FRIENDS OF ANAHUAC REFUGE
National Wildlife Refuge Association
The National Wildlife Refuge Association today announced its strong support for President Obama’s nomination of Sally Jewell to become the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Jewell is currently the CEO of Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) and has played an instrumental role promoting outdoor recreation with the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative. Her appreciation of nature and wild things as well as her knowledge of the economic benefits of our natural world will bring a unique perspective in the President’s
"Outdoor recreation generates over $1 trillion for our nation's economy and more than 8 million jobs,” said David Houghton, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. “Jewell will undoubtedly be an excellent leader for the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative and will continue to bring attention to our nation’s great public lands.”
Jewell has earned national recognition for her management skills of the nearly $2 billion outdoor equipment company, REI, and intimately understands the value of healthy ecosystems including the opportunities they provide for people to recreate and connect with the great outdoors.
“Sally Jewell has been a leader in the outdoor recreation industry using innovative strategies to protect and restore wildlife habitat throughout the Pacific Northwest and across the country; as Secretary of the Interior, she will have an opportunity to articulate and implement a larger conservation vision for the nation.” said Houghton. “We wish her a speedy confirmation and look forward to working with her to further the goals and mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Wildlife Refuge System.”
If confirmed by the Senate, Jewell will lead the Department of the Interiorun-the department responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources. Additionally, the department is charged with the administration of programs relating to Native peoples.
The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge Association is to conserve America’s wildlife
heritage for future generations through strategic programs that protect, enhance, and expand
the National Wildlife Refuge System and the landscapes beyond its boundaries that secure its
At Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, 16-year-old volunteer Jessica Flory wants to call your attention to a growing problem for wildlife. She’s wearing a dress she made from 87 balloons that refuge staff collected from a coastal island, where turtles mistake the mylar scraps for food and choke on them, and seabirds get strangled by balloon strings.
Balloons are just part of the mounting piles of manmade junk that now wash up on even the remotest world beaches, including those in the far Pacific and Alaska.
In photos and reports, wildlife biologists have documented harm to wildlife from the floating plastic, rubber and metal discards they call, collectively, “marine debris.”
Increasingly, staff at coastal wildlife refuges are spotlighting the problem and suggesting ways the public can help. Recent refuge actions include:
Both Eastern Shore of Virginia Refuge and nearby Chincoteague Refuge, 65 miles up the coast, display life-size sea turtle replicas, filled with sea debris, to show the harm done by ocean trash. The “trashtalkingturtles” were donated by the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team, which collects beached marine mammals and sea turtles, often full of balloons and plastic bags.
Says Lou Hinds, manager of Chincoteague Refuge, “There are many people who would never discard paper out a car window, yet have no problem releasing hundreds of balloons into the air. Unfortunately, Mother Earth pushes these things back to ground, and it’s a mess.”
Two recent natural disasters − Hurricane Sandy and the March 2011 tsunami in Japan – have increased public awareness of marine debris.
Last October, Superstorm Sandy blew boats, docks and trees onto shore in Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and New York. News accounts have cited refuges’ efforts to recover damaged wildlife habitat.
The 2011 tsunami sent an estimated 1.5 million tons of debris adrift toward Washington, Oregon and California. Sections of barnacle-covered docks have floated into Olympic National Park and Oregon waters, fueling worries that marine pests aboard could disrupt coastal ecosystems. Scientists scraped and blowtorched the docks, then trucked them away for breakup and disposal.
But drift litter is more than a storm phenomenon. A 2012 study submitted to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources by the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography found sea trash all along the Georgia coast. The study cited more than 170 pounds per month of plastic trash on the beaches of Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge.
There are small signs that awareness-raising efforts are having an impact.
“It feels satisfying to pick up as much trash as we did, but it’s also eye-opening and somewhat sad that this is what our world is becoming,” says Kodiak High School senior HiIris Blakeslee on a video she made about her Youth Conservation Corps team’s cleaning of Halibut Bay at Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
J.N. “Ding Darling” Refuge in Florida stopped the sale of single-use plastic bottles in September 2012. “It’s our way to take a stand on the marine debris issue,” said supervisory refuge ranger Toni Westland. Some visitors have congratulated the refuge on the move.
Jessica Flory, the balloon-dress girl, recalls a woman telling her that she’d never again send messages in balloons. “I never thought about the ones that don’t make it” to their destination, the woman told Flory.
Photos of marine debris on refuges: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/sets/72157631753678584/
Some Things You Can Do to Reduce Marine Debris
For more stories like this, visit: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/friends/newswire/
The Friends of Anahuac Refuge was established in 1997 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Anahuac, TX.
For questions, call the refuge office at 409-267-3337.
P.O. Box 1348
Anahuac, TX 77514
Refuge Office Address:
4017 FM 563, Anahuac, TX 77514