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Archive for Saturday, May 24, 2008

Report: Wildlife refuges underfunded

May 24, 2008

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— America's wildlife refuges are so short of money that one-third have no staff, boardwalks and buildings are in disrepair, and drug dealers are using them to grow marijuana and make methamphetamine, a group pushing for more funding says.

"Without adequate funding, we are jeopardizing some of the world's most spectacular wildlife and wild lands," said Evan Hirsche, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and chairman of the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement.

The cooperative said in a report released Thursday to Congress that the nation's 548 refuges and the 100 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System - about the size of California - is underfunded by 43 percent. The refuge system needs at least $765 million a year but receives only $434 million, the report says.

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