The National Wildlife Refuge System and National Fish Hatchery System are responsible for administering a national network of lands and waters for the conservation of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats. The Congress and the President are responsible for providing sufficient funds so the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the capacity to manage these sites.
If you believe your national refuge or hatchery is adequately funded then read no further. However, if you are like most Friends groups and know that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff is struggling to manage your site then keep reading. To prevent this situation from getting worse, all of us need to urge members of Congress to protect the National Wildlife Refuge System and National Fish Hatchery System from any proposed reduction to their current budget. These programs simply cannot tolerate any funding cuts.
We always need to advocate for the needs of these national programs and in this case we also need to lobby. Yes, lobby! Friends groups and all 501(c)(3) organizations can lobby. Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence the actions, policies or decisions of government officials, whether through direct contact or through the general public.
Do you have questions about what lobbying is? Thankfully Matthew Emmer (Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges), with advice from CORFA, created a flowchart for lobbying. Thanks Matthew! This one-page infographic provides you with simple but useful information on what lobbying is, where you can lobby and tracking your lobbying.
If you are planning on contacting your member of Congress, the National Wildlife Refuge Association has created talking points and an outline for a meeting. This document was created for the Virtual Hill Days this past July and the information is still applicable. Should you have questions about the talking points you can contact Libby Marking at the Refuge Association.
Photo Credit: Margaret Coley