Fwd: Defenders of Wildlife Report Spotlights 10 National Wildlife ,Refuges Threatened by Global Warming
- --- In Paleontology_and_Climate@yahoogroups.com, Sonya <msredsonya@...>
*The entire report can be viewed on
line at http://www.defenders.org/refugesatrisk*
Defenders of Wildlife Report Spotlights 10 National Wildlife
Refuges Threatened by Global Warming
'The Entire Refuge System Faces an Uncertain Future Given Warming
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
"To fulfill its wildlife conservation mission, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service must take immediate steps to deal with the impacts of
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
Next week is National
Wildlife Refuge Week, a time to celebrate and experience the beauty and
of these remarkable lands. Ninety-eight percent of all refuge lands are
the public, drawing almost 40 million Americans annually to enjoy their
"This incredible system serves as the cornerstone of wildlife
conservation in America. Arctic tundra, Sonoran desert, coral reefs and
wetlands throughout the refuge system safeguard millions of migratory
hundreds of endangered species while also providing unparalleled
opportunities for millions of people each year," stated Schlickeisen.
be doing all we can to take the necessary, proactive steps to adapt to
change brought about by global warming while protecting the refuge
"Reducing the impacts of global warming on national wildlife
refuges and other critical wildlife habitat requires a two-pronged
reducing greenhouse gas emissions and planning for a changing future. We
the ingenuity to minimize the potential impacts of global warming. We
to adapt to whatever obstacles global warming creates, however, while
out the nation's mission to protect our wildlife refuges," added
"We cannot sit by and watch the only public lands devoted to wildlife
wither away. There's simply too much at stake -- not only for us but for
The report offers several ways that the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service can address the threat that global warming poses to the
system. It suggests that the Service expand partnerships with businesses
credits for carbon sequestration, conserving energy and reducing
emissions. Most importantly, the report recommends the U.S. Fish and
Service begin considering the implications of global warming in its
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
habitat, safely maintaining facilities and providing quality education
outdoor recreation programs for millions of visitors each year," added
Defenders of Wildlife works with federal, tribal, state and
local agencies, private organizations and landowners to protect
national wildlife refuges. The goal of the Refuges at Risk report is to
highlight the threats facing the wildlife refuge system in order to
support for saving wildlife by safeguarding and nourishing the places
Top 10 Refuges At Risk of Global Warming (in alphabetical
Alligator River NWR, NC -- Home to endangered red wolves, the
low-lying nature of the refuge constitutes its greatest vulnerability to
warming. The rise in sea level that is expected in the next century from
warming would inundate much of the refuge.
Aransas NWR, TX -- The refuge
protects the world's only wild population of endangered whooping cranes.
the refuge is composed of low-lying coastal land with shallow estuarine
the predicted rise in sea level from global warming would flood the
beaches and possibly increase the salinity of rivers and
Arctic NWR, AK -- The largest refuge in the country, the
Arctic refuge is the most important onshore denning area for polar bears
United States. Over the past century, the average temperature of the
increased by 4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit. Sea ice is melting and
thawing, interfering with the migration of wildlife.
Chincoteague NWR, VA
-- While this barrier island has always experienced slow geologic change
ocean currents and weather, the pace of change is quickening due to
warming. If sea levels rise rapidly as predicted, wildlife habitat, as
roads and facilities, on the refuge will be overwhelmed.
Wetland Management District, ND -- A waterfowl haven, this refuge is
by a projected increase in the frequency and severity of droughts due to
warming. The number of breeding ducks in the prairie pothole region
could be cut
Hawaiian Islands NWR, HI -- Warmer sea temperatures, shifting
currents, rising sea levels and sinking habitat are harming wildlife
monk seals, seabirds and coral on this remote island chain. Scientists
if this warming trend continues, many species of coral will go
Kenai NWR, AK -- Known as "Little Alaska," this refuge is
threatened by retreating glaciers, frequent forest fires, dry lakebeds
of lush wildlife habitat caused by global warming. Wetlands and ponds
up and lake levels are dropping. Invasive beetles, spurred by warmer
temperatures, have devastated forests, severely damaging wildlife
Merritt Island NWR, FL -- This gateway to the Kennedy Space
Center is also home to 17 endangered and threatened species. As sea
this refuge's marshlands and a portion of its uplands will be inundated.
Moreover, a higher water temperature contributes to an increase in toxic
blooms which kill manatees and other sea life.
Oregon Islands NWR, OR --
Just last year a radically different weather pattern during the breeding
of 1.2 million seabirds disrupted offshore currents and damaged the food
resulting in the largest ever die-off of the common murre, the refuge's
populous seabird resident. Similar events are expected in the future,
through the food chain.
Silvio O. Conte NWR, MA -- Projected rises in
global temperatures of 2 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit may change the very
this refuge as well as the New England countryside. With projections
species will likely shift north by 200 miles, some wildlife species may
able to adapt or migrate with the forest habitat. Earlier snow melts
to reduced stream flows and lowered oxygen levels by late summer,
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
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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