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National Wildlife Refuges: Funding Crisis. About the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement CARE is a unique coalition of 21 conservation, scientific,

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Presentation on theme: "National Wildlife Refuges: Funding Crisis. About the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement CARE is a unique coalition of 21 conservation, scientific,"— Presentation transcript:

1 National Wildlife Refuges: Funding Crisis

2 About the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement CARE is a unique coalition of 21 conservation, scientific, sporting, and recreation organizations with more than 5 million members across the United States. CARE has been working since 1995 to help the National Wildlife Refuge System fight a serious funding crisis. American Birding Association American Fisheries Society American Sportfishing Association Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation Defenders of Wildlife Ducks Unlimited International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Izaak Walton League of America National Association of Service and Conservation Corps National Audubon Society National Rifle Association of America National Wildlife Federation National Wildlife Refuge Association Safari Club International The Wilderness Society The Wildlife Society Trout Unlimited U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Assateague Coastal Trust Wildlife Forever Wildlife Management Institute 1010 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 200 Washington, DC Phone: Fax: Web: CareHome.html

3 National Wildlife Refuge System Funding Preserving Our Nation’s Wildlife Heritage Since 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt established Pelican Island in Florida as our nation’s first wildlife refuge, the National Wildlife Refuge System’s network has grown to include 545 refuges. Every state has a wildlife refuge, and there is a refuge within an hour’s drive of almost every major U.S. city. Wildlife refuges enjoy the broad and diverse public support of conservation groups, sportsmen’s groups, recreationists, and families and schools that use refuges as living classrooms. With over 40 million visitors annually, wildlife refuges help return nearly $1.5 billion dollars to the national economy each year and create over 24,000 jobs. Funding Cuts Put Our National Wildlife Refuges at Risk Unfortunately, the lands that protect thousands of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish are at risk due to mounting budget cuts. Lacking adequate funding, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been forced to limit refuge personnel and management. $3.1 billion is needed to reduce the Refuge System’s operations and maintenance funding backlog that is taking a toll on visitor experiences, wildlife and the Refuge System’s mission of conserving plants and animals for future generations. Due to an increase in fixed costs and inflation, the price of maintaining the status quo in our refuges is swelling by about $16 million every year. The Refuge System’s budget allocation, however, has decreased since The Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) estimated the National Wildlife Refuge System’s needs in FY03 totaled $700 million annually. This report is a compilation of national wildlife refuge funding information for every state

4 National Wildlife Refuge System Funding

5 Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge needs funding to control invasives plants that prevent effective management of migratory birds and other refuge resources. Alabama Refuges need funding to control alligatorweed, water hyacinth and other invasives that threaten our ability to manage wildlife habitat but also wildlife- dependant recreation for 1.1 million visitors. National Wildlife Refuges in Alabama face a $48.6 million budget shortfall Alabama is home to spectacular natural resources including 11 national wildlife refuges. These wildlife refuges are national treasures, providing safe harbor to millions of migrant songbirds exhausted by their trip across the Gulf of Mexico. Alabama refuges also protect forested wetlands, longleaf pine forests, rivers and streams and other habitats vital to hundreds of species. Over one million visitors enjoy hunting, fishing, bird watching, wildlife photography, hiking, and environmental education on Alabama’s refuges. The Refuge System in Alabama has identified the following high priority needs: $48.6 million in operational and maintenance shortfalls A deficiency of 22 staff positions These shortfall prevents the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from adequately managing and restoring wildlife habitat, conserving imperiled species, safely maintaining facilities and providing quality recreational programs. Unfortunately, the Refuge System budget has remained relatively flat for the last two years. Due to rising costs, a flat budget erodes each refuge’s base funding, preventing vital positions from being filled and projects from being completed. The Refuge System in Alabama needs a $116,000 increase each year just to retain current services. Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama National Wildlife Refuges: Alabama Funding Crisis Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Complex needs funding for 22 unfunded essential staff positions to meet biological and maintenance needs while providing quality wildlife-dependant recreation for 700,000 annual visitors.

6 National Wildlife Refuge Funding Crisis About C.A.R.E CARE is a unique coalition of 21 conservation, scientific, sporting, and recreation organizations with more than 5 million members across the United States. CARE has been working since 1995 to help the National Wildlife Refuge System fight a serious funding crisis. American Birding Association American Fisheries Society American Sportfishing Association Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation Defenders of Wildlife Ducks Unlimited International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Izaak Walton League of America National Association of Service and Conservation Corps National Audubon Society National Rifle Association of America National Wildlife Federation National Wildlife Refuge Association Safari Club International The Wilderness Society The Wildlife Society Trout Unlimited U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Assateague Coastal Trust Wildlife Forever Wildlife Management Institute 1010 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 200 Washington, DC Phone: Fax: Web: CareHome.html CARE recommends a $700 million annual operations and maintenance budget for the Refuge System The National Wildlife Refuge System faces a crippling $3 billion operations and maintenance budget shortfall, which continues to grow. An annual increase of $300 million will prevent the Refuge System from spiraling into more debt and allow the Fish and Wildlife Service to begin restoring habitat, maintaining facilities and expanding public use opportunities that have languished due to lack of funds. Faced with a flattened budget and increased costs, in just three years 74% of the refuges in the northeast will be bankrupt, according to a Fish and Wildlife Service analysis. Other regions are facing similar problems. Able to absorb some budget pressure over the years, refuges have reached a threshold forcing the Fish and Wildlife Service to de-staff entire refuges, and cut visitor services and habitat management at scores of refuges. Investing in refuges is good for communities and for wildlife National Wildlife Refuges are economic engines in many rural areas. According to a recently released economic analysis, Banking on Nature, by the Fish and Wildlife Service: Recreational visits to national wildlife refuges generate substantial economic activity. In 2004, more than 36.7 million people visited refuges for recreation. Their spending generated $1.37 billion of sales in regional economies. This generated nearly 24,000 jobs and $453.9 million in employment income. At Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama, for every $1 spent on the refuge’s budget, almost $20 are generated in recreational expenditures to the local economy. Over $2 million of local tax revenues are generated through recreational expenditures.


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