Defenders of Wildlife Report, Refuges at Risk, Wins Top Award from National Association of Conservation Groups

(12/06/2006) - Washington, D.C. -- A report by Defenders of Wildlife, Refuges at Risk, The Threat of Global Warming: America's 10 Most Endangered National Wildlife Refuges 2006, was named "Most Effective Action on Federal Policy" by the Natural Resources Council of America (NRCA), a national association of more than 85 national and regional environmental and conservation organizations, at its Annual Conservation Community Awards ceremony. The NRCA gave Defenders its prestigious Award of Achievement in recognition of the report's outstanding efforts to describe the impact global warming is having on the National Wildlife Refuge System.

"We're honored and grateful that the nation's environmental and conservation community has recognized our Refuges at Risk report" stated Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife. "We wrote the report to highlight the threat that global warming poses to our nation's wildlife and the refuge system, and the NRCA award will help generate the public attention that these concerns warrant."

Refuges at Risk, The Threat of Global Warming is part of an annual assessment released by Defenders of Wildlife on the state of the refuge system. The report describes the threats facing the refuge system, and seeks to build public support for saving wildlife by safeguarding the places where the wildlife live.

"Reducing the impacts of global warming on national wildlife refuges and other critical wildlife habitat requires a two-pronged approach: reducing greenhouse gas emissions and planning for a changing future," stated Schlickeisen. "Ecological changes from global warming are occurring rapidly now and are seriously threatening wildlife and habitat. We have the ingenuity to minimize the future potential impacts of global warming, but we must also address the impacts of global warming already underway."

The refuge system includes 545 refuges encompassing nearly 100 million acres. It supports a rich spectrum of ecosystems and provides crucial habitat for more than 280 threatened and endangered plants and animals. Nearly 40 million people visit refuges each year.

The 10 refuges at risk of global warming highlighted in the report include (in alphabetical order): Alligator River NWR, NC; Aransas NWR, TX; Arctic NWR, AK; Chincoteague NWR, VA; Devil Lakes Wetland Management District, ND; Hawaiian Islands NWR, HI; Kenai NWR, AK; Merritt Island NWR, FL; Oregon Islands NWR, OR; Silvio O. Conte NWR, MA.

A copy of the report can be found online here.



Deborah Bagocius, (202) 772-0239