If one plans on following the tweets from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there won't be any news for the foreseeable future. On Oct. 1, @USFWSSoutheast tweeted:
US Fish and Wildlife @USFWSSoutheast 1 Oct
Due to a lapse of government funding, this account will not be active until further notice.
For anyone who's been paying attention for the past couple weeks, the problems extend far beyond a lack of tweets.
FWS says on its website, for example, that:
Due to the lapse in appropriated funds, all public lands managed by the Interior Department (National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, Bureau of Land Management facilities, etc.) will be closed. For more information, FAQs, and updates, please visit www.doi.gov/shutdown.
CNN has reported on how fishermen from Alaska to Florida have been put out financially by furloughs. Closing off federal waters means fishermen can't bring in crab or other hauls. NOAA furloughs mean no one is around to assign quotas for fishermen, to prevent overfishing, it was pointed out before Congress by The Deadliest Catch's Keith Colburn, an Alaskan crab fisherman.
Meanwhile, fishermen (and fisherwomen) are not only inconvenienced, but wholly threatened by the government's "lapse". Not being able to put food on the table or pay the rent is the kind of real-world headache a U.S. Representative or Senator has only heard about.
Here in the Gulf, devastated by Katrina in 2005 and then the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, the government shutdown is another blow we don't need. After the BP oil spill, for a solid year fishermen absorbed millions of dollars worth of losses that put their families in peril. Now, fishing area closures and the ripple effects throughout the nation further strain these families.
According to the FWS, which preempted the shutdown by publishing a "contingency plan fact sheet" Sept. 27, the shutdown would and does mean that:
- National Wildlife Refuges will be closed to public access. Visitor Centers and other buildings will be closed.
- All activities will be canceled on federal lands and public buildings until the government reopens. This includes hunting and fishing activities on public 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 Lacy Act or the National Environmental Policy Act.
- Employees and others may not volunteer their services on behalf of Service functions or on federal lands.
While Interior Secretary Sally Jewell published a seemingly heartfelt letter Oct. 9 to her furloughed staff, as of Oct. 13 the government remains shuttered. Jewell wrote that,
...If you are on furlough, I appreciate that you want to do your jobs and the shutdown may set your work back for a long period of time. I am also aware of the impact of this shutdown on partners, concessioners, communities who depend on us for their business, contractors who are unable to provide services, and tribal governments who rely on us to serve their members...
Even the website for the NPS is down, a message says.
Next: how the people of the Gulf are managing.
Note: Earlier versions stated there would be a part two. Given the government getting back to business, those plans were shuttered.