Forsythe Refuge to Receive $867,600 Thanks to Duck Stamps

Sep 13, 2017
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill A bufflehead duck along the Wildlife Drive in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Rep. Frank LoBiondo announced last Thursday that two of the three South Jersey national wildlife refuges in his 2nd District are receiving a $1.3 million injection of federal funds.

The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, which spreads over 47,000 acres in Ocean and Atlantic counties including the local municipalities of Barnegat, Stafford, Little Egg Harbor and the Holgate section of Long Beach Township, will receive $867,600 from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, located in Salem County, will receive $440,300.

“The funds for this parcel will go towards clearing lands for the refuge, making new lands available for use by hunters in coming years,” said Virginia Rettig, Forsythe Refuge manager. “I appreciate the New Jersey DEP for helping to acquire this land and Congressman LoBiondo’s continued support for our refuges.”

“Few things garner the strong level of support as the nation’s wildlife refuges do,” said LoBiondo. “These treasured and protected areas offer enjoyment to both local residents and visitors while providing habitats to native wildlife. One of the unique characteristics of South Jersey is our refuges. This investment by the Interior Department and its conservation partners is welcome news to our region. I will continue to preserve and protect our wildlife refuges.”

The grants to the South Jersey refuges were part of a more than $5.4 million package from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve 2,259 acres in six national wildlife refuges, the two in the Garden State and one each in Maryland, Missouri, Texas and Montana. The approvals will improve refuge management capability and enable the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to open thousands of acres to public waterfowl hunting for the first time. These funds were raised largely through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly know as “Duck Stamps.”

“Hunting and fishing underpin the North American model of conservation, founded on the principles of sustainable use and access for all,” said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Sportsmen and women continue to be the engine behind the nation’s wildlife conservation efforts, as demonstrated by these Duck Stamp funds. The Duck Stamp puts hunting revenues back into public lands to improve access and enhance outdoor opportunities not just for millions of sportsmen and women, but for all Americans who spend time outdoors.”

For every dollar spent on Duck Stamps, 98 cents goes toward the acquisition or lease of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Duck Stamps – while required by waterfowl hunters as an annual license – are also voluntarily purchased by birders, outdoor enthusiasts and fans of national wildlife refuges who understand the value of preserving some of the most diverse and important wildlife habitats in our nation. Since 1934, the Federal Duck Stamp Program has provided more than $800 million for habitat conservation in the refuge system, which includes 566 wildlife refuges, with at least one in every state and U.S. territory.

Meanwhile, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, chaired by Zinke, approved $21.9 million in North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to conserve, enhance or restore 92,000 acres of lands for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds in 16 states.

NAWCA grants are targeted to projects that have public or private partners who provide matching funds.

— Rick Mellerup

rickmellerup@thesandpaper.net

 

 

 

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