In DepthConservation

Standoff imperils Oregon refuge

Science  22 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6271, pp. 326-327
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6271.326

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Summary

As an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon drags into its fourth week, the first casualty of the standoff could be the refuge's ecological health. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in Portland, Oregon, oversees the refuge and intensively manages it to maintain habitat and fight invasive species. Beginning in early spring, FWS personnel regulate water flows throughout the refuge to safeguard habitat for the hundreds of thousands of migratory birds that use the 76,000-hectare refuge as a key stopover and nesting ground. Federal biologists are also in the midst of a 15-year effort to combat invasive carp that have largely destroyed the native aquatic ecosystem of the refuge's two massive, shallow lakes and the Blitzen River that feeds them from the south. Those efforts are now on hold.