August 10th, 2017

The Flyer Newsletter



America’s national wildlife refuges represent the enduring conservation values of all Americans. When Teddy Roosevelt set aside tiny Pelican Island in Florida as the nation’s first national wildlife refuge, he recognized that our wildlife heritage represented something far more valuable than simply sourcing bird feathers for the latest fashion trends.

Today, there are many federal policy and budget proposals under consideration in Congress that could severely harm our nation’s National Wildlife Refuge System.

In late July, the House passed legislation to build a road through congressionally designated wilderness in Izembek NWR in Alaska. If enacted into law, this would set a dangerous precedent for all national wildlife refuges and wilderness areas throughout the country. The House released its FY18 budget, which included instructions for the Natural Resources Committee to produce an additional $5 billion to offset budget cuts. We expect lawmakers to use this opportunity to try and open the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling, citing the potential to generate an additional $1.8 billion within the next 10 years. Santa Ana NWR, located in South Texas, may become ground zero for the construction of President Trump’s new border wall as the Department of Homeland Security seeks additional funding from Congress. We at the Refuge Association are monitoring these actions and are working closely with congressional leaders and partners to stop these proposals.


Clearly we need to support our refuges because of their incredible natural resource values, and it is imperative that our nation protects its investment in our national wildlife refuges. The impressive economic value of refuges is undeniable. Forty-eight million people visit national wildlife refuges every year generating $2.4 billion to local economies. More than 35,000 people are employed as a direct result of having a refuge nearby, resulting in almost $800 million in employment income.

 Refuge Friends Groups provide a 20 percent boost to the National Wildlife Refuge System workforce – the equivalent of 600+ full time employees and valued at $32 million per year.


Many refuge Friends call the experience the most meaningful in their lives. Their volunteer experience has not only deepened a commitment to the natural world, but also strengthened ties to their community. They will tell you that refuges are indispensible to wildlife and to our citizens.

Refuges always need new friends and supporters, now perhaps more than ever. We’re thankful for your continued support, and encourage you to get outside and experience your National Wildlife Refuge System.



Geoffrey Haskett



Summer Volunteer Internships are Wrapping Up!


As the summer comes to a close at the end of this month, many of our summer volunteer interns are finishing up their internships on national wildlife refuges across the country. They’ve participated in a wide variety of activities on national wildlife refuges, from hosting education programs to working with endangered species. Our volunteer internship program, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has proven to be an incredible experience for emerging wildlife and conservation professionals.


“This summer has been the best of my life and I know my partnership with the National Wildlife Refuge Association is far from over,” Laura Nasan, intern at Savannah NWR, GA.


“This is an experience I will cherish for life and am so grateful for the opportunity. I encourage everyone in the area to visit Lost Trail NWR and appreciate all it has to offer,” Maddie Cogar, intern at Lost Trail NWR, MT .


“This experience has given me an incredible opportunity to work with world-class professionals in the conservation field. I am very grateful that I’ve been able to work with the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge to help take the red-cockaded woodpecker off of the federally endangered species list,” Collin Mulchay, intern at Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee NWR, MS.


To learn more about our unique summer internship program in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, click here.


The Refuge Association also welcomed a summer Conservation Policy intern in the Association’s Washington, D.C. office. Through a program at Duke University funded by the generosity of Fred and Alice Stanback, Elliott Davis attended hearings, met with members of Congress and assisted our work on critical refuge policy issues. To learn more about Elliott’s experience, click here.



Mike Bryant Becomes New North Carolina and South Carolina Regional Representative

We are very excited to announce Mike Bryant, former Refuge Manager of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Complex in North Carolina, as the new the North Carolina and South Carolina Representative for the Refuge Association. Bryant has over 35 years of experience managing national wildlife refuges, 20 of which were spent overseeing nine refuges in North Carolina. Welcome to the team Mike!


We’re Hiring – Communications and Development Interns!


Are you passionate about the outdoors and wildlife? Do you love building and executing campaigns for non-profits? Do you love fostering relationships and connections on social media platforms? Are you able to think outside of the box? Do you enjoy writing and telling stories? Then we have a position for you!

We are hiring a Communications Intern to support our communications and development work for the National Wildlife Refuge Association. Click here to learn more!


We are also seeking a Development Intern to help identify and cultivate prospective donors, foundations, and grants. Click here to learn more about this fantastic opportunity!



Santa Ana NWR – Ground Zero for Trump’s Wall?


The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Army Corps of Engineers, and private contractors have begun to collect soil samples to identity opportunities to construct a border wall through Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in South Texas. The construction of the border wall could begin as early as November 2017. The wall would be damaging to the refuge, its wildlife, and surrounding communities. We oppose construction of the border wall and recommend that the Administration conduct a broader assessment on the most effective strategies and tactics for its intended purpose.


Arctic NWR – Drill Baby Drill!


In mid-July, the House released its Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which kicked off a legislative process to open up the Arctic Refuge to drilling. The House included reconciliation instructions directed to the House Natural Resources Committee to find a way to generate $5 billion in revenue to offset budget cuts outlined within the 2018 budget. The President’s FY18 Budget specifically called for drilling in the Arctic Refuge, claiming this would generate $1.8 billion over 10 years. As a result, the House Natural Resources Committee is determining whether or not to include Arctic Refuge drilling as part of the 2018 budget reconciliation bill.


Izembek NWR – Designated Wilderness Under Threat


Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Alaskan peninsula, is a globally significant wilderness area providing critical habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. This month, the House passed contentious legislation that would allow for the construction of an 11-mile road through the refuge’s wilderness to connect the town of King Cove to Cold Bay. This precedent-setting legislation undermines bedrock environmental laws and would cause irreversible damage to the refuge. We believe that there are alternative solutions to the road and we will continue to work with congressional leaders as the bill proceeds to the Senate.


We are also concerned that the Izembek road proposal could be included as a rider to must-pass spending bills.


Marine Monuments


The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) re-opened their public comment period to accept additional comments regarding the designation of marine national monuments until August 15th. NOAA attributed this unusual behavior to “public interest and requests for additional time.” If you haven’t commented yet, you still have more time to submit additional comments to protect our five marine national monuments – a vital part of our National Wildlife Refuge System. Take action today.


Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Protection (HELP) for Wildlife Act


This month, the Senate Environment and Public Works committee advanced the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Protection for Wildlife Act (HELP Act), which will reauthorize existing wildlife legislation including the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Act, and Neo-tropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act until 2023.


The legislation will further Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, establish several important government conservation programs, and provide regulatory clarity for sportsmen. Although we don’t agree with all provisions of the bill, it is a true compromise bill and thus we support its passage.


(C) Tandem Stills + Motion



Our Urban Refuge Program Continues to Move Forward


Do you know how many national wildlife refuges are identified as an urban refuge?


The USFWS has identified 101 refuges because they are within 25 miles of cities or counties with populations of 250,000 people or more. Of those identified, 14 are designated as regional priorities; the Refuge Association’s Urban Refuge Program has been working in close coordination with each of them to connect people to nature in a thoughtful and authentic way.


To achieve this mission our urban program:


  • Promotes the healthy benefits and ecological richness our urban area refuges offers cities and their surrounding communities;
  • Cultivates existing and fosters new community based relationships that lead to becoming a trusted ally, neighbor and partner;
  • Inspire and build support for our next generation of emerging leaders to create change that ultimately will lead to embracing and caring for the majestic wonders of our natural resources and public lands; and
  • Collaborate with federal agencies, local urban refuges, nonprofit organizations and Friends groups to create nature where we live, work, learn, play and pray that deepens connections and stewardship of the world’s largest network of public lands and waters for conservation – the National Wildlife Refuge System.


Click here to learn about the diverse approach and innovative models our regional priority urban refuges and community partnerships are doing to ensure all Americans have a deeper understanding, connection and appreciation of the future of wildlife conservation.

Read the rest of this entry »

July 20th, 2017

Refuges in the spotlight

Our San Diego Refuges are highlighted in the California Refuges spotlight on the FWS home page here.

Also, here is a promo video featuring our refuges:

April 3rd, 2017

San Diego’s efforts to save the Quino checkerspot butterfly are working

John Wilkens

An effort to save the Quino checkerspot butterfly from extinction appears to be working.

Biologists from several local agencies returned recently to a hillside in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, where they had placed butterfly larvae in specially constructed pods over the winter, and found that nature had taken its course: Quino checkerspots were flitting about.

“Observing more than 35 butterflies flying in one day on the reintroduction site is extraordinary,” said Paige Howorth, associate curator of invertebrates at the San Diego Zoo. “It’s a welcome measure of hope, after years of drought and uncertainty for this species.”

Quino checkerspots used to be among the most commonly seen butterflies in Southern California, their range extending from the coast near Ventura County, east to the Tehachapi Mountains and south to northern Baja.

Read the rest of this entry »

March 31st, 2017

Manatee Reclassified from Endangered to Threatened

Manatee Reclassified from Endangered to Threatened as Habitat Improves and Population Expands – Existing Federal Protections Remain in Place

Partnerships bringing giant sea cow back from brink of extinction

WASHINGTON – On the heels of Manatee Appreciation Day, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the downlisting of the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened. Notable increases in manatee populations and improvements in its habitat allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to change the species’ status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The downlisting comes after diverse conservation efforts and collaborations by Florida and other manatee states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Caribbean nations, public and private organizations and citizens, there have been notable increases in manatee populations and improvements in its habitat.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service has worked hand in hand with state and local governments, businesses, industry, and countless stakeholders over many years to protect and restore a mammal that is cherished by people around the world,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Without this type of collaboration and the commitment of state and local partners, this downlisting would not have been possible.”

In its review, FWS considered the status of the West Indian manatee throughout its range, which includes the Florida manatee subspecies, found primarily in the southeastern United States, and the Antillean manatee, found in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the Greater and Lesser Antilles. The downlisting means that the manatee is no longer considered in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, but is likely to become so in the foreseeable future without continued ESA protections. Read the rest of this entry »

March 21st, 2017

Zoonooz Features USFWS San Diego

Click on each image to enlarge:

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