August 28, 2012
James River National Wildlife Refuge Seeks Public Input
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input on developing its Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for James River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR, refuge), located in Prince George County, Virginia. The CCP is required of all national wildlife refuges by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (PL 105-57). The CCP is a 15-year plan designed to provide strategic management direction that best achieves the refuge’s purposes; attains the vision and goals developed for the refuge; contributes to the National Wildlife Refuge System mission; addresses key challenges, issues, and relevant mandates; and, is consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife management.
Refuge staff are initiating the planning process by hosting public scoping meetings. Public scoping meetings are open to everyone and provide an opportunity for the public to speak directly with refuge staff and comment on what they see as the issues, concerns, and challenges for the refuge over the next 15 years. The meeting format is an informal open house with a brief presentation by refuge staff. ;
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to providing access to these meetings for all participants. Please direct all requests for sign language interpreting services, close captioning, or other accommodation needs to Meghan Carfioli, Natural Resource Planner, at 804-829-5413 or the Federal Relay Service at 1-866-377-8642. Requests for accommodations should be made at least 5 days in advance of these meetings. Public scoping meetings are scheduled for:
Wednesday, September 12th – Prince George County, VA
Comments are being accepted in person at public meetings or in writing by October 15, 2012. To submit comments or obtain additional information, please contact:
Meghan Carfioli, Natural Resource Planner
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The refuge planning team will review all the information, data, and comments gathered during public scoping before developing a draft CCP and environmental assessment. The draft plan will be distributed for public review and comment. CCP progress will be updated on the refuge’s planning Web site:
James River NWR is one of four refuges that comprise the Eastern Virginia Rivers NWR Complex. James River NWR lies in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and is located along the James River in Prince George County, Virginia, approximately 8 miles southeast of the City of Hopewell and 30 miles southeast of the City of Richmond.
The refuge was established in 1991 to protect nationally significant nesting and roosting habitat for the bald eagle. The 4,324-acre refuge consists of riparian, wetland, and forested habitats, including loblolly pine plantations. These habitats support a variety of songbirds, raptors, rare plants, and other species of conservation concern. The refuge also has a rich cultural history, supported by archaeological and historical sites on the refuge.
James River NWR also provides opportunities for the public to engage in wildlife-dependent recreation. Popular activities on the refuge include wildlife observation, nature photography, and on-site environmental education and interpretive programs. The refuge also offers an annual white-tailed deer hunt. Public access to the refuge is by permit to limit disturbance to bald eagles, as well as to minimize risks to public safety while habitat management activities (e.g., prescribed burning, timber management) are underway
May 24, 2010
Bald Eagle Habitat Protected Along James River Two-year effort to preserve 125 acres and a mile of shoreline complete
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and The Conservation Fund, with key support from the Virginia congressional delegation, National Audubon Society and the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, announced today the protection of 125 acres and nearly a mile of shoreline along the James River in Prince George County. The property contains pristine habitat for bald eagles and is completely surrounded by the James River National Wildlife Refuge, which boasts one of the highest concentration of bald eagles east of the Mississippi River.
The Conservation Fund purchased the Blair’s Wharf property in 2008 at the request of the USFWS. Members of the Virginia congressional delegation worked to ensure a series of appropriations that were used to acquire the property from The Conservation Fund in 2010. Pat Noonan, chairman emeritus of The Conservation Fund, stated, “With this historic acquisition, we have protected a vital wildlife resource for Virginia and all of America.” Noonan continued, “We are grateful for the outstanding leadership of Senator Jim Webb, Senator Mark Warner and Representative Bobby Scott to secure funding for this important project.”
“This project will enhance Virginia’s diverse wildlife habitat while also facilitating tourism and promoting economic growth in the area,” said Sen. Webb. “I am committed to future preservation efforts of wildlife refuges and will work to ensure federal support in the years to come.”
“By protecting this important piece of land, we will be able to make a lasting impact on this region’s most unique wildlife and ensure that Virginia’s natural habitat can be preserved for generations to come,” Sen. Warner said. “I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on more efforts to preserve our region's environmental treasures.”
“I am pleased to see this important conservation project finally come to fruition,” said Rep. Scott. “Adding the Blair’s Wharf property to the James River National Wildlife Refuge will further protect this pristine habitat for future generations. I commend Pat Noonan and The Conservation Fund and the other organizations involved for their years of advocacy on this issue.”
The property will become part of James River National Wildlife Refuge. Public access to the site will be evaluated during the refuge’s comprehensive conservation planning process, set to begin this year.
“The Blair’s Wharf tract is a key acquisition for the refuge,” said Refuge Manager Joe McCauley. “We will be forever grateful to all those who supported this project. Without the help of our partners and volunteers, protection and restoration of this extraordinary site would not have been possible.”
“Audubon is extremely proud to be a part of the team that helped to protect Blair’s Wharf in the James River NWR and the Lower James River Important Bird Area, significant for many species including Bald Eagles and Prothonotary Warblers,” said Mary Elfner, Virginia IBA Coordinator, from Audubon, which initiated the project and helped with congressional outreach. “It’s critical that we protect habitat for birds and other species of wildlife in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
David O’Neill, president of the Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail, noted that the James River NWR includes miles of natural shoreline that protect the river’s ecology and retains the landscape that gives the region its identity. “As a result of this work, modern adventurers on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail will see a view much like the one Virginia Indians and Capt. Smith saw here in 1607. The Blair’s Wharf acquisition is one of the first along the National Historic Trail and we were pleased to support this effort,” O’Neill said.
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is the first all-water National Historic Trail. It traces Smith’s monumental 1607-1609 voyages of exploration in the Chesapeake Bay region, including his travels up the James River along the James River National Wildlife Refuge.
Additional partners in the effort include: American Bird Conservancy; the Chickahominy Tribe; James River Association; National Wildlife Refuge Association; The Nature Conservancy, which administered funding from the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund; Richmond Audubon Society; Faculty of University of Richmond; Virginia Commonwealth University, Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences; and Virginiaforever.
April 30, 2010
Public Comment Period – Draft Compatibility Determination on Pine Thinning at the James River NWR
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability of a draft Compatibility Determination on Pine Thinning at the James River National Wildlife Refuge for public review and comment. The public comment period will extend from April 30 through May 28, 2010. Interested parties are encouraged to review the draft determinations and provide written comments to the refuge manager. Comments must be received at the refuge headquarters via letter, fax, or email by 4:30 p.m. on May 28.
All uses on national wildlife refuges must be compatible with the primary purposes of the individual refuge and with the mission of the national wildlife refuge system. The refuge manager must make a written compatibility determination for each allowed use of the refuge. At James River refuge, the refuge manager has made a preliminary decision that commercial pine thinning to improve forested habitat using commercial contractors is a compatible use of both refuges under certain conditions. According to the draft determination, using commercial contractors to selectively thin overstocked pine stands will contribute to the purposes of the refuge to provide habitat for bald eagles. The thinning will have the added benefits of enhancing forested habitat for other migratory birds and will reduce the potential for catastrophic wildlife fires to occur. Using contractors to do this work is more cost-effective than the government having to purchase specialized equipment, and provide an economic benefit to local communities.
Copies of the draft compatibility determination may be obtained by contacting the refuge at (804) 333-1470 or via email at: email@example.com. Copies can also be viewed or downloaded at the refuge website: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/jamesriver.
Hunting Opportunities Available at James River National Wildlife Refuge
The Eastern Virginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Complex invites interested hunters to participant in the 2009 James River National Wildlife Refuge’s muzzleloader and shotgun deer hunts. ;
“Deer hunting has long been a tradition in eastern Virginia. It is as indicative of the Fall season as pumpkins and falling leaves. The refuge staff is pleased to offer a low cost, high value hunting experience within the refuge’s 4,200-acre tract of forest.” said Cyrus Brame, Hunt Coordinator for the Refuge. He added, “Hunting is a great way to connect with nature and also put food on the table.” ;
The 2009 Hunt Dates are:
The cost is $10.00 per person, per day.
Hunters interested in participating in the deer hunts are required to register, in person, at the Refuge Check Station on the morning of the scheduled hunts. The Refuge Check Station is located just off Route 10, in Garysville, at 4550 Flowerdew Hundred Road. Two deer of either sex can be harvested daily (within annual bag limits) and Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) tags are provided.
For additional information about the refuge and its hunting program visit us at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/jamesriver or contact the Refuge office (804-829-9020).