Press Release | February 1, 2024

FWS proposes Wildlife Refuge regulation updates to address climate change threats

WASHINGTON— Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed new regulations and policy language regarding the National Wildlife Refuge System. FWS said these new proposals will update existing Biological Integrity, Diversity, and Environmental Health (BIDEH) policy and create new rules that will guide management of national wildlife refuges. There are more than 60 Wildlife Refuges across the South, serving as much-needed sanctuaries for a wide range of species. Ensuring that these spaces are properly managed for their intended wildlife conservation purposes is key in the face of climate change and habitat loss. 

In response, the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Wildlife Program Leader, Ramona McGee, released the following statement:

“The South’s diversity of animal and plant species is globally significant. As development and climate change threaten Southern species, Wildlife Refuges serve as much needed sanctuaries. There’s a reason they are called “refuges”—they are intended to be places where wildlife, including imperiled and endangered species, can safely flourish from human-caused threats.

“The statutes governing our National Wildlife Refuge System limit certain activities and uses that would undermine the conservation purposes of Wildlife Refuges. Today’s proposal will help advance and affirm the fundamental purposes for which refuges were established, while incorporating needed updates to account for threats from climate change. We look forward to working with the Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure our beloved refuges in the South are managed to preserve their integrity and protect our rich biodiversity.”

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