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Office Of The Secretary-FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Hugh Vickery
February 3, 2004 202-501-4633


Secretary Norton to Highlight President's Commitment to National Wildlife Refuges During Tour of Nisqually NWR in Washington State

(WASHINGTON) – Interior Secretary Gale Norton will highlight President Bush's proposed $25.5 million increase in the Fiscal Year 2004 budget for the National Wildlife Refuge System when she tours Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge outside of Olympia, Washington on Tuesday, February 4th.
The proposed increase comes on the heels of a proposed $56.5 million increase in the refuge system's budget for FY 2003 and demonstrates the President's strong commitment to the refuge system, which was founded in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt and now includes 540 refuges in all 50 states.
"As we celebrate the Centennial of the refuge system, President Bush is proposing historic increases in funding that will enable refuge managers to reduce the huge backlog of maintenance needs in the system and better manage our refuges both for fish and wildlife and for people," Norton said.
If enacted by Congress, the President's proposal would mean that the refuge systems budget will have doubled since 1997.

Who: Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior

What: Tour of Nisqually NWR

When: 1:30 p.m. Tour of the Refuge
2:15 p.m. Media Availability

Where: Nisqually NWR Visitor's Center
100 Brown Farm Road
Olympia, Washington 98516
(Exit 114 off of Route 5)
(360) 534 9302


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