The “interior least tern,” a Midwestern US bird that survived a craze for its feathers and dam building that destroyed much of its habitat, has soared off the endangered species list. Federal officials said that 35 years of legal protection and habitat restoration efforts have brought the tern back from the brink of extinction. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Aurelia Skipwith said, “Dozens of states, federal agencies, tribes, businesses and conservation groups have worked tirelessly over the course of three decades to successfully recover these birds.” The Army Corps of Engineers played a key role in the bird’s recovery, changing river management strategies and placing dredged material to create new nesting and dwelling spots for terns and other imperiled shorebirds. The tern population went from a low of about 2,000 birds with a few dozen nesting sites in 1985 to a current estimated population of 18,000, with about 480 nesting sites. “We consider it an Endangered Species Act success story for sure,” said Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity.

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