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 Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential. California’s Rim Fire: Opportunities Rise from the Ashes After California’s devastating Rim Fire, will officials take the opportunity to give nature a chance to fully recover?