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New Spotlight on National Wildlife Refuge System

Congressmen Michael Castle (R-DE) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) complete the bipartisan leadership foursome that will work to insure an active and successful program to help improve America's National Wildlife Refuge System. As of July 10, caucus membership included the following 25 Representatives:

Spencer Bachus (AL), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Ed Case (HI), Michael Castle (DE), John Dingell (MI), Lloyd Doggett (TX), Michael Fitzpatrick (PA), Wayne Gilchrest (MD), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Rush Holt (NJ), Nancy Johnson (CT), Mark Kennedy (MN), Dale Kildee (MI), Ron Kind (WI), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Martin Meehan (MA), Michael Michaud (ME), George Miller (CA), Frank Pallone (NJ), Donald Payne (NJ), Jim Saxton (NJ), Robert Simmons (CT), Fortney Pete Stark (CA), Mike Thompson (CA), and Robert Wexler (FL).

Primary caucus purposes include:

  • To raise awareness of our Refuge System
  • To create a voice for National Wildlife Refuges in Congress
  • To support adequate Refuge System budgets
  • To support the six priority public activities on refuges as outlined in the 1997 Refuge Improvement Act (hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife and habitat photography, environmental education and interpretation).
  • To support strategic growth of the Refuge System

Many refuge system supporting organizations, including the Blue Goose Alliance, welcome this desirable attention on the Refuge System, and are actively working to enlist founding members across the nation. Organizations supporting the formation and development of the Caucus include the National Wildlife Refuge Association, Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife, Wildlife Management Institute, and The Wilderness Society, among others.

There are currently more than 545 refuges in the System; and it is highly desirable to have caucus members from all districts containing refuges. Alliance affiliates are encouraged to write or call their representatives and encourage them to become active caucus participants. If your representative has already joined the caucus, a letter of thanks is warranted and helpful. Given recent stagnation in refuge budgets and numerous urgent problems within the leadership and management structure of the System, it is timely and helpful to have Congress develop a specific caucus for its needs.

The Alliance salutes the Congressional Caucus leadership for their vision, and we thank them for their important efforts on behalf of the National Wildlife Refuge System.