Sequestration could cut the Refuge System’s budget by nearly 10%, but coupled with an additional annual appropriation cut, the overall impact could be as much as 20%.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the 150-million-acre System on a shoestring budget of only $3.24 per acre. Further, refuges rely on the support of their Friends groups and volunteers, who perform 20% of all work done throughout the Refuge System.
Protecting and adequately funding the lands, waters, and wildlife of our 560 national wildlife refuges should be a bipartisan priority. Now, more than ever, the National Wildlife Refuge System is a worthwhile investment in America’s economic recovery and future.
The top ten fiscal impacts to the National Wildlife Refuge System:
Closed Refuges and Visitor Centers
Lost Hunting and Fishing Opportunities
Volunteers Turned Away
Lost Revenue in Local Economies
Increased Poaching, Vandalism and Drug Smuggling
Lost Opportunities for Birding and Wildlife Watching
Spread of Invasive Species
Halted Habitat Restoration and Fire Management
Delayed Response to Hurricane and Natural Disaster Devastation
Termination of the Inventory and Monitoring Program
CARE is a national coalition of 22 wildlife, sporting, conservation, and scientific organizations formed in 1995. Together, these organizations represent a national constituency numbering more than 15 million Americans. Working together, and with the support of more than 200 volunteer refuge Friends groups, CARE educates Congress, the Administration and the public about America’s magnificent National Wildlife Refuge System1.
I summarized this report from CARE. You can download the full report from Defenders of Wildlife here. If you haven’t done so already, please take the time to sign the petition for a new Federal Wildlife Conservation Stamp to help fund our National Wildlife Refuge System.
References: 1Defenders of Wildlife