U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Closes Down to Public, Impacts - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Closes Down to Public, Impacts

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Lakewood, Colo. - The Federal Government has closed as a result of the government shutdown and funding expirations and as a result the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will see big impacts.

Due to this event, the national wildlife refuges, waterfowl production areas, Ecological Services field offices, fish hatcheries, fish technology center, fish health center, fish and wildlife conservation offices, and Joint Venture offices in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming will be closed to the public.

For programs experiencing a lapse in government funding only the functions necessary to respond to emergencies and to protect human life or property will continue. Throughout the course of the shutdown public access to Service properties will be prohibited and fish and wildlife management activities and public programs will be canceled.

This includes all public recreation and includes hunting activities on national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas, scheduled for Tuesday, October 1.

Main impacts to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from the lapse in appropriated funding include:

  • All 561 National Wildlife Refuges are closed to public access. Visitor centers and other buildings are closed.
  • The National Wildlife Refuge System hosts more than 46.5 million people per year, and generates more than $342 million in local, county, state and federal tax income.  Refuges also support more than 35,000 private-sector jobs.
  • All activities on Refuge lands and in public buildings are canceled.  This includes hunting and fishing activities on Refuge lands.
  • No permitting work or consultations will occur with respect to the Endangered Species Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species, the Lacey Act or the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • The shutdown will affect more than 7,000 Service employees, who are furloughed until an appropriation is passed.
  • Employees and others may not volunteer their services on behalf of Service functions or on federal lands.

Services and programs that will remain operational fall into the following exempted categories:

  • Programs financed by sources other than annual appropriations.
  • Activities expressly authorized by law.
  • Activities necessary to protect life and property.
  • Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration and Sport Fish Restoration.
  • Natural Resource Damage Assessment Fund activities
  • Refuge Law Enforcement emergency operations
  • Firefighting emergency operations
  • Care and feeding activities at hatcheries and captive breeding facilities.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife website will be down for the duration of the shutdown due to a lack of maintenance.  Additional information will be available at www.DOI.gov/shutdown

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