Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

June 4, 2013

Annual Pea Island Crabbing Rodeo Canceled Due to Delayed Pump Station Repair

Refuge Manager Mike Bryant announced today that the annual Crabbing and Fishing Rodeo scheduled for this Saturday at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge has been canceled for the second year in a row. "We were really hoping the contract work to repair the pump station would be completed by now, but it just hasn't happened. The plans are almost complete, and the work should begin soon. Hopefully, though not finished in time for the Crabbing Rodeo, we will be able to get some water in the North Pond and grow some of the important plants for the waterfowl that will be arriving in the fall." The Rodeo has occurred the second Saturday in June for more than two decades. Last year, it was canceled due to a breach in the west dike of the pond. The breach was repaired prior to Hurricane Sandy last year, but the pump has not been operational since Hurricane Irene damaged the water management system in 2011.

Bryant explained, "To manage the ponds, we need the ability to move water. Not only is the water level currently extremely low, the lack of water exchange may mean water quality issues. Access to the water is limited, producing safety concerns for the public. Some birds have taken advantage of the open sand and nested in those areas that would have been under water normally. So, people attempting to access the water may impact those nests. Due to all of these reasons, we decided the questionable quality of the Refuge visit, the safety of the Refuge visitors, and the possible impact on nesting birds outweighed the benefits of having the rodeo this year."

Unless there is damage from another storm, the Pea Island Crabbing and Fishing Rodeo will remain on the Refuge calendar for 2014. For more information about Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, visit the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center on Roanoke Island, the Pea Island Visitor Center on NC High 12, or the refuge website at www.fws.gov/peaisland.