The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, as defined by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 is:
“...to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.”
from: Comprehensive Conservation Plan St. Vincent NWR 2012
Reading this article seems , to quote Yogi Berra, like 'deja vu all over again' . One of the prime missions of Friends groups is to support Refuges. If you visit our Refuges, you may not notice any Refuge employees, because staff cuts along the whole system mean that many Refuges have no staff at all. The Friends and USFWS Volunteers work hard to supplement and support the work of all Refuges to help alleviate the staffing and funding shortages. St. Vincent , according to the 2012 'Comprehensive Conservation Plan for St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge', should have nine employees to properly fufill their mission.
St. Vincent is operating at one third of the staffing levels necessary , according to this plan, to sucessfully administer the Refuge. The funding levels of the Refuge system as a whole have been consistently cut every year, meaning not only are the current operations of all Refuges failing to maintain staffing and operational needs but preparing for future challenges is difficult.
Please read this article from HCN and reflect upon what our Refuges mean to you, to the wildlife and to all of us.