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FWS draft research compatibility determination issued; comment deadline April 22

On April 2, Project Leader Rebekah Martin announced the availability of the Draft Compatibility Determination for research activities within the Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuge Complex for public review and comment until April 16, 2018.

The Refuge Complex includes Alligator River, Currituck, Mackay Island, Pea Island, Pocosin Lakes, and Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuges. Comments are sought on the merits of the Compatibility Determination with regard to potential impacts on Refuge Complex resources.

Federal wildlife refuges are required by law to determine the compatibility of any proposed non-wildlife dependent use with the mission of the national wildlife refuge system and the purpose for which a particular refuge was established.

Research conducted by non-Service personnel is not identified as a priority public use of the National Wildlife Refuge System under the Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997. Although this use is not a priority public use, this activity would allow permitted researchers access to a refuge’s natural environment to conduct both short-term and long-term research projects.

Research by non-Service personnel is often conducted by colleges and universities; Federal, State, and local agencies; non-governmental organizations; and qualified members of the general public.

“Research conducted on refuges would further expand the understanding of our natural resources and improve methods to manage, monitor, and protect the refuge’s biological resources and public uses,” noted Martin.

Requests for conducting research will be considered on a case-by-case basis through the research and monitoring special use permit process as staff availability allows. Interested parties will be required to provide a detailed research proposal and research special use permit application.

It is the policy of the Service to encourage and support research and management studies in order to provide scientific data upon which decisions regarding management of units of the refuge system may be based.

If you wish to review the Draft Compatibility Determination, copies are available at the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center on Roanoke Island at 100 Conservation Way, Manteo, at the Mackay Island, Pocosin Lakes, and Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Centers, and at the Dare County Public Library. A copy is also available online on the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge website. Written comments may be sent to Project Leader, North Carolina Coastal Refuge Complex PO Box 1969 Manteo, NC 27954 or emailed to alligatorriver@fws.gov.

All comments must be submitted no later than close of business (4 p.m.) on April 16, 2018. If you need additional information, contact Refuge Biologist Becky Harrison at (252) 473-1132 ext. 231.