Efforts to help endangered species on hold during government shutdown

Efforts to help endangered species on hold during government shutdown »Play Video
There's work to be done before winter arrives: prairie-land seeding and controlled burns to improve habitat for an endangered species, said biologist Jock Beall. "For Fender's blue butterfly, an endangered butterfly," he said. "Our window could be next week, and that could be it because of the weather."

EUGENE, Ore. - Jock Beall had plenty of time to walk his dogs Roxy and Punky on Friday, but all for the wrong reasons.

"The shutdown probably couldn't come at a worse time from a conservation standpoint," said Beall, furloughed from his job as a staff biologist at the Finley Wildlife Refuge near Monroe.

"We were told not to come in, not to work, not to check email and not to turn on our cell phones," Beall said.

But there's work to be done before winter arrives: prairie-land seeding and controlled burns to improve habitat for an endangered species.

"For Fender's blue butterfly, an endangered butterfly," he said. "Our window could be next week, and that could be it because of the weather."

For the public, there are still some places at the refuge you can drive up and do some limited exploring, like McFadden Marsh. But during the federal furlough, a lot of important work is going by the wayside.

"It's all about creating native habitats and restoring habitat for recovery of endangered species," Beall said.

This isn't Beall's first rodeo: he was a federal employee with the Bureau of Land Management in 1995 when the government shutdown.

But that shutdown happened in December, when field work was on hiatus for the winter.

This shutdown comes at a crucial time for work at the wildlife refuge.

How long will the shutdown last?
  
"My earlier prediction was 2 days," Beall said, "and so that's already gone by."