13 May 2011 Providing Refuge for Wildlife: Funding Our National Wildlife Refuges Posted by: Julie Kates | Leave a comment | Share: The National Wildlife Refuge System is the only system of federal lands in the U.S. dedicated primarily to conserving wildlife and their habitats. But what happens when Congress doesn’t give our refuges the funding they need? Defenders of Wildlife and 20 other organizations that make up the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) released a report this week that sheds light on that very question. Restoring America’s Wildlife Refuges 2011: Assets for All Americans points to a long history of inadequate funding that has left the Refuge System struggling to fulfill its conservation mission. For example, in 2010, the Refuge System: had an average of only $3.36 to spend per acre to manage and protect more than 150 million acres of land and water. had to leave 87% of the 2.5 million acres overrun with invasive plants untreated. could only afford to employ 213 of the recommended 845 law enforcement officers needed to protect refuge resources and visitors. faced a more than $3.3 billion backlog of important operations and maintenance projects. Refuge funding is vital to protecting habitat for red-cockaded woodpeckers and other wildlife Though still far below what’s needed, small budget increases over the past few years have offered hope for our refuges. Unfortunately, some members of Congress want to turn back the clock on funding to 2008. That would mean cutting $69 million from the Refuge System’s already stretched budget, forcing habitat management projects to be scaled back further and critical staff positions to be eliminated. That’s why CARE is urging Congress to maintain a steady investment in the Refuge System and keep these special places on the right path to protect America’s wildlife. Learn more: Read the full report here. Watch this video by Defenders’ Federal Lands Director Peter Nelson to find out how funding our refuges helps protect the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Funding Refuges to Save Woodpeckers Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in California prepares to welcome wolves home, but delays on providing state protections Now, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove Endangered Species Act protection for wolves throughout most of the rest of the country, gray wolves are once again at risk. Delisting would short-circuit wolf recovery in the Pacific West and would effectively mean giving up on one of our country’s most important and iconic species. Fortunately, California has an opportunity to play a meaningful role in helping the gray wolf continue to recover in the coming months and years. I Was There It was a bitterly cold winter morning when the convoy departed down the remote Forest Service road near Salmon, Idaho. Decades after scientists first called for the restoration of wolves in the region, the first four wolves arrived in Idaho on January 14, 1995, thanks to the Endangered Species Act… Victory for Wild Bison in Montana! In a decision that the uninitiated would argue is a painful exercise in stating the obvious, a Montana court last week determined that the wild bison of Yellowstone, an animal that has roamed the continent for millennia, are indeed wild animals.