From: Jim Eddy
President, Friends of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge
What a special way to end the year 2007 for the National Wildlife Refuge System! President George W. Bush and the Congress agreed to fund the National Wildlife Refuge System at $434.1 million for the fiscal year 2008. This represents a $39 million dollar increase for the System.
The President and Congress have directed the focus of this funding should be used to "reestablish basic operating capacity and staffing shortfalls at the refuges nationwide...and begin to alleviate shortfalls identified in the workforce plans." This emphasis means the Upper Mississippi River Refuge Complex can look forward to more staffing for research, outreach to the public and law enforcement.
This remarkable achievement for the National Wildlife Refuge System is the result of a bipartisan effort. For example, the U.S. House of Representatives has a bipartisan Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus of 140 members co-chaired by Congressmen Jim Saxton (R-NJ) and Ron Kind (D-WI).
Yes, the National Wildlife Refuges have now achieved the kind of support assuring the continuation of this important resource. Of course this could not have happened without the national leadership of this country hearing from citizens identified with the Friends of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge Complex, local friends groups and our national 22 friends groups identified with the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement and the National Wildlife Refuge Association. Thank you.