Defenders of Wildlife's 10 most endangered refuges

Posted: Friday, October 08, 2004

The 10 most endangered national wildlife refuges as chosen by the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife, and reasons cited by the group:

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska: Senate and House majority leadership and the Bush administration support requests of the oil industry to drill.

Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona: Increasing traffic of smugglers bringing illegal immigrants or drugs has harmed the fragile desert ecosystem and threatens the last habitat of the endangered Sonoran pronghorn.

Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana: The refuge, a highly significant wintering and staging area for migrating birds, has been impacted by private gas and oil companies.

Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Nevada: The Southern Nevada Water Authority has proposed drilling water wells in the refuge, threatening to dry up its spring-fed desert oases that endangered species depend upon.

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, California: The nation's largest urban wildlife refuge is threatened by polluting runoff, invasive species and rapid suburban development.

Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges, Oregon and California: The refuges are being threatened by industrial farming's use of large quantities of water from the basin, pollution resulting from pesticides used in the farming and destruction of wildlife habitat. The group says 80 percent of all birds in the Pacific Flyway pass through the refuges.

Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, North Dakota: Canadian and North Dakota power plants that burn coal have polluted the refuge's air and water. The refuge's 4,000 ponds have registered extremely toxic mercury levels.

Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Texas: The refuge has few resources to connect its fragmented parcels of land, which are the equivalent of tiny islands surrounded by development and agriculture. The group says Congress, supported by the Bush administration, diverted money to deal with the problem.

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina: A landing field for Navy fighter jets to fly 100 sorties a day at low altitudes, and an egg factory populated by a million chickens are proposed near the refuge.

Upper Mississippi River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa: The refuge is being severely degraded by agricultural runoff, habitat loss, mercury contamination, water pollution and invasive animal and plant species.

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