National Wildlife Refuge System

Refuge Association Asks Congress to Address 10 Priorities

The National Wildlife Refuge Association in March pointed to 10 actions that Congress should take to protect America’s wildlife heritage.

“We have a moral obligation to future generations to protect our nation’s diverse natural world,” said Refuge Association president Evan Hirsche. “And when we protect our natural world, we improve the lives of people through clean water, clean air, wide–open spaces and stronger local economies that benefit from higher property values and a better quality of life.”

The report, titled Top 10 for 2011: Priorities for Protecting America’s Wildlife, urged Congress to:

  • Fund the National Wildlife Refuge System operations and maintenance accounts at $511 million in fiscal year 2012. That is about $8 million more than President Obama’s budget request.

  • Restore the Gulf of Mexico by passing legislation to implement the Presidential Oil Spill Commission’s recommendations to restore fish and wildlife habitat and repair Gulf economies.

  • Promote conservation partnerships among federal agencies, state governments, local governments, private landowners and nonprofits as called for in the America’s Great Outdoors action plan.

  • Conserve iconic landscapes, such as the Connecticut River, Everglades, Flint Hills, Crown of the Continent, Dakota Grasslands and Bear River, by fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million.

  • Promote farm, ranchland and forestland conservation through estate tax provisions.

  • Protect national wildlife refuges from mining permanently through legislation.

  • Expand wetlands conservation by passing legislation to increase the price of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) and authorize funding for a partner–driven marketing and promotion strategy.

  • Designate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain as wilderness.

  • Protect wild cats and antelope by releasing the remaining $43.2 million of the $50 million promised to the Department of the Interior by the Department of Homeland Security for border wall mitigation on the Mexico–U.S. boundary.

  • Conserve America’s songbirds by reauthorizing the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act and funding it at $6.5 million for fiscal year 2012.

The 12–page report is available at

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Refuge Update May/June 2011

Last updated: May 16, 2011