Monday, February 05, 2007

Two News Items

The National Wildlife Refuge system has been hurting for several years now due to decreasing budgets and increasing costs. An article from the News Journal details some of the problems at two NWRs in Delaware, Bombay Hook and Prime Hook. The latter has had four staff members cut, and the two refuges will be combined into one management structure to save costs. Buildings are not being repaired and necessary equipment is not being replaced. Outside of Delaware, the situation is worse at some refuges that have been destaffed.

Unfortunately the situation is not likely to improve in the near term as large chunks of the federal budget have been devoted to other expensive projects. As birders, we can help by supporting the local "friends" associations. The linked article lists the ones for Bombay Hook and Prime Hook. There are similar organizations for Eastern Neck and Blackwater in Maryland. The organizations provide volunteers and find funding for projects that the refuges could not do on their own. The federal duck stamp program provides funding for land acquisition, but, to my knowledge, not for management.

Pedestrian Plan

My second item is not related to birds, but to life in the District. The DC government is putting together a pedestrian master plan, with the goals of encouraging more people to walk and reducing fatal pedestrian accidents. The website for the project is here; it includes a short survey on the walking conditions in the city. If you know of any dangerous intersections, take the survey and report them.

Update: Speaking of pedestrian hazards... A pedestrian was hit and killed by a bicyclist - a fairly unusual incident.