The Flyer E-Newsletter June 2017

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FROM THE PRESIDENT:

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I hope that you had a great long weekend celebrating the Fourth of July with friends and family. It has been a very busy month for the National Wildlife Refuge Association and for the Refuge System.

In June, we hosted our annual board meeting at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge with partners, colleagues, and dear friends. I would like to give a special thank you and shout out to the Project Leader of the Bay Complex, Anne Morkill, and her amazing staff for hosting a great Partner’s Day with over 50 participants. It is a testament to the collaborative relationships that the refuge complex has built with members of their communities to protect the San Francisco Bay. I grew up by the Refuge so it was a wonderful homecoming for me as well. I also want to give a special thank you to Board Member, Janice Mondavi, for hosting an amazing reception and fundraiser at the Charles Krug winery for our partners and new supporters.

The National Wildlife Refuge System continues to face immense challenges this summer. The Department of the Interior has begun their promised personnel realignment with notices sent to several senior executive service employees. Six of these key positions were within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The individuals impacted were directed to move to other positions in other Bureaus with no notice and no previous discussions of any kind – hardly the way to improve morale with the troops in already tense and trying times.

The Administration’s budget proposal for the Refuge System and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are dismal. We’ve seen Secretarial Orders to review Monuments and Conservation lands across the country. The Artic NWR is in danger again of being opened for oil and gas development and the proposed road to be built through the wilderness at Izembek NWR is again being pushed forward. WE will continue the fight to defend these emerging threats.

To combat these issues, the Refuge Association is mobilizing Friends Groups and volunteers across the country to talk to their Congressional leaders about the importance of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Our nation continues to be divided in many ways. Let’s not forget that even in these highly politicized times that our refuges are places where communities come together to connect with nature, wildlife, and build stronger relationships with friends and family.

Thank you so much for being the friend and supporter of the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey Haskett

President 

ON THE REFUGE:

Friends of Bombay Hook Joined Us at Firefly
Friends of Bombay Hook Joined Us at Firefly

Firefly Music Festival Attracts Tens of Thousands

For the past five years, Dover, Delaware has hosted the Firefly Music Festival, which attracts over 100,000 music fans from across the country to see their favorite artist take the main stage. This year, the National Wildlife Refuge Association was a non-profit partner for the festival, thanks to our collaboration with EFFECT Partners and CLIFF Green Notes. The festival grounds, located right outside of Dover Speedway, is only a 5 minute drive from the quaint Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge tucked away in the Delaware Bay. We worked closely with the Friends of Bombay Hook to invite festival goers to their nearest national wildlife refuge and to educate them about the importance of protecting our wildlife refuges.

REFUGE ASSOCIATION NEWS:

Empowering the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders in the Everglades

Soul River Inc. and the Refuge Association are immensely grateful to all of our partners, hosts and contributors for your support and generosity in making sure our SRI LEAD youth leaders experienced the wonders of the Everglades and South Florida. This unique leadership opportunity allowed these young adults to network with key conservation professionals and learn about the challenges Floridians face in conserving and protecting this fragile wetland ecosystem.

Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Blackbeard’s Ranch, Jim Strickland
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Florida Conservation Group
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commissioner & Rancher Liesa Priddy and her husband Russell Priddy
Integrated Interventions, LLC, Terry and Angela Edelmann
J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge
NWRA Board Member, Dragana Connaughton
NWRA Florida and Gulf Coast Program Manager, Julie Morris
Orvis Fly Fishing
Panther National Wildlife Refuge, USFWS Partners Biologist, Erin Myers
State Representative Rick Roth of Roth Farms
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

President Geoffrey Haskett and VP of Government Affairs, Desiree Groves
President Geoffrey Haskett and VP of Government Affairs, Desiree Groves

Celebrating Our Friends and Partners in California 

In late June, National Wildlife Refuge Association hosted its board meeting outside of Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Hosted by staff at the refuge, over 50 friends and colleagues attended Partner’s Day, where we discussed and celebrated the great work being conducted throughout the Bay to protect the heart of San Francisco.

After the board meeting, Board Member Janice Mondavi hosted a fantastic reception for the board and our dearest partners at the Charles Krugg winery, located in the heart of Napa Valley. The event was well attended as we celebrated next steps forward for the Refuge Association.

INSIDE WASHINGTON:

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Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program 

Good news for the Refuge System! Senator Barrasso’s (R-WY) bill, reauthorizing the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program passed the Senate! The WILD Act (S. 826) boosts authorized funding levels for the Partners Program from $75 million to $100 million and extends authorization for the program through FY22.

The Partners Program, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary this year, encourages partnerships between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and willing private landowners to implement habitat restoration projects on private lands. Landowners receive technical and financial expertise from the USFWS to complete their desired project, and the newly restored habitat contributes to effective wildlife conservation across entire landscapes.

  1. 826 now heads to the House where we will work with the Partners for Conservation to secure final passage and ultimately, the President’s signature.

 Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

On June 27, the House Committee on Natural Resources voted to advance the “King Cove Road Land Exchange Act” to the House floor. This bill (H.R. 218), sponsored by Alaska Representative Don Young, would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to transfer Izembek National Wildlife Refuge wilderness lands to the State of Alaska for the construction of an 11-mile road.

In 2013, then-Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell supported a FWS finding that the road proposal should be rejected due to the significant negative impacts it would have on wildlife, habitat, and the wilderness character of Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. The Alaska congressional delegation has continued to introduce legislation to force construction of the road anyway.

While it is unfortunate that H.R. 218 was voted out of committee, standalone legislation is ultimately unlikely to pass in the Senate. Instead, we expect Izembek Road proponents to try and add a rider authorizing construction of the road to must-pass funding legislation. We will continue to work with Refuge System champions in Congress and our conservation partners to prevent construction of this road through the heart Izembek National Wildlife Refuge’s wilderness.

Learn more and Take Action to stop this harmful measure.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 

In last month’s edition of The Flyer, we highlighted President Trump’s FY18 Budget recommendation to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Only nine days after the President’s budget was released, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed an executive order directing the U.S. Geological Survey to update their estimates of potential oil reserves beneath the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain.

While the Trump Administration has clearly demonstrated their preferred future for the Arctic Refuge, the final decision lies with the U.S. Congress – and don’t forget, they work for YOU. It is important to continually demonstrate your support for a permanently protected Arctic Refuge to your lawmakers.

To help bolster our efforts to defend the Arctic Refuge, we have launched a Facebook fundraising campaign to generate $15,000 by July 20. If you are able, please consider donating to our Arctic Refuge fundraiser by clicking here.

National Monuments Review Executive Order 

The public comments for President Trump’s National Monument Review are due by Monday, July 10. Six of our Refuge System national monuments are included in this review:

  • Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
  • Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument
  • Marianas Trench Marine National Monument
  • Rose Atoll Marine National Monument
  • Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument
  • Hanford Reach National Monument

In total, 27 of our national monuments are at risk (click here for the complete list). Once the review is complete, Secretary Zinke will submit his recommendations to Congress and the President. These recommendations will include whether to adjust the boundaries, change management and protections afforded by each monument, or attempt to completely rescind a monument.

Since 1906, Presidents from both sides of the aisle have used the Antiquities Act to protect our nation’s most important natural, cultural, and historical sites for the benefit of all Americans. Take action today to demonstrate your support for our national monuments and urge this Administration to leave them intact for all and future generations to enjoy.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Polar bear stretching after nap Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Alaska,USA

Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Last week, we launched our Arctic National Wildlife Refuge fundraising campaign to support our efforts to protect and conserve the crown jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Since the passage of landmark legislation in 1980 to protect Alaska’s wild landscapes, we have fought to protect this last frontier, the Arctic Refuge. In that landmark 1980 legislation, an agreement was struck to open Prudhoe Bay for oil and gas exploitation and to expand the Arctic Refuge to 19.6 million acres and to create a vast wilderness area. In the coastal plain of the refuge, Congress mandated a study to determine whether the areas should be wilderness or opened for oil and gas development. While there is oil in the coastal plain, experts agree that oil and gas development in this area would permanently and irreversibly disrupt the ecological integrity of the refuge.

The Trump Administration has proposed to extract $1.8 billion worth of oil from the Arctic Refuge over the next 10 years, and Congress is likely to take up the issue this summer as part of the FY 2018 Budget process. Your assistance will help us talk to Members of Congress and the Administration and fight back this effort to destroy the unique wildland values of this world-class natural area.

Support your National Wildlife Refuge System and preserve our American wildlife heritage today! 

 

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