Pristine Alaskan wilderness -- home to diverse and endangered wildlife -- urgently needs your help. Despite the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Feb. 5 decision to reject a proposal to build a road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, supporters of the project continue to fight.
These groups are now urging Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to reverse the agency's decision during his last few days in office. Please tell Salazar to protect this pristine wilderness area and the wildlife that depend on it from the damaging impacts of a road.
Although Izembek is the smallest of Alaska's wildlife refuges with just 315,000 acres, the area near the remote town of Cold Bay is one of the most ecologically diverse in the state. Its rich eelgrass beds provide feeding and resting grounds for nearly all Pacific black brant and emperor geese populations. The refuge is also home to caribou, brown bears, and wolverines, along with threatened and endangered species including Steller's eiders, northern sea otters and Steller sea lions.
Proponents of the road claim it would save the lives of local residents, but the facts simply don't support that argument. Access to healthcare is provided to the residents of King Cove, a nearby community, by a $37.5 million healthcare grant offering regular hovercraft service to Cold Bay. The hovercraft has quickly and safely met every medical evacuation need of the King Cove community during its operation, transporting people and ambulances to Cold Bay in an average of 20 minutes. The same trip through Izembek on the proposed road would take up to two hours in good weather -- and it would be impassible in bad weather, a frequent occurrence in the remote, storm-swept Alaskan region.
The Fish and Wildlife Service made the correct decision. Tell Secretary Salazar to uphold the decision and protect the vital Izembek wilderness.
March 4, 2013 Action Alert ID# 73
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