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Fwd: Defenders of Wildlife Report Spotlights 10 National Wildlife ,Refuges Threatened by Global Warming

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  • Pat Neuman
    ... wrote: *The entire report can be viewed on line at http://www.defenders.org/refugesatrisk* Defenders of Wildlife Report Spotlights 10 National Wildlife
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 9, 2006
      --- In Paleontology_and_Climate@yahoogroups.com, Sonya <msredsonya@...>
      wrote:

      *The entire report can be viewed on
      line at http://www.defenders.org/refugesatrisk*

      Defenders of Wildlife Report Spotlights 10 National Wildlife
      <http://www.yubanet.com/artman/publish/article_43350.shtml>
      Refuges Threatened by Global Warming
      'The Entire Refuge System Faces an Uncertain Future Given Warming
      Predictions.'
      By: Defenders of Wildlife
      Published: Oct 6, 2006 at 06:53

      Global warming is the single greatest challenge threatening the National
      Wildlife Refuge System as a whole, according to a Defenders of Wildlife
      report that identifies 10 refuges demonstrating the dire consequences
      from global warming.

      "Global warming is occurring rapidly and these climate changes pose
      serious threats to wildlife and habitat," stated Rodger Schlickeisen,
      president of Defenders of Wildlife. "These changes can be seen
      throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System, which provides stark
      real-world examples of the effects of global warming today."

      The report, "Refuges at Risk, The Threat of Global Warming," is part of
      an annual assessment Defenders of Wildlife releases to gauge the state
      of the refuge system.

      "While this report focuses on the 10 most threatened refuges, the entire
      refuge system faces
      an uncertain future given the progress of global warming," said
      Schlickeisen.
      "To fulfill its wildlife conservation mission, the U.S. Fish and
      Wildlife Service must take immediate steps to deal with the impacts of
      global warming."

      The National Wildlife Refuge System was established by President
      Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 and now includes 545 refuges encompassing
      nearly 100 million acres. It is the largest network of lands in the
      world dedicated first and foremost to the protection of wildlife and
      habitat. Refuges support a rich spectrum of ecosystems and provide
      crucial habitat for more than 280 threatened and endangered plants and
      animals.

      Next week is National
      Wildlife Refuge Week, a time to celebrate and experience the beauty and
      wonders
      of these remarkable lands. Ninety-eight percent of all refuge lands are
      open to
      the public, drawing almost 40 million Americans annually to enjoy their
      natural
      wonders.

      "This incredible system serves as the cornerstone of wildlife
      conservation in America. Arctic tundra, Sonoran desert, coral reefs and
      diverse
      wetlands throughout the refuge system safeguard millions of migratory
      birds and
      hundreds of endangered species while also providing unparalleled
      recreational
      opportunities for millions of people each year," stated Schlickeisen.
      "We should
      be doing all we can to take the necessary, proactive steps to adapt to
      the
      change brought about by global warming while protecting the refuge
      system."

      "Reducing the impacts of global warming on national wildlife
      refuges and other critical wildlife habitat requires a two-pronged
      approach:
      reducing greenhouse gas emissions and planning for a changing future. We
      have
      the ingenuity to minimize the potential impacts of global warming. We
      also have
      to adapt to whatever obstacles global warming creates, however, while
      carrying
      out the nation's mission to protect our wildlife refuges," added
      Schlickeisen.
      "We cannot sit by and watch the only public lands devoted to wildlife
      protection
      wither away. There's simply too much at stake -- not only for us but for
      future
      generations."

      The report offers several ways that the U.S. Fish and
      Wildlife Service can address the threat that global warming poses to the
      refuge
      system. It suggests that the Service expand partnerships with businesses
      seeking
      credits for carbon sequestration, conserving energy and reducing
      greenhouse gas
      emissions. Most importantly, the report recommends the U.S. Fish and
      Wildlife
      Service begin considering the implications of global warming in its
      long-range
      conservation planning for each refuge.

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hampered in its ability to manage
      the refuge system due to enormous funding gaps.

      "The refuge system faces a huge budget shortfall that prevents the
      U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from adequately managing and restoring
      wildlife
      habitat, safely maintaining facilities and providing quality education
      and
      outdoor recreation programs for millions of visitors each year," added
      Schlickeisen.

      Defenders of Wildlife works with federal, tribal, state and
      local agencies, private organizations and landowners to protect
      America's
      national wildlife refuges. The goal of the Refuges at Risk report is to
      highlight the threats facing the wildlife refuge system in order to
      build public
      support for saving wildlife by safeguarding and nourishing the places
      where they
      live.

      Top 10 Refuges At Risk of Global Warming (in alphabetical
      order)

      Alligator River NWR, NC -- Home to endangered red wolves, the
      low-lying nature of the refuge constitutes its greatest vulnerability to
      global
      warming. The rise in sea level that is expected in the next century from
      global
      warming would inundate much of the refuge.

      Aransas NWR, TX -- The refuge
      protects the world's only wild population of endangered whooping cranes.
      Since
      the refuge is composed of low-lying coastal land with shallow estuarine
      marshes,
      the predicted rise in sea level from global warming would flood the
      marsh, erode
      beaches and possibly increase the salinity of rivers and
      groundwater.

      Arctic NWR, AK -- The largest refuge in the country, the
      Arctic refuge is the most important onshore denning area for polar bears
      in the
      United States. Over the past century, the average temperature of the
      Arctic has
      increased by 4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit. Sea ice is melting and
      permafrost is
      thawing, interfering with the migration of wildlife.

      Chincoteague NWR, VA
      -- While this barrier island has always experienced slow geologic change
      from
      ocean currents and weather, the pace of change is quickening due to
      global
      warming. If sea levels rise rapidly as predicted, wildlife habitat, as
      well as
      roads and facilities, on the refuge will be overwhelmed.

      Devil Lakes
      Wetland Management District, ND -- A waterfowl haven, this refuge is
      threatened
      by a projected increase in the frequency and severity of droughts due to
      global
      warming. The number of breeding ducks in the prairie pothole region
      could be cut
      in half.

      Hawaiian Islands NWR, HI -- Warmer sea temperatures, shifting
      currents, rising sea levels and sinking habitat are harming wildlife
      such as
      monk seals, seabirds and coral on this remote island chain. Scientists
      believe
      if this warming trend continues, many species of coral will go
      extinct.

      Kenai NWR, AK -- Known as "Little Alaska," this refuge is
      threatened by retreating glaciers, frequent forest fires, dry lakebeds
      and loss
      of lush wildlife habitat caused by global warming. Wetlands and ponds
      are drying
      up and lake levels are dropping. Invasive beetles, spurred by warmer
      temperatures, have devastated forests, severely damaging wildlife
      habitat.

      Merritt Island NWR, FL -- This gateway to the Kennedy Space
      Center is also home to 17 endangered and threatened species. As sea
      levels rise,
      this refuge's marshlands and a portion of its uplands will be inundated.
      Moreover, a higher water temperature contributes to an increase in toxic
      algal
      blooms which kill manatees and other sea life.

      Oregon Islands NWR, OR --
      Just last year a radically different weather pattern during the breeding
      season
      of 1.2 million seabirds disrupted offshore currents and damaged the food
      chain,
      resulting in the largest ever die-off of the common murre, the refuge's
      most
      populous seabird resident. Similar events are expected in the future,
      rippling
      through the food chain.

      Silvio O. Conte NWR, MA -- Projected rises in
      global temperatures of 2 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit may change the very
      nature of
      this refuge as well as the New England countryside. With projections
      that tree
      species will likely shift north by 200 miles, some wildlife species may
      not be
      able to adapt or migrate with the forest habitat. Earlier snow melts
      will lead
      to reduced stream flows and lowered oxygen levels by late summer,
      threatening
      the endangered shortnose sturgeon.

      The entire report can be viewed on
      line at http://www.defenders.org/refugesatrisk

      Defenders of Wildlife is
      recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for
      wildlife and
      its habitat. With more than 500,000 members and supporters, Defenders of
      Wildlife is an effective leader on endangered species issues.

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