02:00 PM

For the first time, Senate formally recognizes National Wildlife Refuge Week

Resolution hails the economic and environmental benefits of wildlife refuges


  • Defenders commends the U.S. Senate for passing a resolution, for the first time, recognizing Oct. 10-16 as National Wildlife Refuge Week
  • The resolution reaffirms the importance of the National Wildlife Refuge System to the conservation of America’s wildlife, and to the nation’s economy and outdoor recreation opportunities
WASHINGTON (09/24/2010) -

The following is a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president for Defenders of Wildlife and former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

“For more than 100 years, the National Wildlife Refuge System has provided a sanctuary for wildlife, safeguarding unique habitats and offering recreational opportunities for wildlife watchers, hunters and fishermen, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Today, the Refuge System is more important than ever, serving on the front lines of the fight against the impacts of climate change on our nation’s rarest birds, fish, plants and animals.

“The Senate’s action today is particularly important in light of this growing threat. Refuges pump millions of dollars into our nation’s economy each year, and help to employ thousands of Americans. But these benefits depend on healthy lands, water and wildlife. We’re grateful to the leadership of Senator Kaufman, who spearheaded this effort along with Senators Crapo, Cardin, Casey, Murray, Lincoln, Landrieu, Burris, Udall (CO), Bingaman, Kerry, Shaheen, Feinstein, Bennett (CO), Feingold, Cantwell, Corker, Reed, Udall (NM), Pryor, Stabenow, Whitehouse, Inouye, Alexander and Levin.”


The National Wildlife Refuge System is the only system of federal lands dedicated primarily to wildlife conservation. The Refuge System boasts more than 150 million acres on 552 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts, offering a crucial sanctuary for America’s fish, wildlife and plants, and providing an estimated $1.7 billion and 27,000 jobs to local economies. The Refuge System, plagued by staffing shortages and a funding backlog of more than $3.7 billion, is under pressure from the harmful impacts of climate change, invasive species, and oil and gas development within its boundaries.

National Wildlife Refuge Week has been celebrated during the second week of October since 1996, but this is the first time Congress has officially recognized the occasion. Refuge Week offers events around the country including festivals, guided tours and other educational opportunities.


Learn more about Defenders' work on wildlife refuges.


James Navarro, Defenders of Wildlife