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Ellen Paul

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  1. The joint conference between the Raptor Research Foundation and the Neotropical Raptor Network originally scheduled for October 2020 is now postponed to October 2021. RRF and our co-hosts at The Peregrine Fund carefully considered the health, financial, and logistical challenges of organizing and hosting a conference during the coronavirus pandemic. While October 2020 seems like a long time away, the planning for this meeting had a tight timeline to ensure we could host a large number of registrants from outside the United States. Many factors went into this decision including the unknown health risk for travelers this October, the ability for registrants to obtain visas while many U.S. embassies are closed, cancellation fees for venues and hotels, and concern over financial hardships that both domestic and international attendees would incur should we make the decision to cancel at a later date. Postponing the Boise conference also means we unfortunately will also cancel RRF’s participation in the Asian Raptor Research Conservation Network meeting in Malaysia in 2021. The RRF Board is examining other opportunities to meet jointly with ARRCN in the future. We have suspended conference registration and abstract submission along with conference-related awards and grants. The Local Conference Committee will soon be updating the RRF website to reflect the new 2021 conference schedule. Those who have already registered will receive a full refund in the coming weeks. Applicants for the Wings to Fly Travel Award will be contacted separately with additional information. Questions about the Boise conference can be sent to RRF2020@peregrinefund.org. The RRF Board is also considering ways to offer other professional development opportunities to RRF members in 2020 in-lieu of a physical conference. If you have ideas for the planning committee please email president@raptorresearchfoundation.org. We appreciate your support in making this difficult decision for our raptor community. Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you in Boise next year! Sincerely, Raptor Research Foundation & The Peregrine Fund
  2. The comments (attached here) filed by the Ornithological Council pertain to the NEPA Scoping notice and not the actual proposed regulation. That proposed regulation comprises policy only; it does not entail any scientific information or analysis. As an organization representing scientific societies, the Ornithological Council focuses on the scientific components of matters involving government or private decisions that affect wild birds. Therefore, the Ornithological Council opted instead to comment on the environmental analysis mandated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The "scoping notice" is a request by the agency to the public to identify issues that should be covered. The comments submitted by the Ornithological Council elucidate the scientific basis for an objection to the adequacy of the environmental assessment. The Ornithological Council, as a consortium of scientific societies, can explain how impacts on wild populations are assessed.When the inevitable lawsuit(s) challenging the adequacy of the environmental impact statement done by the USFWS are filed, any judge should be able to use these comments as a blueprint to determine if the environmental impact statement was adequate. As should be evident from the text of the comments, it is virtually impossible to make an adequate assessment of the impacts because for many species, the data simply don't exist or are insufficient. If a court determines that the environmental impact statement is inadequate, the agency must re-do the assessment, which, in this case, could easily take years. Background: What is a NEPA scoping notice and why does it matter? NEPA - the National Environmental Policy Act - requires agencies to assess the impact of their proposed decisions and actions. They don't actually have to DO anything different as a result of the analysis. It is often called a toothless law for that reason. But the hope was that formally assessing the potential impacts and considering the alternatives (required only if it is determined that there is likely to be a significant impact) would cause agencies to avoid really bad decisions and do what they could to mitigate. And that NEPA process starts with what is called a SCOPING NOTICE. The agency goes out to the public and asks "what should we consider in making this assessment?" OCComments-MBTA-IT-NEPAScoping-2020-Submitted.pdf
  3. The Ornithological Council is one of several organizations that has been consulting to the designers/programmers contracted by APHIS Veterinary Services to design a new online permit system. It is called the VS Permitting Assistant. It is not in and of itself the permit application system, which is known as e-permits. It is a guidance system to help you identify if you need a permit and if so, which permit. You would then go to the existing e-permits system to apply. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM USING IT AT THIS TIME. The Ornithological Council has reviewed it and it is faulty in myriad ways, the most serious of these being that it tells you that you don't need a permit - when, in fact, you absolutely, positively need a permit. The Ornithological Council is communicating with NIES on an urgent basis because if you use this thing now, you are going to get inaccurate results and if you rely on those results, you will show up at the border without the required permits. If you need help with import permits and the increasingly complex import process - for any agency, be it USFWS, APHIS, CDC, and CBP - please contact the Ornithological Council for assistance.
  4. COVID-19 Statement Organizers of NAOC 2020 continue to monitor developments related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) outbreak and potential impact on global travel to Puerto Rico. We are tracking information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization to guide our action, as well as the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Decisions about the conference will be based on the recommendations of these organizations and will be made in partnership with the societies participating in NAOC. At this time, our hope is that the meeting will not be disrupted, but we are considering multiple alternative options depending on how events unfold over the next few months and we will keep you updated as we learn more. Ultimately, the health and safety of our attendees, staff, vendors, and the people of Puerto Rico are our foremost concern. We encourage registrants to bookmark this page to check for any status changes in advance of the conference. Anyone wishing to cancel their registration may request a full refund. Submit refund requests via this Google form. Please allow up to two weeks for your refund request to be processed. Los organizadores de NAOC 2020 siguen vigilando los acontecimientos relacionados con el brote de COVID-19 (enfermedad coronavirus) y su posible impacto en los viajes mundiales a Puerto Rico. Estamos siguiendo la información proporcionada por los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades y la Organización Mundial de la Salud para orientar nuestra acción, así como la Fundación de Enfermedades Infecciosas. Las decisiones sobre la conferencia se basarán en las recomendaciones de estas organizaciones y se hará en asociación con las sociedades que participan en la NAOC. En este momento, nuestra esperanza es que la reunión no se verá impactada pero estamos considerando múltiples opciones alternativas dependiendo de cómo se desarrollen los acontecimientos en los próximos meses y les mantendremos informados a medida que sepamos más. En última instancia, la salud y la seguridad de nuestros asistentes, personal, proveedores y el pueblo de Puerto Rico son nuestra principal preocupación. Recomendamos a los inscriptos a que marquen esta página para comprobar cualquier cambio de estado antes de la conferencia. Cualquier persona que desee cancelar su inscripción puede solicitar un reembolso completo. Envíe las solicitudes de reembolso a través de este formulario de Google. Por favor, espere hasta dos semanas para que su solicitud de reembolso sea procesada. https://naocbirds.org/covid-19-statement/
  5. Colin Pennycuick, who has died aged 86, was the pre-eminent researcher in animal flight over the last century. He focused on the flight of bats and birds (and their possible ancestors), and asked the question: how do they work? To answer this deceptively simple question he brought to bear a mix of sharp logic and original and practical invention. Though he sought to ground his work in the rigorous application of physics and mathematics, he was not satisfied with abstract results and conclusions by themselves, but always sought to democratise his findings, first to the biological sciences community and then to the huge population of lay people fascinated with birds and their flight escapades. Pennycuick was an expert glider pilot, and gained some notoriety by piloting his craft in and around flocks of vultures, storks and eagles in Africa, and condors in Peru. The son of Brig James Pennycuick and his wife, Marjorie, Pennycuick was born in Windsor, Berkshire. His family followed his father’s army postings, which in 1938 took them to Singapore, which they left in 1941 shortly before the Japanese invasion. Pennycuick was later sent as a boarder to Wellington college, Berkshire, studied zoology as an undergraduate at Merton College, Oxford, and worked on his PhD at Peterhouse, Cambridge. There he studied muscle mitochondria, whose task of converting oxygen and nutrients into energy he viewed as the basic engine of flight. During two years’ national service with the RAF, he flew Provosts and Vampires, early jet-powered aircraft. He subsequently worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Animal Behaviour Laboratory in Madingley, Cambridge, and in 1964 began a long association with the zoology department at Bristol University as a lecturer. Colin Pennycuick at work in Iceland in 1995. His career took him as far afield as Nairobi, Peru and the South Georgia Islands. Photograph: Sverrir Thorstensen He used the first computer at the university to design a tiltable wind tunnel, which he built from scratch and hung in a stairwell. He developed and adapted aeronautical ideas from helicopter theory to bird flight and tested their application based on meticulous observations of the free-flying pigeons which he kept in a loft on the roof of the building. In 1968 he traveled to Nairobi, which he made his base for three years, installing his tilting wind tunnel between two acacia trees to study bat flight in the same manner as he had previously done with pigeons. He then spent another two years in the Serengeti national park as deputy director of the research station there. He learned how to fly his powered glider alongside pelicans, storks and vultures, documenting for the first time their extraordinary and essential abilities to travel economically over large distances by exploiting thermals. From here on, his career was not so much a list of academic positions and research topics as a restless migration (frequently aerial, frequently self-piloted) of his own. He flew back to Bristol in 1973 via Addis Ababa, Cairo and Crete, in and around the Shetlands, France and Sweden, and down to Bird Island in South Georgia, Antarctica. There he first used his “ornithodolite”, an instrument he designed for measuring birds’ flight paths and speed, to track in detail the soaring flight of albatrosses. He found that the standard explanation – that they could power their flight by following a specific trajectory through a wind shear profile – was only partly responsible for their ability to fly continuously, without flapping for very long times, and that instead they used the wind in several different ways. In 1983, he left for Miami University, which became a handy launch point for expeditions to the Everglades, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Idaho, and further afield in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Peru. In 1992 he left Miami, via Greenland, Iceland and Sweden. He began a continuing association with the animal ecology group at Lund University in Sweden, tracking migratory birds by radar, and in 1994 the bird flight wind tunnel was inaugurated there by the king of Sweden. In the late 1990s he collaborated with the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, in Gloucestershire, in tracking whooper swans, which as the largest flapping bird can provide a stringent test of aerodynamic theory at relatively large extremes of scale. He appeared in the 2003 BBC radio series Swan Migration Live, which tracked six Bewick’s swans and a whooper swan from Arctic Russia to the UK, with updates on their progress on the Today programme each morning. In 2008 Pennycuick took part in an even bigger and more ambitious Radio 4 project, World on the Move: Great Animal Migrations, which tracked brent and white-fronted geese from the UK to Canada. With the aid of very accurate meteorological data, combined with measurements of wing beat frequency and wing shape, he modelled a gauge that could estimate the fuel consumed while these geese were migrating: this would give audiences, and the scientific community, some idea of the effort involved. Pennycuick’s primary goal was to provide and test a physically reasonable theory of vertebrate flight, which could then be used to predict and understand how and why birds and bats do what they do. Many of his inventions, in techniques, procedures and instrumentation, were absolutely novel because he thought his own thoughts and proceeded by himself, according to the rigorous rules of logic and scientific inquiry. A rich and exuberant publication history burst from his activities, starting with the first practical flight theory papers in 1968 and going on to include the books Animal Flight (1972), Bird Flight Performance (1989) and Modelling the Flying Bird (2008). In later years he increasingly focused his efforts on his flight software package, which grew from a small custom Basic program to a rather versatile application with graphical interface. As well as biologists, engineers wanting to know how birds manage to achieve the things they do with apparent economy of effort and energy expenditure used the program, and both groups learned from it, which gave Pennycuick particular pleasure. He was appointed research professor in zoology at the University of Bristol in 1993, and senior research fellow in 1997. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1990, and was made honorary companion of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1994. In 1996 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Lund University. In 1992 he married Sandy Winterson. She and his son, Adam, survive him. Colin Pennycuick at work in Iceland in 1995. His career took him as far afield as Nairobi, Peru and the South Georgia Islands. Photograph: Sverrir Thorstensen
  6. Powdermill Nature Reserve is Carnegie Museums of Natural History's environmental research center. Located 55 mile southeast of Pittsburgh in Rector, Pennsylvania, Powdermill is a field station and laboratory where researchers do long-term studies of natural populations in western Pennsylvania. In addition to being positioned for Appalachian-specific studies in ornithology, ecology, invertebrate zoology, and botany, Powdermill is a great place to spend a fun-filled day outdoors with the family. Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is interested in candidates who, through their experience and collaborations, will contribute to diversity and excellence of the Carnegie Museums community. As a FIELD ASSISTANT I - MOTUS RESEARCH, you will be responsible for Avian Field Powdermill’s wildlife tracking efforts using automated receiving stations and digitally coded radio transmitters (aka “Motus Wildlife Tracking”) from June 1st through August 28th. Specific projects include ongoing Motus research, constructing new receiver stations, and maintaining existing receiver stations. Duties include includes assembling Motus receiving station components in Pittsburgh. Traveling throughout the Northeastern United States to evaluate potential receiver station sites. Traveling throughout the NE US to construct, repair, and download data from Motus receiving stations, while also maintaining equipment and tools in an organized fashion. To learn more about the Motus program at Powdermill visit our website (http://www.powdermillarc.org). If you have further questions about the position you can reach Jon Rice at RiceJ@CarnegieMNH.org. COMPENSATION: Pay is $12/hr for 40 hrs per week plus overtime when applicable. Travel expenses to potential or existing Motus sites will be paid for by Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH). TO APPLY: Visit http://www.carnegiemuseums.org/opportunities; click on Search Jobs and click on Apply in the section titled Field Assistant I (Requisition 378) Please include your resume, three references, and a cover letter detailing your experience with radio tracking equipment, constructing radio tracking equipment, installing Motus technology and/or field experience. All documents should be saved in one file to allow for upload through our Applicant Tracking System. QUALIFICATIONS EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: Applicants should have a high school degree, or equivalent. Ideal candidates will have prior experience with Motus tracking technologies. KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES: - The successful applicant will be able to work well both independently and as part of a team. - The applicant must also be able to think critically in difficult situations, learn new technology quickly, and communicate effectively. - Must have valid drivers license. - Must be available to work extended hours including weekend and/or evening hours. PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: The position requires extended periods of walking, sitting, driving, standing, lifting, and carrying heavy equipment sometimes in inclement weather (e.g. hot, cold, rain). The applicant must be able to repeatedly lift 60 or more pounds throughout a day. The following PA Act 153 clearances, or proof of application of clearances, are required beginning employment and as a condition of continued employment: Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check FBI Fingerprint Criminal Background Check Obtaining the required clearances is completed as part of the new hire process. Carnegie Museums is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action Employer – Minorities / Females / Veterans / Individuals with Disabilities / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity The above job description reflects the essential functions and qualifications for the position identified, and shall not be construed as a detailed description of all the work requirements that may be inherent in the position. The job description does not constitute an employment contract and does not alter the at-will relationship between CMP and the employee.
  7. Overall, Department of the Interior would see a loss of 13.4%. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be cut by 85.5 million. Interestingly, the MigBird permits budget would get an increase of $288k - and they certainly are in desperate need of increasing staffing levels. However, this proposal does not propose a staffing increase. Apparently, the additional funding is needed to "improve and modernize the Service’s permitting system to an electronic system, which will reduce the processing time for permits, provide a more user-friendly interface for the public, and provide electronic payment methods for permittees." The proposed budget is almost certainly DOA, as was the case with the previous budget proposals from this Admin. Nonetheless, more detail about USFWS, DOI and its other component agencies, and other agencies of interest to ornithologists will follow, so please watch this space!
  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. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing a rule that defines the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to provide regulatory certainty to the public, industries, states, tribes and other stakeholders. This proposed rule clarifies that the scope of the MBTA only extends to conduct intentionally injuring birds. Conduct that results in the unintentional (incidental) injury or death of migratory birds is not prohibited under the act. Background: the USFWS under this Administration developed a policy known as an M-Opinion, which is internal agency policy, stating that the law does not prohibit incidental take of migratory bird species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The policy has been in litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for some time and is still pending. It is unlikely to be adjudicated before June of this year and any decision will be appealed. Throughout this time, the USFWS has stated that it intends to promulgate a formal regulation. Doing so would obviate one of the key aspects of the legal challenge - that there was no opportunity for public input. Under the Administrative Procedure Act, public input is required when a formal regulation is proposed. “With five federal circuit courts of appeals divided on this question, it is important to bring regulatory certainty to the public by clarifying that the criminal scope of the MBTA only reaches to conduct intentionally injuring birds,” said Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Rob Wallace. “That said, we will continue to work collaboratively with states, cities, conservation groups, industries, trade associations and citizens to ensure that best practices are followed to minimize unintended harm to birds and their habitats.” “The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to conserve wildlife and habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Bird conservation is an integral part of that mission. We are taking action today to make sure our rules and regulations are clear,” said Aurelia Skipwith, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We look forward to an open and transparent process that will ensure ample opportunity for public input.” This action codifies the 2017 Department of the Interior Solicitor’s Office Opinion M–37050, which analyzed the scope of the MBTA and determined the act only applies to the intentional take of migratory birds and that the take of birds resulting from an activity is not prohibited when the underlying purpose of that activity is not to take birds. The Endangered Species Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, as well as state laws and regulations, are not affected by the Solicitor’s Opinion M-37050 or the proposed regulation. The proposed rule will change how the Service administers the MBTA, and the Service has determined an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act is the most efficient and comprehensive approach for considering the potential impacts of this action on the environment. This is the first step in an open and transparent public process that the Service will continue to manage throughout the development of the rulemaking process. The public is encouraged to provide input to help ensure that these changes are clear, effective and advance the goal of migratory bird conservation. When this Notice of Intent publishes in the Federal Register, it will begin a 45-day scoping process during which we solicit public input to help define the range of issues and possible alternatives to be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement. The public scoping period will take place from February 3, 2020 - March 19, 2020. The proposed rule will publish in the Federal Register on February 3, 2020, beginning a 45-day public comment period and will include details on how to submit comments. Written comments and information must be received on or before March 19, 2020, by one of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2018-0090. U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-HQ-MB-2018-0090; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; MS: JAO/1N; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. We will not accept email or faxes. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. Interims copies of the proposed rule and notice of intent are now available. More information related to this proposed rule, scoping and other associated materials, can be found online at: https://fws.gov/migratorybirds/2020Regulation.php.
  9. https://wagner.edu/newsroom/remembering-brian-palestis/ It is with great sadness that we must report to you that Professor Brian Palestis has died after battling a long illness. Brian joined the Wagner College faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in 2001. In 2007, he was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor, rising to the rank of full professor in 2013. He was a two-time winner of the Faculty Award for Exceptional Performance in the area of Scholarship (2004, 2010) and also won the Faculty Award for Exceptional Performance in the area of Teaching (2014). Brian held the Martha Megerle Endowed Chair (Fall 2014 through Summer 2016). That brief description of Brian’s career at Wagner, however, does not tell the entire story. An outstanding teacher, Brian committed himself to the success of his students. He mentored many students, encouraging them to pursue graduate study in the field. A prolific scholar, he produced more than 30 journal articles during his years at Wagner in the areas of animal behavior, ecology, and evolutionary biology. His most prominent studies focused on birds, notably terns. He was a leading member of the campus community. A longtime chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, he served on a number of standing committees in our system of shared governance, most notably the Academic Policy Committee, which he chaired. Brian was also Coach Palestis. A four-year starter and two-time Honorable Mention All American at Princeton University, Brian was a volunteer assistant coach for Wagner’s fencing team. An expert on terns teaching his other love to a group of Seahawks. We were all so excited to see Brian back on campus last fall. Unfortunately, partway through the semester, Brian had to step away from the classroom to receive additional treatment. He was looking forward, as were we, to his return to Wagner in the spring. Sadly, this was not to be the case. He leaves behind his wife, Meghan, and two children, Connor and Caitlin. A soft-spoken man, Brian’s dedication to the college spoke volumes. Words cannot ease the loss experienced by his family, friends and colleagues. Yet words are all we have. Brian Palestis was a great teacher, a great scholar and, most importantly, a great person. We will miss his presence at Wagner, but he will always be in our hearts. President Joel W. Martin Provost Jeffrey Kraus
  10. Brian G. Palestis, Ph.D of Union, New Jersey, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. Born in Somerville, New Jersey, Brian was raised in Pompton Lakes, where he was valedictorian of Pompton Lakes High School Class of 1991. While there, Brian was an Eagle scout who played the cello in the orchestra, and electric bass in the jazz band. He played football his first three years before focusing on fencing. As a fencer, he competed in the Garden State Games and Junior Olympics, and as a member of the Junior National Team. He also represented Passaic County in Boys State. Brian went on the attend Princeton University, where he was a member of the Colonial Club. His Senior Thesis: Multimare Harems in Feral Horses, placed Brian off the coast of North Carolina in 1994 doing fieldwork. During his time at Princeton, Brian was a starter in fencing all 4 years, a 2 time Honorable Mention All American, Academic All-Ivy, and sabre squad leader in 1995. The team won Ivy League Titles in 1994 and 1995, and finished 4th at the 1994 NCAA Championship. Brian was selected by competitors and coaches as the recipient of the Cointe Award, in recognition of his outstanding sportsmanship at the IFA Championship. Brian graduated from Princeton Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. It was at Princeton where Brian met Meghan Sullivan in his senior year. They married in August of 1997 in Meghan’s hometown of Framingham, Massachusetts, and honeymooned in Hawaii, the first of many trips the two would take over the years, including Spain, France, Ireland, Alaska, Greece and the Caribbean. Brian earned a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University in 2000, with a Dissertation: Common term (Sterna hirundo) recognition systems: recognition of siblings, nest sites and nest predators. He did fieldwork for this dissertation at Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. After post-doctoral positions at Barnard College and Monmouth University, Brian joined the Wagner College Department of Biological Sciences faculty in 2001. He was granted tenure in 2006, and promoted to full Professor in 2012. His classes included Biodiversity & Ecology, Biostatistics & Environmental Design, and Natural History of the Mid-Atlantic States. He continued his research on Common terns, conducting fieldwork every summer along the New Jersey shore, often involving his students in his research. Brian served as Department Chair for three terms, chaired the Academic Policy Committee for many years, and served on numerous other committees. He was well known for his commitment to research. He published his own work while also collaborating with other researchers and serving as a peer reviewer for scientific journals. His articles appeared in publications including Animal Behavior, Waterbirds Seabird and Evolutionary Psychological Science. Brian was an active member of the Waterbird Society, an organization for scientific study and conservation of the world’s waterbirds, for more than two decades. He presented at annual meetings in the US and abroad, including Canada, Iceland, Germany and Mexico, and served as Publications co-chair. Brian has been affiliated with Master’s Fencing Academy since high school, and continued giving lessons until recently. He was Volunteer Assistant Coach for the Wagner College Fencing Team since their inception in 2016. He was a USA Fencing and NJSIAA licensed referee, refereeing meets and tournaments around New Jersey. Brian was a devoted father to Connor and Caitlin, who enjoyed attending their games and performances. He loved hiking and the beach, and spent many family vacations in Maine and the Jersey Shore. In addition to his wife Meghan, and their children, Connor and Caitlin, Brian is survived by his parents, Elizabeth Kattak, and Ernest Palestis and his wife Monica; his brother Paul Palestis and wife Alexandra; mother in law Maryelaine Sullivan; sister in law Katherine Fanous and her husband Brian; nieces Daniela Palestis, Sonia K. Fanous and nephew John Fanous; aunt Christine Palestis and uncle Gregory Palestis. Brian was predeceased by his father in law, John E. Sullivan, and his stepfather, Victor Kattak.
  11. https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/557913500 SEE THE OFFICIAL NOTICE FOR FULL JOB DETAILS. Open & closing dates 01/28/2020 to 02/11/2020 Pay scale & grade GS 15 Salary $142,701 to $170,800 per year Appointment type Permanent Work schedule Full-Time Summary This position is located within the Division of International Conservation (DIC), Assistant Director of International Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Incumbent serves as Chief, DIC and is responsible for the leadership, implementation and monitoring of technical and policy guidance that affects domestically and internationally, the planning and implementation of international conservation actions on the ground to support imperiled species of high importance to the American people. Responsibilities Exercises leadership and direction to the Service's management and administration of programs and activities for international conservation pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973; the Multinational Species Conservation Acts for African and Asian elephants, tigers and rhinos, great apes, and marine turtles; the Wild Bird Conservation Act; the Convention on Nature Protection and Wild Life Preservation in the Western Hemisphere; the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trilateral Committee Agreement; the U.S.-Russia Environmental Agreement; the U.S.-China Nature Conservation Protocol; and other laws, treaties, conventions, and international agreements for which the Service has specific responsibilities related to international conservation. Provides recommendations to the Assistant Director and Deputy Assistant Director, International Affairs regarding allocation of funding and annual spending plans. Performs a full range of supervisory/managerial duties and responsibilities over the assigned staff and evaluates work products for meeting Division goals and objectives. Monitors progress, evaluates effectiveness, and recommends program changes and modifications to specific goals and objectives. Leads policy reviews and identifies areas requiring new or revised policy and/or guidance statements or handbooks. Develops short and long term goals and strategic plans to effectively implement all programs and activities for all four branches of the Division. Travel Required Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position. Supervisory status Yes Promotion Potential 15
  12. 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 23 Jan 2020, the Ornithological Council learned of an extreme staffing shortage in the USFWS Region 8 permitting office, via an auto-reply to an e-mail: Your message has been received. Thank you! You have contacted the Migratory Bird Permit Office in Region Eight. Our Office supports California and Nevada. If you do not reside in one of these locations, please contact the appropriate region (please cc us so we know.) Our office is currently very short-staffed and is experiencing a backlog of one year with processing permits and mail. Do not follow up with a hard copy unless asked to do so or if you are sending a processing fee through the mail. The only way we can accept processing fees is with a hard copy check or money order payable to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Reports – if you are submitting a report, no further action is needed. Applications – if you are submitting an application. No further action is needed; however, we do recommend following up with our office if you have not heard from us after 6 months. Questions – if you have a question, a response may require research and time. We appreciate your patience and will respond to your inquiry at our earliest opportunity. This problem has occurred before. It was resolved, at least in part, by having some of the pending permit applications sent out to other regions. However, it is rather doubtful that other regions are in good shape at this point. The Ornithological Council has implored USFWS Director Aurelia Skipwith to immediately hire more permitting staff in all regions.
  13. 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. Many, many moons ago, the USDA regulations exempted rats, mice, and birds from the Animal Welfare Regulations. After litigation in 2000, the USDA agreed to change its regulations to include rats, mice, and birds. However, before the USDA could promulgate regulations pertaining to rats, mice, and birds, the U.S. Congress, by way of a provision in the 2002 Farm Bill codified the exclusion of rats, mice, and birds. Unfortunately, a typographical error in the final legislation had the effect of excluding ONLY birds bred for use in research.** The Ornithological Council worked diligently to have the Congress correct this error and nearly succeeded but our efforts were thwarted by a very powerful animal rights organization. The USDA then began working on regulations to implement this new definition for several years. In 2004, the USDA APHIS Animal Care program published an advance notice of public rulemaking, asking for "comments from the public to help determine how we should regulate the care and use of those animals." The OC filed comments, suggesting, among other things, that given the number of wild bird species, the enormous variation among species, and the lack of experience and information pertainingto the keeping of most species in captivity that regulations would necessarily have to be very flexibleand nonspecific. Further, that inspection of field sites was unrealistic at best given that the USDA does not have enough inspectors, much less inspectors knowledgeable in field biology, to inspect field sitesand that it would be unreasonable to expect wildlife biologists to bear the costs of such inspections. Those comments and other information were considered by the USDA when writing the new regulations, which had been expected to be released by the end of 2011. However, at a December 2011 conference on Animal Welfare Act compliance in the context of wildlife biology, organized by OC and the American Society of Mammalogists, USDA officials announced that the proposed regulation, which was still under review within the USDA,would be delayed due to concerns about the ability of the agency to implement the regulation given the need for a very substantial increase in the number of USDA inspectors at a time when agency budgets are shrinking. And then....nothing. Well, since 2013,animal rights groups have tried and failed in bringing lawsuits against the USDA to compel it to promulgate bird-specific regulations. See People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. USDA, 797 F.3d 1087, 1091-92 (D.C. Cir. 2015). More recently, two other animal rights groups–the American Anti-Vivisection Society and Avian Welfare Coalition–tried again, arguing that USDA's failure to promulgate bird-specific regulations violated the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"). The federal district court dismissed their claims, but recently a panel of the D.C. Circuit reversed. Am. Anti-Vivisection Society & Avian Welfare Coalition v. USDA, No. 19-5015 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 10, 2020). The D.C. Circuit panel disagreed with the District Court that the plaintiffs' "unreasonably delayed" claim failed. As the Court explained, to bring an "unreasonably delayed" claim, the groups must "assert that [USDA] failed to take a discrete agency action that it is required to take." Am. Anti-Vivisection Soc'y & Avian Welfare Coalition v. USDA, No. 19-5015 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 10, 2020). The Court found that the groups successfully made such an assertion–that the AWA requires USDA to issue standards governing the humane treatment of birds, and the USDA has conceded that its general, catch-all AWA regulations are inadequate for birds–therefore USDA has failed to take the "discrete action" that it is "required to take": issuing standards to protect birds. Whether the plaintiffs' claim ultimately survives, however, turns on whether the issuance of bird regulations has been "unreasonably delayed." Because that issue was not briefed to the D.C. Circuit, the panel remanded to the district court to consider the issue in the first instance. Even if the USDA eventually writes regulations for birds, such regulations are likely to pertain only to birds studied in captivity. The existing regulations pertaining to other taxa cover topics such as housing, feeding, water, sanitation, transit, and handling. NOTE: ** Lest anyone conclude that the Ornithological Council or its member societies oppose the oversight of wild birds studied in research, we refer you to the introductory material in our Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research: https://birdnet.org/info-for-ornithologists/guidelines-to-the-use-of-wild-birds-in-research/ and specifically this text: The Ornithological Council believes strongly that birds, both wild and captive-bred, should be treated humanely, both in the laboratory and in research conducted in the wild. It is for this reason that we publish this peer-reviewed Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research. Our objection to the inclusion of birds in the Animal Welfare Act regulations is based solely on the fact that it is likely to impose additional burdens on research without producing an improvement in the humane treatment of birds, because, as explained below, this research is already regulated under the Health Research Extension Act of 1985, which makes the Animal Act applicable to all vertebrates. We object only to duplicative and potentially conflicting sets of regulations and burdensome procedural compliance, without contributing to the humane treatment of birds in research.
  14. 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. In an effort to strengthen the 100-year-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a bipartisan of group co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), introduced H.R. 5552, the Migratory Bird Protection Act today. The new bill will reaffirm current law while creating more certainty for business and creating incentives for innovation to protect birds. This bill would reverse the course taken by the current Administration to eliminate liability for incidental take of bird species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. That policy, embodied in the "Jorjani M-Opinion" is currently being litigated in federal court. The Administration also plans to issue a formal regulation but to date (8 January 2020) no such regulation has been proposed. This bill will require industry to take proactive measures to reduce bird deaths. It also directs the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to develop a permitting process for “incidental take” through which relevant businesses would implement best management practices and document compliance, further driving innovation in how to best prevent bird deaths. The legislation would also establish a new fee paid by industry that will increase funding for the conservation of birds impacted by these industrial hazards and an additional fund to establish a new federal research program that will study industry impacts on birds and best management practices. OF PARTICULAR INTEREST TO ORNITHOLOGISTS: The proposed legislation includes a provision that requires the USFWS to establish a research program: ‘‘(s) RESEARCH PROGRAM.—The Secretary shall establish and maintain, in consultation with research institutions, institutions of higher education (as such term is defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a))), wildlife conservation groups, and representatives of commercial activities regulated under this section, a research program to— ‘‘(1) evaluate the effectiveness of best management practices and technologies incorporated in regulations and permits under this section; ‘‘(2) develop and evaluate new or improved best management practices and technologies; and '‘(3) evaluate the impacts of commercial activities regulated under this section on bird populations. Administration of the research program would be funded by permit fees paid for incidental take permits but there is no provision for actually funding the research.
  15. The Court has now established a procedural schedule for the case. The various plaintiffs (several states, several conservation organizations) are planning to file a motion for summary judgment, which is a procedure that asks the Court to find that there are no material disputes of fact or law and that as a matter of law, on the existing facts, they are entitled to prevail. The deadline for that filing is 17 Jan 2020. The deadline for DOI's cross-motion for summary judgment is 2 March 2020. The deadline for the briefs in support of the motions is reply is 1 April 2020 and 1 May 2020 for the plaintiffs and defendants, respectively. Therefore, the Court is unlikely to rule on the case prior to 1 June 2020. Meanwhile, the USFWS has yet to publish the proposed rule that would formalize the Jorjani memo on incidental take.
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