Blue Parks are outstanding marine protected areas that safeguard ocean wildlife. Blue Park Awards incentivize effective science-based marine conservation, and the growing network of Blue Parks brings us closer to our goal of strong protection for 30% of the ecosystems in each marine biogeographic region of the world’s ocean by 2030.
The Atlas of Marine Protection (mpatlas.org) is an online resource and webapp by Marine Conservation Institute that lets users discover the world's marine protected areas and see amounts and types of protections within regions around the global ocean.
Hanging over the celebrations of Thanksgiving this year is the threat of severe funding cuts from the fast approaching Fiscal Cliff. The National Wildlife Refuge System – the largest system of lands and waters protected for wildlife – faces a 10-20% cut to current funding, totaling approximately $50 – $100 million – but the overall economic impact would be much more. A report released today by the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE), a diverse coalition of sporting, conservation and scientific organizations (including Marine Conservation Institute), warns that unless Congress abandons the automatic Sequestration cuts scheduled to occur in January. The Refuge System could be forced to close refuges and eliminate popular recreational opportunities which many communities depend upon as economic drivers.
5.Increased poaching, vandalism and drug smuggling;
6.Lost opportunities for birding and wildlife watching;
7.Spread of invasive species;
8.Halted habitat restoration and fire management;
9.Delayed response to natural disaster devastation; and
10.Terminating a newly initiated inventory and monitoring program.
Marine Conservation Institute is particularly concerned about the cuts’ impacts on the recently established marine national monuments. The refuge portions of the four Pacific marine national monuments constitute one-third of the refuge system; yet, funding to safeguard these national treasures has not followed suit. The Pacific marine national monuments were designated to protect valuable coral reefs, and essential habitat for an estimated 14 million seabirds and many threatened and endangered marine species.“Illegal trespass has already damaged coral reefs and other marine wildlife by way of vessel groundings and introducing invasive species within the monuments,” stated Marine Conservation InstitutePresident, Lance Morgan, Ph.D. “Continued budget cuts to the System will devastate current efforts to protect and manage these areas effectively.”
So, let your Congressperson know that you are concerned about the impacts to our natural resources as our America’s refuges go over the Fiscal Cliff.