Presentation on theme: "National Wildlife Refuges in South Carolina face a $24.2 million budget shortfall South Carolina is home to spectacular natural resources, including eight."— Presentation transcript:
National Wildlife Refuges in South Carolina face a $24.2 million budget shortfall South Carolina is home to spectacular natural resources, including eight national wildlife refuges which serve as protection for the state’s coastline, wetlands, marshes, grasslands, and forests. The refuges are also an important habitat for countless species of birds, mammals, fish, and reptiles. For South Carolina visitors, the refuges provide opportunites to participate in environmental education, hiking, bird watching, hunting, and fishing. The Refuge System in South Carolina has identified: $24.2 million and 8 staff positions in unmet high priority needs. This shortfall prevents the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from adequately managing and restoring wildlife habitat, 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 South Carolina needs a $131,000 increase each year just to retain current services. Lake Marion, Santee National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1997 and has not yet organized much of its resources. The refuge depends on funding to develop wildlife facilities, trails, and visitor outreach materials. National Wildlife Refuges: South Carolina Funding Crisis Santee National Wildlife Refuge needs further funding to adequately provide habitats for its neo-tropical birds and migratory waterfowl. Pictures courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service
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 20007 Phone: 202-333-9075 Fax: 202-333-9077 Web: www.FundRefuges.org/CARE/ 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 FY 2004, more than 36.7 million people visited refuges for recreation. Their spending generated $1.37 billion of sales in regional economies. As this spending flowed through the economy, nearly 24,000 people were employed and $453.9 million in employment income was generated. At Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina, for every $1 spent on the refuge’s budget, about $27 are generated in recreational expenditures to the local economy. $2.5 million dollars of local tax revenues are generated through recreational expenditures.