The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the public comment period on the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge draft comprehensive conservation plan and environmental impact statement. The plan outlines a proposed 15-year management plan, which includes an analysis of alternatives and the proposed management goals and objectives for the refuge.
The draft document identifies three management alternatives. One alternative calls for continuing refuge programs and operations at current levels. The other two alternatives outline actions for enhancing, protecting and sustaining the refuge’s natural resources, including land acquisition and further improvements to habitats; migratory bird populations and threatened, endangered or rare species; and improving priority public use programs. Key elements include proposed new visitor/administrative and maintenance facilities, expanded estuarine habitat restoration plan, predator management, a forest management plan, expanded hunting plan and a land protection plan for potential land acquisition from willing sellers.
The entire document is posted on the refuge’s website at www.fws.gov/willapa.
Comments should be mailed by March 21 to: Charlie Stenvall, project leader, Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 3888 SR 101, Ilwaco, WA 98624; by fax to 360-484-3109; or by e-mail to FW1PlanningComments@ fws.gov.
The refuge was established in 1937 and now includes almost 16,000 acres. Located on Willapa Bay, it is one of the most pristine estuaries in the United States. It includes several rare remnants of old growth coastal cedar forest, and preserves habitat for spawning salmon, migrating shorebirds and threatened and endangered species such as the marbled murrelet.