Sep 20, 2007

Saving Our Refuges

“Imagine a network of federal lands and waters designed to sustain healthy ecosystems. Resource managers, taking advantage of appropriate opportunities, would restore degraded habitat and enhance the diversity of wildlife. The network would comprise hundreds of individual units, administered in a coordinated fashion to achieve large-scale goals such as supporting migratory animals and maintaining regional variations in biodiversity. It would facilitate connections between habitats to allow species to escape disturbance and disease, and to adapt to climate change. Such a system would serve as a refuge for animals and plants, especially those imperiled by activities on private lands. However, it would permit a wide range of other uses that do not interfere with the central conservation mission of the system. These compatible uses would build a form of sustainable development that allows people to prosper and enjoy the public lands without impairing living resources for future generations. This is the aspiration for the National Wildlife Refuge System.”

From the book The National Wildlife Refuges: Coordinating a Conservation System through Law by Robert L. Fischman

blue goose signMr. Fischman’s wonderful summary helps us envision all that America’s National Wildlife Refuge System could be if the political will existed to make it so. But in the present-day world, reality is much different. The Refuge System faces numerous obstacles — biological, financial, legal, and political -– that prevent it from accomplishing its ambitious mission, which “is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.”

The purpose of this weblog — or blog — is to monitor the health and well being of America’s national wildlife refuges. Please visit the “About” page for details on the author and for the blog goals.

America was very fortunate that in 1903, Teddy Roosevelt began what is now called the National Wildlife Refuge System –- the greatest network of wildlife conservation lands in the world, and the only federal lands in America where wildlife is supposed to come first.

I hope in time you will become a supporter and advocate for these remarkable lands and the many unique American species that these ecosystems protect.

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