that the potential risk of harm to a listed species or critical habitat is remote, or (3) result in effects to listed species or critical habitat that are either wholly beneficial or are not capable of being measured or detected in a manner that permits meaningful evaluation g) Establish a deadline for informal consultations - the USFWS and NMFS seem to be struggling to complete these consultations as quickly as some might like. h) Clarify in the regulations what is needed to initiate consultation. i) Clarify the analytical steps the Services undertake in formulating a biological opinion. These changes are intended to better reflect the Services’ approach to analyzing jeopardy and adverse modification as well as address revisions to the definition of “effects of the action.” In summary, these analytical steps are: (1) review all relevant information, (2) evaluate current status of the species and critical habitat and environmental baseline, (3) evaluate effects of the proposed action and cumulative effects, (4) add effects of the action and cumulative effects to the environmental baseline, and, in light of the status of the species and critical habitat , determine if the proposed action is likely to jeopardize listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. This would include any elements of the proposed action that would avoid, minimize, or offset effects of the proposed action, even if there are no “specific and binding plans,” “a clear, definite commitment ofresources”, or meet other such criteria. j) Biological opinion - would allow the USFWS to adopt information from the action agencies into the USFWS biological opinion. The USFWS proposes a collaborative process to facilitate the Federal agency’s development of an initiation package that could be used as all or part of the Service’s biological opinion. First, the Federal agency and the Service must mutually agree that the adoption process is appropriate for the proposed action. Subsequently, the Services and the Federal agency may develop coordination procedures that would facilitate adoption. This agreement must be explained in the Federal agency’s initiation package and acknowledged in the Services’ biological opinion. The purpose of the collaboration is to bring the information and expertise of both the Federal agency and the Service (and any applicant) into the resulting initiation package to facilitate a more efficient and effective consultation process. k) Expedited consultations - the USFWS proposes to add a new provision titled “Expedited consultations”at § 402.14(l) to offer opportunities to streamline consultation, particularly for actions that have minimal adverse effects or predictable effects based on previous consultation experience. This consultation process is proposed to provide an efficient means to complete formal consultation on projects ranging from those that have a minimal impact, to those projects with a potentially broad range of effects that are known and predictable, but that are unlikely to cause jeopardy or destruction oradverse modification. . .
  9. From Jared Wolfe: The calendar-based age classification system (widely used in North America) separates age classes based on hatch date relative to January 1st which, unfortunately, renders the system useless in tropical systems where breeding seasons often overlap January 1st. Based on relationships between molt extent and bird age, we developed a universal system of bird-age classification called the WRP system. To help ornithologists effectively use the WRP system in the field and museum, I created a tutorial with photographic examples that reflect the majority of molt patterns exhibited by resident Neotropical birds. I will be adding photographic examples from North American as well as representative birds from central and east Africa in the near future. Make sure that you are familiar with the WRP system before reviewing photographic examples.
  10. Ellen Paul

    Is the ESA doomed?

    This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including Ornithology Exchange and the Ornithological Council! Update 23 July 2018: As of 20 July, this legislation appears to still be in the "discussion draft" stage. The full draft and other information - such as a list of supporters - can be found here. A hearing was held before the full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on 20 July and at that time, the bill was still in draft and had not been introduced. The likelihood of this bill moving through the Senate before the midterm elections is fairly unlikely, even though the Senate will recess for only one week this year. The Senate will be in session for only 36 days prior to the midterm elections. The regulatory proposal from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced 19 July (though not yet formally published for public comment) is of at least as much concern, if not more so, as it is far more likely to become law and implemented. Please read the Ornithological Council analysis of this proposed regulatory change. This article was published in The Hill on Monday 2 July 2018. http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/395135-senate-gop-seeks-overhaul-of-endangered-species-act This is the "big comprehensive push" for "reform" that has been in the offing since the 115th Congress started. Many smaller bills (including some to repeal the ESA) have been proposed but the comprehensive legislation from committee chair Barrasso is the bill likely to move through Congress. Unless...November. Senate Republicans are embarking on an ambitious effort to overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Draft legislation due to be released Monday by Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) would give new powers and responsibilities for state officials to determine how animals and plants should be protected. The GOP contends that its goal is not to weaken protections, but to take advantage of the experience of state regulators. “When it comes to the Endangered Species Act, the status quo is not good enough,” Barrasso said in a statement to The Hill in advance of the unveiling. “We must do more than just keep listed species on life support — we need to see them recovered. This draft legislation will increase state and local input and improve transparency in the listing process.” Conservationists, however, say the new bill represents the most significant threat in years to the 44-year-old law, which has been credited with rescuing the bald eagle, gray wolf and grizzly bear from possible extinction. “It’s a bill which, on a broad basis, rewrites the ESA, with a whole host of consequences — as far as we can tell, almost entirely adverse consequences — for the protection of species,” said Bob Dreher, senior vice president for conservation programs at Defenders of Wildlife. Dreher and other critics fear the effort would tilt the balance too far toward industries while deemphasizing the role of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. “This is bill is all about politics. It’s not about science. It’s especially not about better ways to conserve endangered species,” he continued. “It’s a partisan bill.” The species act has sometimes restricted energy production or development to protect habitats, an irritant to many landowners and energy interests in the West, where governors are mostly Republican. Barrasso’s legislation is modeled after efforts the Western Governors Association, led by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R), has undertaken over the last three years to identify potential changes to the ESA, Republicans have long identified the ESA as a problematic law, arguing that it disrespects landowners and states while putting major, unnecessary burdens on industry. They also say it’s overwhelmingly ineffective. “States, counties, wildlife managers, home builders, construction companies, farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders are all making it clear that the Endangered Species Act is not working today," Barrasso said in a February 2017 hearing that marked the beginning of his reform efforts for the conservation law. “Of 1,652 species of animals and plants in the U.S. listed as either endangered or threatened since the law was passed in 1973, only 47 species have been delisted due to recovery of the species," he said. To conservationists, the law isn't perfect, but measuring its effectiveness solely by the number of species taken off the endangered or threatened lists undersells its successes. "The success of the act is only partly in keeping species alive. It’s more importantly, in the long run, a commitment to recover them and restore them to health in a healthy ecosystem," Dreher said. ESA's supporters credit it with bringing back from the brink species ranging from the bald eagle to the gray wolf and the grizzly bear. One of the biggest changes the legislation would make is to require that, for each species listed under the ESA, the team overseeing its recovery plan could not have more federal members than state and local representatives, who would be nominated by state governors. That team would have new mandates, including setting standards to judge the species’s recovery that could not be changed later without unanimous approval. The team would also have to give “great weight” in its deliberations to scientific data and findings provided by state, local or tribal governments, a standard that other science wouldn’t be subject to. Before any new species is listed for protection, states would get an opportunity to implement conservation programs to avoid a listing. The legislation would also prioritize federal resources toward the most at-risk species, and it would prohibit lawsuits against de-listing actions under a species’s recovery monitoring period concludes, a period that usually takes years. A senior GOP committee aide told The Hill the proposal “focuses on elevating the states’ role in implementation of the act, elevating its partnership to a more equal partnership with the federal government.” “It focuses on trying to increase transparency of the information and process with regard to implementation of the ESA, in order make sure decisions are as well-informed as they can be, to make sure that resources are utilized as well as they can be,” the aide said. Republicans on the Environmental panel say they want a final bill to be bipartisan, but Democrats are skeptical. “I believe the primary impediment to species recovery is lack of dedicated resources at both the state and federal level. While I’m still reviewing Sen. Barrasso’s proposed legislation, it does not appear to address this serious challenge,” Sen. Tom Carper (Del.), the panel’s top Democrat, said in a statement. “Beyond a funding solution, any proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act should be judged on the basis of whether or not they improve conservation outcomes and recover species. That is a hard conversation to have in a Congress that has put forth dozens of proposals to undermine this important law and with an administration that seems intent upon supporting such efforts.” Dreher said states already play a strong role, and giving them more power would be counterproductive. “They’ve never played a particularly strong role in conservation of endangered species. Most states, in fact, lack adequate authority to conserve endangered species,” he said. Barrasso plans to hold a hearing on the draft bill in the coming weeks.
  11. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including Ornithology Exchange and the Ornithological Council! Synopsis: The issuance of this new regulation concludes a process of regulatory change that spanned two years. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife offered several opportunities for public comment. After canvassing California ornithologists and banders, the Ornithological Council submitted comments prior to the drafting of the proposed regulation and again once the draft regulation was published for comment, Further analysis of the specifics of this final regulation will be provided in the next day or two. New Scientific Collecting Permit Regulations Effective October 1, 2018 Title 14, Sections 650 and 703, California Code of Regulations Information for existing and prospective permitholders On May 1, 2018, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the regulatory changes to Sections 650 and 703, Title 14, California Code of Regulations (CCR) (OAL regulatory file 2018-0320-05S) for Scientific Collecting Permits (SCPs). The new SCP regulations (including the new application structure and online submission format) will be effective on October 1, 2018. To help inform existing and prospective permitholders and other affected stakeholders, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) is addressing the following information on the new SCP regulations and transition to the new SCP online application portal: · How existing permits will be honored after the October 1, 2018 effective date of the new regulations; · How the new permit structure and other changes in new regulations compare to the existing regulations; and · General information about the new SCP online application portal. The Department’s SCP home page will serve as the primary online resource for information about implementation and, starting on October 1, 2018, will also provide access to the online application portal. Department staff will inform and educate affected stakeholders by posting outreach materials, guidance, and tools to this webpage throughout the summer of 2018. The Department has prepared a FAQ document (attached PDF, and will be posted to the SCP home page) to address common concerns that existing and prospective permitholders may have about the new regulations and online application portal. The Department highlights two immediate considerations for existing and prospective permitholders: 1. Phasing out of existing application forms. Any permit issued prior to October 1, 2018, or any issued permit that was applied for by September 30, 2018 using the existing hard copy forms will be valid until the expiration date listed on that permit. However, all new applications, amendments to existing permits and permit renewals requested on or after October 1, 2018 will require submission in the new SCP online application portal, and adherence to the new SCP regulations (refer to Title 14, Subsection 650(a)(7), CCR for more information). In an effort to promote a smooth transition into the new regulations, the Department will accept and process applications under the existing regulations and hard-copy forms through September 30, 2018. This will allow affected permitholders to continue their permitted activities without interruption in their scheduled field and/or laboratory activities, after the new regulations become effective October 1, 2018. Applications submitted via the new online application portal starting October 1, 2018 will be processed concurrently with applications on the existing hard copy forms submitted by September 30, 2018. If a permitholder anticipates needing to amend or renew their existing permit in the next three or so months, or throughout that permit’s term, it is in the permitholder’s best interest to wait, if practicable, until October 1, 2018 or later, to apply under the online application portal, for the following reasons: § Applications to amend or renew existing permits will not be accepted after September 30, 2018 in the existing hard copy process, under current regulations. An amendment to, or renewal of, an existing permit on and after October 1, 2018 will require the permitholder to apply (as a new applicant in accordance to the new permit and fee structure) in the online application portal. This way the permitholder pays just the new permit fees (Question 8 in the FAQs), rather than paying existing fees to amend or renew before September 30, 2018, in addition to paying new permit fees when coming in to use the new online application portal after October 1, 2018. § Once active, early use of the online application portal will also assist: · Department’s IT staff to identify and then work out any issues not identified during beta-testing. · Department review staff to process the queue of existing applications under the existing hard copy process. The Department highly recommends that a permitholder whose existing SCP does not expire until January 1, 2019 or later, wait to amend or renew an existing SCP under the new online application portal. This will help the Department process applications in the order received, and work with applicants to help maintain permit coverage for necessary periods of work (see also Question 6 of the FAQs). 2. Permit Fees. Currently, the non-refundable application fee is required when an application is submitted, and then the permit fee is requested separately when the permit is approved. Effective July 15, 2018, new applicants or renewing permitholders under the existing hard copy process will be required to submit at the same time both the application fee ($108.92, or $27.04 for students) and the permit fee ($324.75, or $54.59 for students) to the Department’s License and Revenue Branch (LRB) at the time of application submission. This will help the Department: o Finalize permits issued under the existing system sooner, to better facilitate a smooth transition to the new online application portal. o Phase out these older license items earlier; Department staff will not have to delay issuance while requesting permit fees upon permit approval (from applicants applying under the existing system between July 15 and September 30, 2018). o Encourage applicants to save a few dollars by avoiding the annual fee adjustments for any permits issued after December 31, 2018. Department license items are adjusted annually in January pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 713. Therefore, if the application is approved in early 2019, then the applicant would have to pay the higher, adjusted fee (up to a 3% increase). ************************************ Scientific Collecting Permits *** New Scientific Collecting Permit regulations (Title 14, Section 650) go into effect on Oct. 1, 2018. Please visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Scientific-Collecting for more information, and contact SCPermits@wildlife.ca.gov with any questions you might have.*** *************************************
  12. Available now. http://www.bioone.org/doi/pdf/10.1642/AUK-18-62.1 This is the 18th supplement since publication of the 7th edition of the Check-list of North American Birds (American Ornithologists’ Union [AOU] 1998). It summarizes decisions made between April 15, 2017, and April15, 2018, by the AOS’s Committee on Classification and Nomenclature—North and Middle America. The checklist is produced by the Committee on Classification and Nomenclature—North and Middle America of the American Ornithological Society.
  13. Ellen Paul

    Collections Manager

    University of Michigan Museum of Zoology has opened a search for a Collections Manager for the Bird Division. Janet Hinshaw will be retiring at the end of 2018, after an extraordinary 45 years of dedicated service in this position. Please forward this posting to any qualified candidates in your networks. The official job description and application is found here: http://careers.umich.edu/job_detail/157842/research_museum_collection_manager_-_bird_division Candidates with a PhD will have the opportunity for a partial (<10% effort) cross-appointment on the Research Scientist track in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Thus, this position is an exciting opportunity for a PhD scientist trained in specimen curation and specimen-based research and dedicated to the maintenance, growth, development and promotion of biodiversity collections. With over 215,000 bird specimens, the UMMZ contains one of the largest University-based bird collections in North America. It is now housed at the newly-opened Research Museums Center, which contains all UMMZ collections as well as those of the UM-Herbarium, Museum of Paleontology, and Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. The facility also houses a newly renovated cryogenic facility and BSL2 molecular research lab, in addition to ample laboratory spaces for collections-based research. Also note that UMMZ is concurrently running a separate search for a Collections Manager of Fishes. Please do not hesitate contact me with any questions, but applications must be submitted through the link I provide above. Best, Ben Winger ------------------------------ Ben Winger, PhD Assistant Curator of Birds, Museum of Zoology Assistant Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Assistant Professor, Program in the Environment University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA (734) 763-3379 wingerb@umich.edu www.wingerlab.org https://lsa.umich.edu/ummz
  14. Powdermill Nature Reserve will be holding an “Extraction/Banding” workshop in September 2018. Fall “Extraction/Banding” Workshop: Wednesday, September 19 through Sunday, September 23. The workshop will begin before dawn on Wednesday (9/19) and end Sunday (9/23) at noon. Participants will want to arrive Tuesday evening (9/18) prior to the workshop. The majority of time will be spent in the field with live birds, and these sessions will be complemented with afternoon presentations and discussions. This workshop is an excellent primer for NABC (North American Banding Council) Bander Certification as we will cover banding ethics, banding methodology, molt terminology, and use of the Pyle Guide. The focus of this workshop is on training participants to handle and extract birds from mist nets, and to band birds, but we’ll have discussions and practice ageing and sexing birds via plumage and molt limits, and will include discussions on molt terminology and how to decode the “Pyle Guide”. The cost is $750 per person and includes on site lodging (with kitchen) and breakfast. This workshop will be NABC-approved. To sign up please fill out the following Google Form: http://goo.gl/forms/kaQiLhs1aZ Annie Crary Banding Workshop Coordinator, NABC Trainer Powdermill Nature Reserve
  15. From AOS President Kathy Martin: It is my great pleasure to announce the appointment of Dr. Scott Sillett, Research Wildlife Biologist at Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, as the 19th Editor-in-Chief of our journal, The Auk: Ornithological Advances. Scott is an internationally recognized ornithologist widely known and respected for his many productive collaborations, interdisciplinary work, and pioneering research on the study of avian life cycles. Beginning early in his career, Scott served the Society and engaged in many of its important programs to advance our mission and inspire ornithologists. Scott earned his Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 2000 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S.G.S Patuxent Wildlife Research Center before joining the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in 2002. Dr. Sillett will take over the reins of the journal in August following a short period of overlap with retiring editor Mark Hauber. Scott intends to build on the momentum generated by Dr. Hauber’s outstanding leadership over the past five years, and will introduce new features to our publications program, including data archiving. He brings vision, energy, and a global perspective to leading the journal into the future. You can read more about Scott’s appointment here. Our two peer-reviewed journals, The Auk and The Condor, consistently rank among the highest impact factors among all the 24 ornithological journals worldwide. The journals publish conceptual discovery (The Auk) and applied (The Condor) ornithology, thus covering the spectrum of modern avian research advancing the fundamental scientific knowledge of broad biological and applied concepts through the study of birds. The editorial team delivers quality and excellence with each issue, their special collections, and related publications content. Click here to join the mailing list for the journals’ newsletter and content alerts. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Scott Sillett in his new appointment as Editor-in-Chief of The Auk: Ornithological Advances. Welcome aboard, Scott!! Sincerely, Kathy Martin President, AOS Follow AOS on Social Media! Stay Connected! AOS Website, AmericanOrnithology.org AOS News (sign up!) AOS History of Ornithology (sign up!) AOS Social Weekly Review (sign up!) AOS Publications Website, AmericanOrnithologyPubs.org Auk Twitter, @AukJournal (follow) Condor Twitter, @CondorJournal (follow) AOS Journals Blog (sign up!) AOS Journals Newsletter (sign up!)