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Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area are Next to Receive $1 million in Additional Funding for Urban Wildlife Conservation Program

This afternoon at the Intertwine Alliance Spring Summit, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe announced that the National Wildlife Refuges of the Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area will receive an additional $1 million in annual funding to reach new audiences and engage local communities and youth in conservation and outdoor recreation. The Portland-Vancouver National Wildlife Refuges are the second among the nation’s urban National Wildlife Refuges to receive this new award through a nationwide competition, known as the Urban Challenge, the first being the Southern California Urban Wildlife Refuge Project.

“Children across our nation are increasingly disconnected from nature, yet playing outside and learning about the natural world is fun, healthy and builds confidence in kids.” said Ashe. “The Portland-Vancouver area is blessed with spectacular outdoor spaces, and a strong network of public and nonprofit leaders committed to getting kids and families outdoors, active and connected to nature. Congratulations to the Refuge and its amazing partners for nurturing a movement to foster the next generation of leaders and outdoor stewards while helping people connect to nature in their community – particularly in urban areas.”

With 80 percent of the U.S. population now living in large cities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is focusing efforts on reaching people where they are: in cities. Hundreds of wildlife refuges are in or close to America’s cities, and the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program shines a spotlight on the relevancy of the Service’s conservation work to the daily lives of the communities surrounding wildlife refuges. Click here to learn more about the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program.

The Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area footprint includes Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge, a National Fish Hatchery, the Northwest Regional Office, and hundreds of Service employees.

Left to Right: Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe, Project Leader at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex Erin Holmes, and Acting Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System Cynthia Martinez at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge where Dan Ashe announced the additional $1 million | USFWS
Left to Right: Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe, Project Leader at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex Erin Holmes, and Acting Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System Cynthia Martinez at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge where Dan Ashe announced the additional $1 million | USFWS

The Portland-Vancouver Urban Wildlife Conservation Program is a long-term investment of effort, passion, people, and dollars in the surrounding metropolitan area to ensure that sustainable treatment of our shared natural resources becomes an intrinsic value across the entire community. The wildlife refuges in this area already have partnerships in the community – Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge was actually proposed by a group of citizens and the local municipality. The Urban Program they have established will strengthen these relationships and create new programs within the community.

As Erin Holmes, Project Leader at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex put it, “We get to think outside the box and consider projects we wouldn’t have even thought of before. It’s a challenge, but I am really hopeful and excited about it.”

This standout program was chosen because it clearly highlighted the type of innovation and public involvement the Service is looking for to make this investment go beyond the refuges themselves. The Service is confident that the Portland-Vancouver community will be an exceptional model for other cities in tackling the conservation challenges in the 21st century.

“The wildlife refuges within the Portland and Vancouver region are already standouts in the Refuge System for the relationship they have with the community, and all of the incredible wildlife conservation they are doing on the ground,” stated Refuge Association President David Houghton. “I can’t wait to see the great things that will come out of the additional $1 million they have just received.”

The Service sees the Portland-Vancouver area as a region that is already taking an innovative approach to dealing with many of the issues they are already interested in addressing, including youth engagement and employment, equitable access to nature, and viewing nature as a vital part of a healthy community and lifestyle. It is also a place that is serious about solving major social issues through partnerships. Portland is modeling the future by bringing together wildlife refuges, youth, diverse communities, healthcare providers, and private industry to really move the needle. The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program funding will only increase and enhance these existing initiatives to make the Portland-Vancouver region even more of an example for other cities to follow.

Congratulations to the Portland-Vancouver Urban Wildlife Conservation Program! Click here to read the full press release.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2015/04/portland-vancouver-metropolitan-area-are-next-to-receive-1-million-in-additional-funding-for-urban-wildlife-conservation-program/

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