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Pocosin Lakes Draft Plan Public Input Sought

A view of the Scuppernong Interpretive Boardwalk in Columbia, part of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will accept until Aug. 31 comments on the Draft Water Management Plan and Environmental Assessment for Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

The plan looks at what water management steps should take place on the refuge over the next 15 years to achieve strategical goals and objectives in the refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

Submit written comments to pocosinlakes@fws.gov or Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 329, Columbia, N.C. 27925. Comments must be submitted by email or postmarked by Aug. 31. Comments already submitted do not need to be resubmitted. Anyone who has already submitted comments may submit additional comments until the deadline. Request a written copy of the document by emailing pocosinlakes@fws.gov.

Once the comment period closes, the service will consider comments received, finalize the plan and announce the availability of the final plan.

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is 110,106 acres in Washington, Hyde, and Tyrrell counties. Of those acres, more than 8,300 are managed waterfowl habitat, more than 44,000 acres are highly altered peatlands, and more than 57,600 acres are minimally altered peatlands.

With the vast majority of restoration efforts now complete U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is looking at long-term management of the refuge’s habitats that will guide water management to help achieve the refuge’s purposes. The plan proposes to enhance and maintain water management across habitats on refuge. Additionally, the draft plan’s objectives and strategies aim to enhance high quality habitat for wildlife, notably waterfowl, neotropical migratory birds, and other wildlife and game species.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.