U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced additional cancellations because of lapse in appropriations to fund the Federal government.
Because of the lapse in appropriations that has caused the federal government shutdown, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday announced additional cancellations affecting refuges and activities across the Service’s Southeast Region.
National wildlife refuges, facilities and operations across the nation remain shuttered as a result of lapse in funding for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. The lack of funding affects roughly 200 field stations in the Southeast Region including all refuges, national fish hatcheries, fish and wildlife coordination offices, and ecological services and migratory bird field offices. The Southeast Region is made up of 10 states – Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, along with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
This week the service planned to celebrate its National Wildlife Refuge Week. Along with events planned at many of the Region’s 129 refuges to mark this week and the refuge system’s history, the following events are cancelled because the Service cannot logistically support them as of today because of the government shutdown.
Bon Secour NWR: All of Bon Secour’s National Wildlife Refuge Week events originally scheduled to occur through Oct. 18 are cancelled.
Reelfoot NWR: A Migration Celebration on the refuge at Reelfoot in northwestern Tennessee on October 19th is cancelled.
Hunting programs on refuges across the Southeast Region from Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin and Waccamaw NWRs on South Carolina’s coast to Sabine NWR in Western Louisiana are cancelled within the same time frames noted above and won’t resume until the lapse in funding for agency operations is resolved.
A second youth deer hunt set for Oct. 19, at Eufaula NWR’s Bradley Unit located in Georgia is cancelled.
A two-day deer hunt for disabled sportsmen and women at Piedmont NWR in Georgia set for Oct. 18 and 19, is cancelled.
Cancellations of wildlife-related recreational activities including hunting, fishing and environmental education are being evaluated as the shutdown continues and decisions are being made based on logistical requirements and the time needed to support them. The region and its field stations are considering cancellation only for those activities and events where the ongoing shutdown dictates that the Service can no longer carry out the logistical requirements necessary to hold each event, hunt or other scheduled activity. Decisions about rescheduling any of these activities will not be made until employees return to work.
Additional cancellations for activities set to occur beyond Oct. 20, will be considered in the days ahead if necessary based on timing of the government’s reopening and logistical requirements.