Public input requested on environmental assessment for genetically engineered crops on national wildlife refuges in the Southeastern United States

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Public input requested on environmental assessment for genetically engineered crops on national wildlife refuges in the Southeastern United States

The Service limited the use of GECs on refuges in 2014. As a result, some refuges are no longer able to provide the amount of forage they once did. There may be situations where the use of GECs is essential to meet the purposes of the refuge and the energy needs of birds and other wildlife.

This is a bullying tactic used by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). They threaten to take away something from the public if we don’t let them have their way.

OSFR board member Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson writes:  “The move would increase the use of glyphosate and other pesticides that have been linked to harmful effects on bees, butterflies, and other pollinators necessary to humans’ food supply, as well as other species that live in the wildlife refuges.”

If they have to close the refuge because they are limited to conventional crops, we say “fine,”  we will all be better off.

The risks of GMO  long-term effects are unknown. They cannot yet be considered safe, since no evidence of harm is not proof of safety.  Outcrossing, which is when the modified crops mix with and contaminate conventional crops, is a serious problem which cannot be controlled and which has caused many lawsuits in the U.S. This occurs in animals as well plants, and has happened recently when “farmed” salmon have escaped into the wild and interbred with normal animals.  Human meddling may have disastrous consequences.

Read the original article published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Please send your comments to the link listed near the end of the article.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
[email protected]
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum


 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has prepared a draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the potential use of genetically engineered crops (GECs) on national wildlife refuges in the southeastern United States.

The National Wildlife Refuge System, the public lands network managed by the Service, employs a number of wildlife management practices to deliver specific conservation objectives on each of the nation’s 568 national wildlife refuges. The use of GECs by farmers on refuges in the Southeast Region can help refuge managers meet the purposes of the refuge and provide wildlife forage for birds and other wildlife. Supporting waterfowl populations is a priority purpose for many southeastern refuges.

A black bird perched on a stalk of corn in a flooded agricultural field
Agriculture on national wildlife refuges can provide food for waterfowl and other species, as seen here with this American coot. Photo by Clayton Ferrell, USFWS.

Most refuges that use agriculture as a management tool do so in cooperation with local farmers in order to meet our habitat and wildlife management objectives. In exchange for use of the land, growers leave a percentage of the crops in the field as forage for wildlife.

Cooperative farming is an effective, cost-efficient way for refuges to support waterfowl populations, which provide opportunities for hunting, wildlife observation and photography, and are an indication of a healthy wetland environment.

The Service limited the use of GECs on refuges in 2014. As a result, some refuges are no longer able to provide the amount of forage they once did. There may be situations where the use of GECs is essential to meet the purposes of the refuge and the energy needs of birds and other wildlife. Therefore, in 2018, the Service announced an update allowing for the reconsideration and possible use of GECs.

This draft PEA evaluates potential impacts of the use of GECs in the southeastern United States based on the best available science. The Service is soliciting public comment on the draft PEA until April 10, 2020.

Comments and questions must be submitted in writing to [email protected] or mailed to Pamala Wingrove, Branch Chief, Conservation Planning, USFWS, Southeast Region, 1875 Century Boulevard NE, Atlanta, GA, 30345.

The Service will offer an informational webinar on April 6-7. The times are 1p.m. EDT on April 6 and 7 p.m. EDT on April 7.

Learn more and download a copy of the draft PEA.

Contact

Mark Davis, Public Affairs Specialist
[email protected], (404) 679-7291

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

 

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