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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Supporting FEMA Recovery Effort; Preparing to Begin Road Clearing, Establishment of Emergency Corridors


September 1, 2005

Contacts: Jeff Fleming, 404-679-7287
Kristi Watkins, 404-679-7275

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is putting infrastructure in place along the Gulf Coast to begin clearing roadways and establishing emergency corridors as it continues an agency-wide effort to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s overall recovery effort.

“Having located and accounted for the safety of all of our employees along Hurricane Katrina’s path, we are moving quickly to bolster our support of FEMA’s recovery effort by clearing roads, establishing emergency corridors, and facilitating the influx of badly needed aid,” said Bud Oliveira, acting chief of the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System in the Southeast Region.

So far, the Service has moved nearly 100 people into the coastal area, and is focusing its’ efforts in southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi.

On Wednesday, the Service announced that it has closed 16 national wildlife refuges in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The agency also closed the port of entry it operates in New Orleans and is urging importers and exporters of fish and wildlife products to use one of 16 other ports the agency operates including those in Houston, Miami, Memphis, and Atlanta.

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, 63 fishery resource offices and 81 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 governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.

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