Monday, October 30, 2006

Wildlife Refuge Closures?

Funding of the National Wildlife Refuge system, administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service has apparently hit a critical level, at least for the southeastern region.  The impact would potentially extend to the visiting public and possibly the closure of some sites.

ENS Link

WASHINGTON, DC, October 27, 2006 (ENS) - A federal plan made public Thursday would mothball the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge - established a century ago by President Theodore Roosevelt - and shutter dozens of others across the Southeast, while cutting scores of the refuge personnel.

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, the nation's first national wildlife refuge, will lose the staff assigned to working with visitors and eliminate active outreach to the public.

Visitors to these sites number in the millions annually.

The 128 national wildlife refuges in the Southeast Region support more visitors than those in any other region: more than 11 million visitors annually.

The complete 26 page Southeast Workforce Management Plan is located here.  (Beware, pdf file.)

Bill Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society:

"Pelican Island is symbolic of our nation's commitment to protect our most critical bird and wildlife habitat," said Bill Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society.

"Sadly, Pelican Island is now a stark example of how Congress and the administration have failed to provide the funding and attention needed to sustain our wildlife legacy," he said.

Yep, we're fighting them over there, so we can't afford to look after the pelicans here.



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