COOPERATIVE ALLIANCE FOR REFUGE ENHANCEMENT

CARE is a national coalition of 22 wildlife, sporting, conservation, and scientific organizations. Together, these organizations represent a national constituency numbering more than 16 million Americans. Working together, and with the support of more than 200 refuge Friends groups, CARE educates Congress, the Administration, and the public about America's magnificent National Wildlife Refuge System.

 

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New Report Describes Surprising Benefits
of America's Wildlife Refuges

All Americans - including those who have never set foot on a national wildlife refuge and may not even know that refuges exist - benefit from their protection. From preserving airspace for military training missions to securing the nation's food supply, America's Wildlife Refuges 2013: Delivering the Unexpected highlights just a few of the unique and unexpected benefits that the National Wildlife Refuge System delivers to the nation.



Download CARE's full 2013 report!


CARE Press Release

Fact Sheets

Additional Information


 


Role of CARE member-organizations

Members of CARE recognize the inadequacy of existing funds to operate and maintain the National Wildlife Refuge System and the biological, recreational, and economic consequences that this lack of funding has on the Refuge System and its surrounding communities.

The Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE):

American Birding Association
American Fisheries Society
American Sportfishing Association
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation
Defenders of Wildlife
Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Izaak Walton League of America
Marine Conservation Institute
National Audubon Society
National Rifle Association of America
National Wildlife Federation
National Wildlife Refuge Association
Safari Club International
The Corps Network
The Nature Conservancy
The Wilderness Society
The Wildlife Society
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Trout Unlimited
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance
Wildlife Forever
Wildlife Management Institute

ENDORSE CARE NOW!


Organizational statement of support from the individual organizations in CARE:

American Birding Association

"Birds, as well as birders, depend on thriving ecosystems to subsist. The National Wildlife Refuge System must remain strong to ensure that our natural heritage is protected," said Robert Robinson, President of the American Birding Association. "We owe it to ourselves and future generations to preserve the integrity of natural habitats and pristine areas."

 

American Fisheries Society

As aquatic stewards, AFS feels strongly that financial support is needed to continue to protect and preserve our refuges, with special attention paid to the aquatic refuges that sustain not only fish but also birds and animals . Refuge funding has been stretched to the breaking point particularly in the maintenance current refuges. More and more refuges and their staffs are relying on volunteers and "Friends Of" groups to help preserve the wilderness. All conservation stakeholders need to work together to support our National Wildlife Refuge System to ensure that these great resources will be around for future generations.

 

American Sportfishing Association

"Wildlife refuges are America's secret fishing spots," said Mike Nussman, President of the American Sportsfishing Association. "Ask any angler and he'll tell you that these wild areas support some of the best fishing around. However, to continue providing this wealth of opportunities we must invest in the rejuvenation of the refuge system. This will be money well spent as the economic returns from the millions of anglers that fish in the refuges alone can make it worth our while."

 

Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

"The National Wildlife Refuge System should be, in Aldo Leopold's words, 'the finest example of sound wildlife management'," said Max Peterson, Executive Vice President of AFWA. "To meet that goal requires adequate funds to meet both current needs as well as address the backlog of accumulated needs now requiring attention. Whether for hunting, fishing or other wildlife-related activities, the Wildlife Refuge System serves millions of people while providing social, economic and environmental benefits so important today."

 

Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation

"Our National Wildlife Refuge System provides over $416 million to communities surrounding refuges through fishing, hunting and wildlife watching related activities," said Melinda Gable, executive director of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "Our governmental leaders should not only look at how the refuge system benefits our natural environment, but also look at those who rely upon tourism dollars created by the refuges themselves. CARE's proposal to the Administration and Congress represents a necessary increase to help make the refuges a more healthy system for the wildlife and the people who visit them. A system who's founder - President Theodore Roosevelt - would be proud of."

 

Defenders of Wildlife

"From protecting America's highest concentration of unique plants and animals, to restoring a population of 16,000 trumpeter swans from just 73 birds at the brink of extinction, to providing crucial stepping stones to other migratory birds, the first 100 years of the National Wildlife Refuge System have been a triumph," said Rodger Schlickheisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife. "But without adequate funding, the promise of the Refuge System over the coming century will be seriously compromised."

 

Ducks Unlimited

"Millions of sportsmen-conservationists, and other wildlife enthusiasts have a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the outdoors by visiting the National Wildlife Refuge system, said Don Young, Executive Vice President of Ducks Unlimited. "These special lands are responsible for keeping populations of waterfowl, shorebirds, and many other types of wildlife, abundant and healthy. Ducks Unlimited prides itself as being a long time partner on the refuge system, where we have teamed up on almost six hundred projects encompassing approximately three hundred thousand acres of wetlands and associated uplands. Our field biologists work cooperatively with the committed staffs on refuges to help design and maintain habitat that helps the Fish and Wildlife Service accomplish its mission. A significant amount of refuge lands were paid for with funds provided by sportsmen and women through the purchase of federal duck stamps. But acquiring lands for wildlife is not enough. Refuges need proper funding to most effectively manage the resource. As we look forward to the second century of the National Wildlife Refuge System, we thank Congress and the Administration for their support in the last several years and hope that these needs will be addressed even more in the years ahead."

 

Izaak Walton League of America

"America's National Wildlife Refuge System is one of the world's premier networks of land and water set aside to meet our natural resource stewardship responsibilities," said Paul Hansen, the League's executive director. "Its very existence reflects the incredible conservation vision of President Teddy Roosevelt and is a credit to our nation's hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching heritage. The Congress has taken steps in recent years to begin addressing this critical funding backlog. We know more must be done. For seven years the CARE Group has been tracking the Refuge System's funding needs and that trend data has led correctly to a request that Congress more than double the money available next year for refuge operations and maintenance in anticipation of the Refuge System's 100th birthday."

 

The Corps Network

"As stewards of their communities and the environment - both today and for the future - the 23,000 young adults enrolled in service and conservation corps across the country recognize the critical importance of the refuge system.," says Sally Prouty, President of The Corps Network. The Corps Network "is grateful to CARE for its incredible work supporting the health of the refuge system and believes that more needs to be done. It is time to provide the National Wildlife Refuge System with the appropriate resources it needs."

 

National Audubon Society

"The National Wildlife Refuge System is at a crossroads," said National Audubon Society President John Flicker. "Are we going to cheat future generations of this American treasure by bleeding its coffers dry? We are turning a source of national pride into a source of national shame. It is time to do the right thing."

 

National Rifle Association

"Almost a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt and other enlightened sportsmen established a system of public lands to safeguard America's wildlife resources," said James J. Baker, Ex Dir. of the Institute for Legislative Action, for the National Rifle Association. "The question today is whether our stewardship of the National Wildlife Refuge System measures up to the expectations of these visionary conservationists. The NRA believes that a sound base of financial support must be provided in order for us to live up to our stewardship responsibilities."

 

National Wildlife Federation

"All our National Wildlife Refuges are national treasures that we must do everything in our power to enhance the wildlife and wilderness values that American's hold dear," said Mark Van Putten, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

 

National Wildlife Refuge Association

"The National Wildlife Refuge System is a natural treasure for wildlife and people alike, but desperately requires increased funding to address the needs of both," said Evan Hirsche, President of the NWRA. "In these times of uncertainty, Americans are turning to national wildlife refuges across the country for comfort and reflection. Without sufficient funding for refuges, people and wildlife suffer."

 

Safari Club International

"In 1997, Congress recognized the importance of the National Wildlife Refuge System to sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts," said Peter J. Dart, Executive Director of Safari Club International. "SCI supports appropriate and responsible levels of funding to assure that these public lands are properly managed for their mission of wildlife conservation and for their benefits to the American public."

 

Trout Unlimited

"American anglers know well that the National Wildlife Refuge System includes 'fish' as well as 'wildlife'," said Charles Gauvin, Trout Unlimited's President and CEO. "Some of the nation's last best fish habitats are found in the Refuge System. While Congress has made substantial progress in recent years in fixing Refuge System problems, more needs to be done. We urge Congress to heed CARE group's funding proposals and make sure that the 'fish' stay firmly intact in the National Wildlife Refuge System."

 

U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance

"The National Wildlife Refuge System is an integral part of wildlife management programs across this country," said Walter P. Pidgeon, president and CEO of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance. "Adequate funding of this 'crown jewel' should be the backbone of any conservation plan before Congress."

 

The Wilderness Society

"The National Wildlife Refuge System protects many of America's most awe-inspiring natural wonders," said William H. Meadows, President of The Wilderness Society. "Our Refuge System must be healthy and well-managed if we are to preserve America's wild heritage for future generations."

 

Wildlife Forever

"A dollar spent to maintain wildlife refuges returns more benefits for wildlife and outdoor recreation than any competing conservation investment in America," said Douglas H. Grann, President and CEO, Wildlife Forever. "Congress should celebrate the National Wildlife Refuge System's second century by funding it at the level C.A.R.E. is recommending."

 

Wildlife Management Institute

"National Wildlife Refuges are a treasured part of the nation's natural resources, history, and culture," said Steven A. Williams, President of the Wildlife Management Institute. "We need greater investment in their operation and management to maintain and restore habitat and abundant fish and wildlife populations for the nearly 40 million people each year who visit our refuges to observe nature and engage in wildlife-dependent recreation, such as hunting and fishing.

 

The Wildlife Society

"Many refuges suffer from a shortage of professional wildlife biologists on staff," said Tom Franklin, Executive Director of the Wildlife Society. "This lack of technical expertise severely limits the Service's ability to adequately monitor wildlife populations and perform studies that are needed for the proper management of refuge biological resources."