|National Wildlife Refuge Week Oct. 10-17|
|Written by Wild Nevada|
|Tuesday, 12 October 2010 09:06|
This week is National Wildlife Refuge Week, which means that across the country people are celebrating (and volunteering) in our nation’s 552 wildlife refuges and 38 wetlands areas… Think hiking, camping, paddling, hunting, trail-building, photography… or just lolly-gagging the time away in a beautiful place. There is at least one refuge (usually many more) in every state, and one within an hour’s drive of most cities. In Nevada we have nine of them, including the largest wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states, the Desert Refuge just outside Las Vegas.
Here is Nevada’s refuge line-up:
Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Desert National Wildlife Range
Fallon National Wildlife Refuge
Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge
Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge
You can find links to every one of them on this U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.
This year’s celebration focuses on wilderness lands, and we especially like that. And Congress—for the first time in history—passed a resolution recognizing National Wildlife Refuge Week. The resolution “recognizes the importance of national wildlife refuges to wildlife conservation and the protection of imperiled species and ecosystems” and “reaffirms the support of the Senate for wildlife conservation and the National Wildlife Refuge System.”
The resolution also “applauds the work of refuge Friends groups, national and community organizations, and public partners that promote awareness, compatible use, protection, and restoration of national wildlife refuges.” That would include us, the staff and members of Nevada Wilderness Project, since we work on wildlife connectivity issues on the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and management plans concerning the Sheldon Refuge and surrounding lands. It's nice to be recognized and nice to know that at least some members of Congress are paying attention to our collective conservation work.
There are so many dedicated people out there; across the country there are more than 220 refuge Friends groups. Some support a single refuge while others are connected to a refuge complex or an entire state. The resolution commends the more than 39,000 volunteers and the Friends organizations who contribute nearly 1.4 million hours annually — the equivalent of 665 full-time employees — to the betterment of national wildlife refuges. Even Ham Radio Operators are in on the action under the guise of their organization, The National Association of Amateur Radio, and will be broadcasting this week from several refuges across the country and reporting on volunteers’ efforts.
Last week, most of the Nevada Wilderness Project staff spent time in two refuges in the Great Basin: the Hart National Wildlife Refuge and the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. We saw some of the best habitat for pronghorn, deer, pygmy rabbits, raptors, sage grouse, and a whole lot more… petroglyphs, hot springs, rock formations, ancient lakes. Plans are brewing for additional conservation focused around these two areas, and we were there to explore these opportunities and breathe the fresh air.
We’re still cleaning up the camp equipment (and ourselves). But once we get back in the office for a few days of catch-up, we’ll download and edit our photos and video and get them posted. Stay tuned.
photo courtesy of the National Association of Amatuer Radio website.