More than thirty conservation groups comprising the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (C.A.R.E.) – representing more than 14 million Americans – have asked members of Congress to “support funding for habitat conservation and associated green infrastructure within the economic recovery package being considered by Congress and the incoming Administration.”

One billion dollars in funding is being requested for use by the Department of Interior and U.S. Forest Service, which includes the Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Agriculture and Corps of Engineers, and other federal agencies.

The “recommendations represent a unique consensus among a wide range of organizations specifically aimed at habitat-oriented projects that benefit fish and wildlife while stimulating local economies, particularly through job creation,” according to a letter sent to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, and Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader. “Most of these programs and projects would be initiated and jobs created within 3-6 months, with the goal of completing obligations within one year.”

The groups estimate nearly 170,000 jobs could be created if the money was provided.

The plan for creating jobs on national refuges, would invest, for example:

  • $443 million to combat invasive species and restore native habitat, creating 5,644 jobs
  • $243 million to improve energy efficiency, creating 5,103 jobs
  • $201 million in new green construction, creating 5,025 jobs
  • $60 million to transition to renewable energy sources, creating 1,260 jobs

Facts sheets for California, Florida, Hawaii, Washington and Wisconsin summarize how funds could be used in each state, and potential projects.

“With at least one national wildlife refuge in every state, the National Wildlife Refuge System conserves and restores vital habitat for fish and wildlife. In doing so, wildlife refuges offer significant economic benefits by attracting 40 million visitors annually, who spend more than $1.7 billion each year, resulting in employment for more than 27,000 Americans. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a plan that would put nearly 20,000 people to work throughout the country on shovel-ready projects for habitat restoration in as few as 90 days,” the C.A.R.E. proposal stated.

Other features of the proposal are defined in detail in a 14-page proposal which includes particulars of how funds would be utilized.

Supporters of the proposal are being asked to support this initiative by contacting members of their Congressional delegation, writing letters to editors of local newspapers, and by urging their friends to help spread support for these green jobs.

Some of the groups comprising C.A.R.E. are the American Bird Conservancy, Everglades Foundation, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Refuge Association, The Nature Conservancy, The Wilderness Society, The Wildlife Society, and Wildlife Management Institute.

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