Major cuts to Midwest wildlife refuges

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to eliminate 20 percent of staff in national wildlife refuges

Kirsten Weir
Jan 29, 2007
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to cut jobs by 20 percent in the Midwest region's 54 national wildlife refuges, which together contain more than one million acres (more than 400,000 hectares) of public land and water across eight states. The budget of the National Wildlife Refuge System grew from $300 million in 2001 to $391 million in 2004, but has hovered around $380 million ever since. The FWS estimates it would need $16 million in additional funding each year just to cover increases in salaries, fuel, and other inflationary costs. "We just don't have enough money to make ends meet," Midwest refuge system chief Nita Fuller told The Scientist.The decision follows similar announcements from the Refuge System's Northeast and Southeast regions, where managers also expect to cut staff levels by roughly 20 percent over the next three years. The remaining five regions in the Refuge System...

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