Conservation Coalition Tells President – Keep Refuge Funding Intact
Columbus, OH –-(Ammoland.com)- The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) along with numerous other wildlife and conservation based organizations recently sent a letter to President Obama urging the Administration not to shortchange the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) budget.
The coalition made clear that any cuts to the NWRS budget could severely limit successful wildlife management throughout large tracts of federally owned lands. The Refuge system encompasses over 100 million acres.
The June 10 letter to the President was sent by the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE), of which the USSA is one of 22 members. The letter makes the case that as the President looks to cut five percent from federal agency budgets to deal with ongoing budget deficits, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the NWRS should be spared. According to the letter, “Even in the absence of natural and man-made disasters, the FWS struggles annually with unmet needs- the NWRS alone is underfunded by 44%.”
The letter also indicates that the FWS is nearly spread to the breaking point in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with nearly 20 percent of its nationwide staff expected to be deployed to the region. This will lead to other areas being significantly understaffed should the need to cope with additional natural disasters or other problems arise.
In addition to these challenges, CARE also maintains that additional reductions in NWRS funding will force cuts to programs protecting wildlife including monitoring the health and number of many different species.
“The USSA is glad to be a part of CARE,” said Rob Sexton, vice president for government affairs.
“While not all of the participating groups agree on every conservation issue, we all take a firm stand that the already underfunded Refuge System not be subjected to more cuts.”
The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen's organizations that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. Visit www.ussportsmen.org.