U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Establishes New Hunting and Fishing Programs on Units of the National Wildlife Refuge System; Agency To Expand Hunting and Fishing Opportunities On Other Units
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2004
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is adding new hunting and fishing programs on 4 national wildlife refuges in Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, and South Carolina, and six Wetlands Management Districts in North and South Dakota as part of its annual Refuge-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations. With this action, the Service now manages 325 public hunting programs and 282 public fishing programs on units of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
At the same time, the Service is expanding recreational hunting and fishing opportunities on seven refuges in Nebraska, Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina.
"Since 2001, the Bush Administration has added over 60 new hunting and fishing programs on 51 units of our National Wildlife Refuge System," Service Director Steve Williams said. "With the expansion of our hunting and fishing programs, more families can enjoy the diverse recreational activities that refuges have to offer. I know that as an avid hunter and fisherman, President Bush is proud to provide these additional opportunities for hunters and anglers."
The Service has added the following refuges (NWR) and wetland management districts (WMD) to the agency?s list of units open for hunting and/or fishing: Waccamaw NWR in South Carolina; Mountain Longleaf NWR in Alabama; Red River NWR in Louisiana; and Cypress Creek NWR in Illinois; Huron, Lake Andes, Madison, Sand Lake, Waubay WMDs in South Dakota; and Devils Lake WMD in North Dakota.
In 2003, there were 2.2 million hunting visits to national wildlife refuges and 6.6 million fishing visits. By law, hunting and fishing are two of the six priority wildlife-dependent recreational uses on national wildlife refuges, and individual refuges are encouraged to provide opportunities to hunt and fish whenever they are compatible with the refuge?s conservation goals.
"Today's action speaks to the success of our conservation efforts," Interior Secretary Gale Norton said. "The ability of the Fish and Wildlife Service to add and expand hunting and fishing programs means that our wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are working."
The full text of the Refuge-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations can be found on the Internet by visiting http://refuges.fws.gov and clicking on the link to "Policies and Budget."
New Hunting/Fishing Programs at National Wildlife Refuges:
Expanded Programs at Refuges Already Open to Hunting and Fishing:
The final rule announcing the new programs, modifications, and administrative changes will be on file at the Federal Register August 31, 2004.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 84 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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Atlanta, GA 30345