11978 Turkle Pond Rd
Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan Takes Effect:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved a final CCP for Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. The CCP will serve as a guide for managing wildlife conservation and visitor services programs on the refuge for the next 15 years.
The CCP adopts the Service’s preferred management approach published as Alternative B in review versions of the plan that were available for extensive public comment. The record of the decision and the final plan are available here. Paper copies of the CCP are available at refuge headquarters.
The CCP calls for one of the largest marsh restoration projects along the Atlantic coast. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year contracted with an engineering firm, Atkins Global, to obtain information on repairing the dune breaches at Prime Hook as a first phase in a larger project to restore marshes on the refuge. Atkins Global has calculated that it will take between 500,000 and 800,000 cubic yards of material to complete the first phase of the project. The firm completed a report that the Service is reviewing in consultation with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Under the CCP, the Service will convert former agricultural areas to a more suitable habitat for migratory birds, expand hunting and other wildlife-related recreational opportunities, and use less pesticide to control adult mosquitos unless there’s a documented human disease threat.
In December 2012, the CCP was released for a month-long final review. The Service received and considered comments from 14 parties including the State of Delaware and several non-governmental organizations. Minor revisions were made in response to the comments, however they did not warrant substantive changes to the preferred Alternative B that has been adopted.
Next steps for marsh restoration - Updated March 18, 2013
Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1963 under the authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or any other management purpose, expressly for migratory birds. It is located on the west shore of Delaware Bay, approximately 22 miles southeast of Dover, the State capital, and 64 miles southeast of Wilmington, Delaware.
The refuge is considered to have one of the best existing wetland habitat areas along the Atlantic Coast. These habitats have become important stop-over sites for spring and fall migrating shorebirds and wading birds. Endangered and threatened species management activities provide habitat for the Delmarva fox squirrel, nesting bald eagles and migrating peregrine falcons. Neotropical land birds passing through utilize the refuge's upland forested habitat during the fall and spring. The refuge's 10,000 acres are a diverse landscape featuring freshwater and salt marshes, woodlands, grasslands, scrub-brush habitats, ponds, bottomland forested areas, a 7-mile long creek, and agricultural lands. These cover types provide habitat for approximately 296 species of birds, 38 species of reptiles and amphibians and 37 different mammals.
Public use at Prime Hook provides compatible wildlife-oriented recreational opportunities. Since the signing of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, appropriate public uses of the Refuge System include six major wildlife-dependent recreational uses and are: hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and environmental interpretation.
The Refuge is open 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.