Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
Comprehensive Conservation Planning
Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities to Address in Silvio O. Conte NFWR CCP
We have developed the following list of issues, concerns and opportunities to address in the Sivio O. Conte NFWR CCP based on input from the public, our conservation partners, State and Federal agencies, as well from the Service. This input was gathered through public scoping meetings, an Issues Workbook questionnaire, CCP planning team meetings, inter- and intra-agency coordination meetings, and exchanges between Refuge staff and individuals or groups. We have divided the issues, concerns, and opportunities into 7 broad categories: landscape-level (regional) conservation, habitat management, species management, public use, socio economic, community relations, and administrative.
Landscape-level Land Conservation and Resource Protection
- What should our future role be in land conservation partnerships with private landowners, conservation organizations, land trusts, and local communities in the Connecticut River watershed?
- How should our future acquisition efforts be partitioned between fee acquisition and conservation easements to complement our partners’ efforts, meet the needs of landowners, and support local communities?
- What is the Refuge’s role in addressing broad-scale issues such as land development and habitat fragmentation? What is the Refuge’s role in ensuring that Trust resources are conserved for future generations in the face of development pressures and resultant habitat fragmentation? Should we focus our efforts on research, outreach, private lands coordination, and/or demonstration of practices to address these issues?
- What is the refuge’s role in addressing climate change and its potential impacts on fish and wildlife in the Watershed? What is the Refuge’s role in ensuring that Trust resources are conserved for future generations in the face of climate change?
- Are there existing special areas designations within the Watershed that should be enhanced (e.g. Westfield River Wild and Scenic River, National Natural Landmarks(?), Important Bird Areas, Convention on Wetlands of International Importance [aka Ramsar ]) with our support, or are there new ones that should be considered (e.g. Research Natural Areas, Wilderness Area, etc.)?
- Which species and habitats should be management priorities?
- How will the Refuge manage habitats on our lands determined to be a priority? What emphasis should be placed on managing for ecosystem diversity and resilience, and/or managing for targeted species? What degree of active versus passive management should be employed on refuge lands? How can refuge habitat management complement conditions in surrounding landscapes?
- How will the Refuge manage fires (management-prescribed burns and wildfires)?
- How can we effectively and economically control invasive plants which are displacing native plants and negatively affecting the quality of habitat on the Refuge, and throughout the Connecticut River Watershed? Which invasive plant species should be the highest priority to control?
- What can the Refuge do to protect limited habitat important to the management and recovery of federal-listed threatened, endangered, and candidate species?
- What can the Refuge do to assure conservation of game species that are so valued by hunters and anglers but that also are an essential component of the refuge fauna and ecosystem?
- How will we manage furbearer populations on refuge lands?
- What should be the Refuge’s role in the conservation of migratory fish and other priority aquatic species?
- How will the Refuge protect and manage deer winter yards?
- Who are our target audiences for refuge programs? How can we most effectively provide environmental education and interpretation to target audiences? What opportunities are available for environmental education partnerships? What should our role be in facilitating environmental education information exchange?
- What is the appropriate mix and level of commitment for the six priority public use programs (hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation) on each of the refuge’s divisions and units?
- What visitor facilities do we need, and where should they be located, and when should they be open, to best meet refuge purposes for environmental education, interpretation, and outreach?
- What means and level of access will be allowed for public use activities? Specifically, what road and trail network is necessary to meet our goals and objectives? Are there redundant or unnecessary roads that could be restored to natural conditions?
- What compatible, non-priority public uses should we allow?
- How should the refuge address safety concerns regarding recreational use on the Connecticut River such as boating, personal watercraft, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, and other forms of watercraft?
- How will the existing camp leases agreements, under special use permits, at the Nulhegan Basin Division be affected by the CCP?
- How can the Refuge benefit the local and regional economies?
- How will the Refuge’s priorities integrate into the working landscape, and how can the Refuge convey the importance of open space and the natural Connecticut River Watershed?
- What are the impacts from acquisition on the local economy from loss of property taxes?
- What are the impacts from acquisition on adjacent land uses and property values?
Community Relations and Partnerships
- How do we improve the visibility of the Service and the Refuge in the local communities affected by our work? Given the geographic range and area of influence of this refuge, how do we best communicate with, or outreach to, the communities throughout the Watershed affected by our management?
- What other partnerships should we develop to meet refuge purposes, goals and objectives? Who are our stakeholders and how do we best communicate with them and keep them involved and engaged?
- How can we best coordinate resource management with other state and federal agencies with jurisdiction in the Connecticut River Watershed? How can we contribute to intergovernmental cooperation in the Watershed?
- What is our role in assisting conservation partners and local communities to secure funding for priority conservation and environmental education related projects?
- What staffing and budgets are needed to effectively administer the Refuge and provide good customer service?
- What Refuge administration facilities do we need and where should they be located?