Cast Your Vote on Future of National Wildlife Refuge System
Our nation's National Wildlife Refuge System plays a vital role in preserving habitat for birds in key migratory areas including Bosque del Apache, Aransas, J.N. "Ding" Darling, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuges, to name but a few.
The refuge system was created to protect, manage and restore habitat for migratory birds — often waterfowl or shorebirds. Many are actively managed to provide food or shelter for birds at specific times of the year. Active management may also provide habitat for a variety of shorebirds, wading birds, songbirds, raptors, and others.
The future of the National Wildlife Refuge System is currently in debate, and experts are soliciting feedback from citizens (including hunters and bird watchers like us) on where future investments should be made. As birders and those who care about wildlife, this is our time to vote.
For example, many birders have advocated the idea of a "Duck Stamp" for birders and wildlife viewers. Based on the example set by hunters, whose licenses and duck stamps help pay for the upkeep and management of the refuges where they hunt, a "Migratory Bird" Stamp (or some such name) would be purchased by those of us who like to ogle, not shoot, birds.
Such a stamp would give us a chance to support the protection and management of wildlife refuges, and substantially increase the trackability of our lobby (see Ted Eubanks Bird Brained post in which he says "We count hunters and anglers by licenses sold. How do we count bird people? Poorly, I am afraid."). Besides that, the funding helps to ensure we'll have birds to look at well into the future.
As of today, only 117 votes for the "Duck Stamp" were cast. Is that all of us? Really? C'mon people. Birders have a long way to go to substantiate our lobby.
Responses will be collated and discussed by birding advocates such as Paul Baicich at the upcoming USFWS National Wildlife Refuge Vision Conference this July. Let's give Paul some great numbers and ideas to work with.
Vote on the "Duck Stamp" issue, and others, or offer your own BOLD IDEA right now.
- Background: Conserving the Future home page: AmericasWildlife.org
- Voting page: http://ideas.americaswildlife.org/forums/96077-bold-ideas
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