Date: November 13, 2006
Contact: Gary Appelson
Phone: (352) 373-6441
The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (Carr Refuge), designated by Congress in 1989 to protect threatened and endangered sea turtles, is now itself threatened. The Carr Refuge was established in the hope of saving one of the most important sea turtle nesting sites in the world and is the only refuge in the continental U.S. specifically established to protect sea turtle nesting populations.
As a result of Federal budget cuts, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) developed a Southeast Region work force plan that will eliminate all but two positions at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge and its “sister refuge” next door, the Pelican Island NWR. The two refuges are managed jointly. These staffing cuts represent almost 70% of their staff.
According to the USFWS, the impacts of the planned cuts starting in 2007 include: reduced capacity for repairs and upkeep of facilities; the closure of certain areas to the public due to lack of staffing; elimination of sea turtle surveys in the Florida Keys National Wildlife complex; and the elimination of the environmental education programs and three staff positions at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.
Earlier this year the House Appropriations Committee approved $388.7 million in Refuge System funding. When inflation and increases in salaries, rents, cost-of-living adjustments, energy prices, increasing levels of visitor services and wildlife management requirements are taken into account, this would be an effective cut in refuge funding of approximately $17 million. At least $415 million is needed in 2007 just to cover increased costs.
So far the Senate has proposed a budget of only $391.2 million, slightly higher than the House, but still too low to cover the immediate needs of the Refuge System.
In response to environmental groups and citizen concerns, Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Jim Saxton (R-NJ), along with Representatives Michael Castle (R-DE) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), established the Wildlife Refuge Caucus to advance issues important to our National Wildlife Refuge System. The purpose of the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus is to help raise awareness of the Refuge System and create a voice for refuges in Congress to support adequate Refuge System budgets, recreational and educational activities outlined in the Refuge Improvement Act, and strategic growth of the Refuge System.
While federal budget decisions for the Wildlife Refuge system are made in Washington, decisions regarding individual refuges are made at the regional level. When contacting Sam Hamilton, please ask him to restore funding for staff and management at the ACNWR. Remind him that the refuge protects one of the most important nesting beaches on earth for loggerhead sea turtles. Cutting 70% of the staff seriously jeopardizes this nesting population.
Please contact Sam Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director for USFWS, your Senators and your Representative and ask them not to short-change the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge and other coastal Refuges important to sea turtle conservation that are targeted for staff reduction!
* Contact Sam Hamilton, the USFWS Southeast Regional Director and let him know not to cut funding, staff and educational programs at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge and all the Refuges that work to monitor and protect sea turtles in the Southeast United States!
Sample Letter to Sam Hamilton.
Send an email to Sam Hamilton right now!
* Contact your U.S. Representative and urge them to support the National Wildlife Refuge system and specifically support staff funding for the Archie Carr & Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuges. Express your displeasure with the House budget and ask your Representative to join the House Wildlife Refuge Caucus.
Sample Letter to your Representative.
* The Senate budget has not been voted on yet so this is a critical time to contact your U.S. Senators. Ask them to support adequate and increased funding for the Refuge system, marine surveys in the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge, and research and public outreach positions for the Archie Carr & Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuges.
Sample Letter to your Senators.
Key People to Contact:
NOTE: In addition to contacting your congressional representatives, it is especially important to contact, or send a copy of your letter to, Senator Bill Nelson and Representative Dave Weldon of Florida. They represent the districts that include the Carr Refuge. When contacting Senator Nelson and Representative Weldon, please keep in mind that both have been strong supporters of the Archie Carr Refuge. Letters to either of them should include thanks for past support and encouragement for continued support at this critical time.
|U.S. House of Representatives
|U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
|Sam Hamilton, Regional Director
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Southeast Regional Headquarters
1875 Century Blvd, Suite 400
Atlanta, GA 30345
|Representative Dave Weldon
(Represents and supports the Carr Refuge)
332 Cannon House Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20515
Contact through US House email form
|Senator Bill Nelson
(Supports the Carr Refuge)
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Contact via email (Select Topic “Budget”)
|Senator Mel Martinez
317 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Contact via email (Select Topic “Appropriations”)