16 October 2012 Celebrating Wildlife Refuges Posted by: Julie Kates | 1 comment | Share: Julie Kates, Federal Lands Associate Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service It’s the second full week of October, so in addition to being Wolf Awareness Week, it’s also National Wildlife Refuge Week – an annual celebration of America’s National Wildlife Refuge System. The Refuge System, established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, is the only network of federal lands dedicated first and foremost to wildlife conservation. Its 560 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts protect approximately 150 million acres of vital habitat for the nation’s fish, wildlife and plants, including more than 280 endangered or threatened species. With at least one refuge found in every state and territory, and within an hour of most major metropolitan areas, the Refuge System also provides great wildlife watching, photography, education, and other recreation opportunities for its 47 million visitors every year. As the anchor for America’s conservation lands, protecting the Refuge System is a top priority for me and my colleagues at Defenders. Here are some of the things we’re doing to make sure the Refuge System stays strong for all the National Wildlife Refuge Weeks to come: We’re adding our expertise to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service develop a more effective, climate-smart framework for managing and expanding the Refuge System. We’re safeguarding the iconic Arctic National Wildlife Refuge both by blocking damaging legislation that would open it up to oil and gas development and by promoting stronger legal protections for the refuge’s sensitive coastal plain, which serves as the most important onshore denning habitat for America’s threatened polar bears and the calving ground of the Porcupine caribou herd. We’re fighting a harmful proposal to build a road through a congressionally-designated wilderness area within Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Known as the refuge’s biological heart, this area provides critically important habitat for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, including 98 percent of Pacific black brant and nearly all of the world’s emperor geese. We’re working to support the expansion of national wildlife refuges in the greater Everglades ecosystem, which will help keep the dispersal zone of the endangered Florida panther safe from development. We’re working with our partners in the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) to advocate for greater agency funding so that the Refuge System has the resources it needs to carry out its conservation mission. We encourage you to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week this year by getting to know your local refuge. And check back with us often to get updates on what we’re doing to protect refuges around the country and how you can support our national wildlife refuges and the wildlife that rely on them throughout the year. One Response to “Celebrating Wildlife Refuges” Peregrine October 16th, 2012 You can see the Wildlife Refuges in the online mapping tool that Defenders of Wildlife has created. Add in all the other projects we’ve mapped (Select “Overlay”), and you can gain a lot of perspective! It’s right here: http://conservationregistry.org/search/results?search=35766&type=advanced and push the button to “Map Search Results”! Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in 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? What Montana Isn’t Saying: Why Wild Bison Aren’t Welcome in the State Montana is rounding up wild bison as they leave Yellowstone National Park and shipping them to slaughter. But why?