Visitors to national wildlife refuges are concerned about the impact of climate change on Americas fish, wildlife and plantsas well as the habitat that supports them, according to a survey released in late May by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The survey also shows strong support for efforts to help native species adapt to changing climate conditions, such as those being implemented by the Service and its partners.
Seventyone percent of the more than 10,000 visitors to national wildlife refuges who took part in the surveydesigned and conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2010 and 2011believe that climate change poses a serious threat to wildlife and habitat. About 74 percent agree that addressing climate change effects on wildlife and wildlife habitats will benefit future generations.
More than half of the refuge visitors surveyed indicated a high level of interest and personal involvement in climate issues. More than twothirds (69 percent) agreed that addressing climate change impacts could improve our quality of life. Nearly half of visitors surveyed (46 percent) expressed interest in learning from refuges what they could do to help address the effects of climate change on wildlife and habitat.
Economic considerations factored into visitors assessments. More than twothirds (71 percent) agreed that it is important to consider the economic costs and benefits to local communities when addressing climate change effects on fish, wildlife and habitats.
The results of this survey underscore the Services responsibility to ensure that we use the best science to understand and anticipate the impacts of a changing climate in order to safeguard fish, wildlife and plants and the important benefits and services they provide, said Service Director Dan Ashe. We recognize the serious threats that climate change and other environmental stressors pose to wildlife, and were working with our partners to address these immense challenges using the latest science driven approaches.
The Services work with conservation partners includes:
- Leading development of a National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy to guide governmentwide wildlife adaptation partnerships over the next 50 to 100 years.
- Developing an innovative carbon sequestration program in the Lower Mississippi Valley in partnership with The Conservation Fund, American Electric Power Company and Entergy Inc., that is also restoring native habitats to bolster populations of wildlife and migratory birds. The project has added more than 40,000 acres of habitat to the National Wildlife Refuge System and reforested more than 80,000 acres, sequestering 30 million metric tons of carbon over the projects 70 year lifetime.
- Helping create a network of locally driven, solutionoriented landscape conservation cooperatives that will allow federal, state and local partners to develop shared science capacity to inform conservation actions that help priority species and habitats withstand the impacts of climate change.
The survey is available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/685/DS685.pdf.