Thursday, June 14, 2012

Feds propose new NC wildlife refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed North Carolina's newest national wildlife refuge, a 23,000-acre sprawl protecting some of the nation's rarest habitats, Southern Appalachian bogs.

Small bogs are scattered across the mountains. They're often not part of other wetlands, but serve some of the same functions, absorbing floodwaters like sponges and slowly releasing the water. Five endangered species, including the little bog turtle (above), depend on them. Migratory birds and game animals like turkey and mink forage among them.

The proposal, which needs approval by the Fish and Wildlife director, takes a different approach from most federal refuges. It would be scattered across up to 30 different sites in 11 western North Carolina counties. And at least part of it would be held through easements or leases instead if outright purchases.

As always, the plan hinges on whether money is available and landowners willing to protect their land. The Nature Conservancy is among the groups that have already worked for years to protect some bogs, giving the proposal a head start.

The wildlife service will spend the next year soliciting public reaction and evaluating the proposal before sending the findings to Washington in 2013. Written comments are being taken now and  information sessions will be held in Hendersonville, West Jefferson, Franklin and Boone.

North Carolina has 10 national wildlife refuges covering nearly 420,000 acres. Only one, Pee Dee in Anson and Richmond counties, is in the western half of the state.


moosewithaJandendwaN said...

good story, Something besides the usual crime and punishment, politico BS, and helping the areas that aren't trying to help themselves. This is def. my cup of tea type story.

bunnythreads said...

Nice to see conservation in the news. It would be lovely to see it a nice small front page piece showing our lovely state being in need of Conservation & maybe stories of where it is being done. Instead if front page dogrape, child rape,or at least along side. There is beauty in this State & being done & in need of being done. Maybe some more folks would be eager to jump in & do something how ever small make a difference if their was a wee story of beauty.

WashuOtaku said...

This is a good thing. Some of the locations listed are already out-of-the-way places, and the land itself isn't ideal for farming and such already. What this will help stop is the random visitor that decides that's a great place to drain out and build a summer mountain home in.