Statement on Signing a Bill Designating Certain Sections of the National Wildlife Refuge System as the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

May 22, 1984

I am honored to sign into law today H.J. Res. 537, which recognizes the late Congressman Edwin B. Forsythe's leadership in the conservation of the Nation's fish and wildlife resources. In recognition of his contributions, H.J. Res. 537 designates the Brigantine and Barnegat units of the National Wildlife Refuge System as the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.

Congressman Forsythe was an outstanding conservationist and a strong supporter of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. From 1975 until his death on March 29, 1984, he served as the ranking minority member of the House Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and the Environment, and he continued to serve in this capacity after becoming ranking minority member of the full Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee at the beginning of the 98th Congress.

In addition, he was the primary sponsor of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1980, which recognized the importance of nongame wildlife. He was a strong defender of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. He had an abiding interest in the National Wildlife Refuge System and supported legislation to establish refuge units in the lower 48 States and Alaska. During this Congress, he was the primary sponsor of H.R. 3082, the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act.

During his tenure, the Subcommittee took a bipartisan approach to conservation issues. Through Congressman Forsythe's efforts, reasonable solutions were found to resolve complex legislative issues and great strides were made for the conservation of fish and wildlife resources.

Brigantine and Barnegat refuges are situated only a few miles from each other on the coast of New Jersey, Congressman Forsythe's home State. Both are primarily coastal marsh and were created for the conservation and management of waterfowl. Congressman Forsythe was instrumental recently in obtaining Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approval for a 4,000-acre addition to Brigantine.

In light of Congressman Forsythe's sponsorship of comprehensive wetlands legislation as one of his last acts in Congress, it is particularly appropriate that these two refuges be renamed in his honor. Their designation will stand as a continuing reminder of the legacy of natural beauty and wildlife diversity that Ed Forsythe, with dedication and insight, contributed to the Nation.

Note: As enacted, H.J. Res. 537 is Public Law 98 - 293, approved May 22.