Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge Seeks Public Input on Proposed Expansion at Open House Meeting
Brent Elementary School, 160 4th Street, Brent, Bibb County, Alabama
Monday, July 26th, 2010
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will be hosting an open house meeting to request input from the public on the Draft Environmental Assessment and Land Protection Plan for the proposed expansion of Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge and the proposed establishment of the Cahaba River Conservation Area. The Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge headquarters is currently located in Anniston, Alabama, but the refuge is located along the Cahaba River in Bibb County, Alabama.
The Draft Environmental Assessment and Land Protection Plan provide the Service’s proposal for further protecting the Cahaba River. The open house meeting will provide an opportunity for interested members of the public, agencies, neighbors, public interest groups, and local governments to participate in the Refuge expansion planning process. The purpose of the meeting is to gather the public’s ideas on the proposed expansion of the Refuge and the establishment of a Conservation Area and incorporate these ideas into any final document produced.
The open house will be held in the library at the Brent Elementary School in Brent, Alabama on Monday, July 26th, 2010 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. The meeting site was chosen due to its centralized location within the proposed expansion and establishment areas in order to allow citizens a chance to participate without having to travel long distances. Interested citizens may stop by any time to submit comments. Service personnel and refuge staff will be present to answer questions and maps and exhibits will be present. Written comments can be submitted at the meeting or mailed later.
“It is very important to have the public involved in this effort,” said Refuge Manager Steve Miler. “The public has a deep understanding and appreciation of the Cahaba River. We need to hear their comments and recommendations and use these in our evaluation of alternatives in the EA and Land Protection Plan,” said Miller.
Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge, established in 2002, contains over 3,600 acres of land along a 3.5 mile stretch of the Cahaba River east of West Blocton in Bibb County.
The purposes of Cahaba River NWR are to:
- conserve, enhance, and restore the native aquatic and terrestrial community characteristics of the Cahaba River;
- conserve, enhance, and restore habitat to maintain and assist in the recovery of animals and plants that are listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973;
- in providing opportunities for compatible fish- and wildlife- oriented recreation, ensure that hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation are the priority general public uses of the Refuge; and
- encourage the use of volunteers and to facilitate partnerships among the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, local communities, conservation organizations, and other non-Federal entities to promote public awareness of the resources of the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System and public participation in the conservation of those resources.”
The proposal under consideration would allow the Service to purchase property or interests in property from willing sellers within a 106,415-acre area within the Cahaba River watershed and purchase interests in property, through conservation easements, from interested landowners within an additional 173,380 acres of property.
If you or someone you know cannot attend the open house and would like to submit written comments, they can be sent to Ms. Kimberly Eldridge, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 420, Atlanta, Georgia 30345.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses more than 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.