Defenders of Wildlife welcomes Interior Department's new vision for national wildlife refuges

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Interior Secretary Ken Salazar sets a course for conservation in new vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System

WASHINGTON (10/20/2011) -

Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife’s president and former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, welcomed the Obama administration’s effort to frame a new conservation vision for the more than 150 million acres that make up America's National Wildlife Refuge System.

The new vision document released by the Interior Department today gives refuge officials a roadmap for managing these special conservation lands to address emerging threats and challenges such as climate change that weren’t considered in 1999 when the last refuge system vision statement was put in place.

The following is a statement from Defenders’ President, Jamie Rappaport Clark:

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s updated vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System will help ensure that it continues to anchor the conservation of our nation’s wildlife heritage in the face of the rapid transformations in the environment and in our society. Climate change was not a central concern in wildlife management when the last refuge vision statement was developed in the late 1990’s, but it certainly is a major concern today. This new vision reflects that shift and charts a course for enhanced wildlife conservation in the 21st century.

“While the vision lights a way forward, the success of the document will be measured each day in the field, wildlife refuge by wildlife refuge. It’s up to all of us -- conservation groups, ranchers, farmers, hunters, anglers, communities, and federal and state land management agencies -- to ensure that this vision becomes a reality. This means working together to add new lands to the refuge system that promote the conservation of a wide diversity of wildlife; to ensure that refuges have the financial resources needed to protect wildlife and provide a high-quality experience for all Americans; and to adapt and modify the way we manage refuges to protect wildlife and habitat from the impacts of climate change.”


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a new vision to guide the refuge system through the next decade. As we at Defenders prioritizes biodiversity conservation both within and beyond refuge boundaries and working to ensure an implementation strategy to achieve it.  


Learn more about Defenders’ work for improving the National Wildlife Refuge System.


James Navarro, 202-772-0247

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