COOPERATIVE ALLIANCE FOR REFUGE ENHANCEMENT
The Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) is a national coalition of 21 wildlife, sporting, conservation, and scientific organizations. Together, these organizations represent a national constituency numbering more than 14 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. CARE also works closely with the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus, a bipartisan group of 108 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from 34 states. Members of the Refuge Caucus recognize the intrinsic and economic importance of refuges and work together to secure strong investments to protect, conserve, and pass down these irreplaceable landscapes to future generations.
New Report Highlights Refuge Funding Needs!
Download the 2011 CARE Report!
Local Interest: Refuge Supporters Throughout the Country
America’s National Wildlife Refuge System, comprising 150 million acres, requires a minimum of $900 million annually to operate adequately. The report finds that:
Refuges face a $3.3 billion backlog in deferred maintenance and operations funding. Washed-out trails, leaking roofs, closed roads, and broken equipment are just a few of the problems currently waiting to be addressed on refuges nationwide. Unless funding is secured to address the backlog, many refuge facilities could deteriorate beyond repair.
Crime is a big problem in the Refuge System, yet only 213 officers patrol its more than 150 million acres. A minimum of 209 additional officers are needed (at an additional annual cost of $31.4 million) to protect refuge visitors and respond to crimes that include drug production and dealing, wildlife poaching, illegal border activity, assaults, and a variety of natural resource violations.
The Refuge System is fighting a losing battle against invasive plants and animals. Approximately 2.5 million acres of refuge lands are overrun with non-native invasive plants, while more than 4,000 invasive animal populations ravage millions more acres. The Refuge System needs at least $25 million per year to treat just one-third of its infested plant acreage and begin low-level control of invasive animals.
With the recent addition of more than 50 million acres of marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean, the Refuge System faces increased management, coordination, restoration, and law enforcement challenges. These increased responsibilities carry a price tag of between $18 and $35 million annually.
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 Wilderness Society
The Wildlife Society
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance
Wildlife Management Institute
ENDORSE CARE NOW!
statement of support from the individual organizations in
"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."
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.
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
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."
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."
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
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."
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."
Walton League of America
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
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 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
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."
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.
Wildlife Refuge Association
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."
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."
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
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."
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."
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 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.
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."