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Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region
Land Protection Planning

Frequently Asked Questions about Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge Land Protection Planning

1. What is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) "Land Protection Planning Study"?

Please refer to our Land Protection Planning for the National Wildlife Refuge System fact sheet for general information on Land Protection Planning (LPP).

In September 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or USFWS) received approval from the Director of the USFWS to initiate a LPP study to investigate the possibility of expanding the approved refuge boundary of Bandon Marsh Refuge to meet the needs of fish, wildlife, and public recreational use. In early November 2011, the public was invited to participate in the planning process. Preliminary alternatives detailing how the refuge would be managed during the next 15 years were developed as part of the Refuge's Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) process. However, in early February 2012, the USFWS made the decision to separate the CCP from the boundary expansion study. This schedule change allowed the CCP to continue on pace while allowing more time for thorough analysis and study of the LPP range of alternatives. The LPP process would include additional opportunities for public involvement and discussions of important issues and opportunities with the area's landowners and the greater community. In August 2013, the USFWS made the decision to suspend the boundary expansion study due to limited funding and resources. Consequently, a draft land protection plan will not be released for public comment at this time. The USFWS maintains its interest in the land protection planning study and will resume the study in the future as additional resources become available.

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2. How was the study area boundary determined?

The USFWS focused on lowlands along the Coquille River that could complement the mission of the existing Refuge to benefit migratory birds and anadromous fish whose populations have suffered due to the historic loss of tidal salt marsh. Land within the study area would be evaluated to determine its current wildlife value, potential for habitat restoration, likely purchase cost relative to habitat value, and whether the land is connected to adjacent wildlife habitat. The upper limit of the study area, at River Mile 10.4, was chosen because it is the upstream extent of historic tidal salt marsh in the Coquille estuary. Upland areas were included in the study area largely because they were part of the same land ownership parcels that included the lowlands, and thus the parcels may need to be purchased whole. However, if the lowlands could be acquired, or be managed separately through landowner agreement from the uplands, that could be preferable to the USFWS. Land outside of the study area will not be considered for inclusion in the expanded refuge boundary, and some of the land within the study area may not be included in a final approved boundary should the USFWS decide to expand the Refuge's boundary.

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3. What does the study area boundary mean to landowners within the mapped boundary?

Landowners within the study area retain all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of private land ownership including the rights to access, manage, sell to any party, and develop their properties.  Development of land continues to be subject to existing local and state regulations and land use zoning, and no additional regulations are imposed.  During the study, no USFWS staff would enter any private land without express landowner permission.  Being within the study area does not subject land to searches for threatened or endangered species. For more information, please read our Land Protection Planning for the National Wildlife Refuge System fact sheet.

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4. What would an approved Land Protection Plan mean to landowners within the new refuge acquisition boundary?

If the USFWS Director approves an expanded refuge boundary, landowners within the new boundary retain all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of private land ownership including the rights to access, manage, sell to any party, and develop their properties. Development of land continues to be subject to existing local and state regulations and land use zoning, and no additional regulations are imposed by the USFWS. No USFWS staff will enter any private land without landowner permission. Being within an approved refuge boundary does not subject land to searches by the USFWS for any reason.

Lands can only become part of the National Wildlife Refuge System if they are acquired from a willing seller or if the landowner wishes to develop a management agreement with the USFWS. The USFWS will only purchase lands or easements from willing sellers; thus eminent domain would be used only for special cases such as a request by a willing seller to clear title at the USFWS's expense to the benefit of the landowner. Under law, the USFWS can only offer fair market value as determined by a professional appraisal, and the seller is free to accept or reject that offer. For more information, please read our Land Protection Planning for the National Wildlife Refuge System fact sheet.

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5. How does the Service's purchase of land affect the county tax revenues and the local economy?

The USFWS is currently conducting an economic study of the effects of potential refuge boundary expansion. The results of the economic study, which will include projected impacts to the local economy should additional lands be sold to the USFWS, will be made public in the draft plan. Lands sold to the USFWS will not be subject to property taxes, but Coos County would be paid with annual payments under provisions of the Refuge Revenue Sharing Act.  Annual payments to the county are based on the highest value as determined by one of the following three equations: three-fourths of 1 percent of the fair market value of the land; 25 percent of net receipts; or $.75 per acre, whichever is greater.  Acquired lands are re-appraised every 5 years to ensure that payments are based on current land values.  The revenue sharing fund consists of net income from the sale of products or privileges such as timber sales, grazing fees, permit fees, mineral royalties, etc.  If this fund has insufficient monies to cover payments to local counties, Congress is authorized to appropriate money to make up the deficit.  Should Congress fail to appropriate such funds, payments to counties will be reduced accordingly.  The USFWS paid the county $18,890 in 2010 for 907 acres of refuge lands within Coos County, including Bandon Marsh NWR and the Coquille Point Unit of Oregon Islands NWR. This amount per acre was similar to what private landowners paid in taxes within the refuge expansion study area.

Refuges can benefit communities in many ways. Wildlife Refuges in the United States are visited 40 million times a year, by birdwatchers, photographers, educators and researchers, hunters, fishers, and hikers. These visitors are an important source of revenue for the local economy. Refuges also enhance the quality of life for local residents, both preserving the region's aesthetic beauty and affording numerous recreational and educational opportunities. Additionally, restoration programs can add significant amounts of money into the local economy. Recent studies indicate that a high percentage of those funds stay within the local economy as local contractors are brought in, equipment is purchased, and workers are hired.

If the Bandon Marsh Refuge boundary was expanded, land or conservation easement purchase by the USFWS would occur one parcel at a time over many years as willing sellers choose to sell their property or an easement, and if money is available for the USFWS to offer fair market value, and sellers accept the offer. Donations of land to the Refuge may also be accepted. For more information, please read our Land Protection Planning for the National Wildlife Refuge System fact sheet.

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6. How are land purchases funded?

Funding for land acquisition at Bandon Marsh NWR would likely come from appropriations under the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (primarily from outer continental shelf Federal oil and gas revenue), and the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund (Federal Duck Stamp sales).  These are public funds and programs that were established to benefit conservation of fish, wildlife and habitats.  They do not involve Federal income taxes. For more information, please read our Land Protection Planning for the National Wildlife Refuge System fact sheet.

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7. Will there be public access to lands acquired by the Refuge?

Public use and access would depend on restoration progress as well as characteristics of the individual parcel, such as its size, neighboring land use, access to the parcel, and type of habitat. The USFWS, through a planning process with public involvement, will consider opening access to Refuge lands for public uses compatible with the purpose of the Refuge and the mission of the USFWS. These public uses might include waterfowl hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, interpretation, and environmental education. All of these activities are currently allowed on the Bandon Marsh Unit, and are currently included within the approved final Comprehensive Conservation Plan. Parcels that are too small to support quality public use opportunities may be closed unless adjacent lands are acquired from willing sellers. Private lands under conservation easements or other management agreements with the USFWS may also be closed to the public according to the landowner's wishes.

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8. How would refuge expansion affect hunting and fishing in the Coquille Valley?

The USFWS considers hunting and fishing to be appropriate with Refuge goals.  Currently, the only public waterfowl hunting in the entire Coquille watershed is the northern section of the Bandon Marsh Unit within the Refuge.  Under the approved final Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Bandon Marsh NWR, waterfowl hunting is planned for the future on the Ni-les'tun Unit. Waterfowl hunting on future refuge acquisitions may be approved after a public planning process, including analysis to ensure waterfowl populations in the area can support the expanded hunt on the Refuge and that adequate funding is available to manage the program.

Fishing within the Coquille River would not be affected by refuge boundary expansion. Fishing is regulated by State laws and managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  The USFWS has no authority over fishing in the river and we support fishing as a valuable outdoor recreation activity.  Cutthroat trout fishing in the Ni-les'tun Unit within Redd, No Name, and Fahys Creeks south of North Bank Lane is currently included in the approved final Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Bandon Marsh NWR.

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9. If a landowner sells to the USFWS, how would that affect the neighboring landowners?

On lands acquired by the USFWS, we may begin habitat restoration that alters the flooding patterns within a USFWS-managed parcel to benefit fish and wildlife; however the USFWS is obligated by law to prevent impacts to neighboring lands.  If the USFWS decided to conduct habitat restoration on a newly acquired parcel, the USFWS would do whatever is necessary to prevent impacts to neighboring private lands.

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10. How can interested citizens influence the refuge expansion process?

  • Request to be placed on our mailing list
  • Provide comments during the planning process
  • Review and comment on draft documents
Your input can either be submitted in writing or provided through personal conversation. Written correspondence via mail or email is preferred. Your input helps us identify the issues, alternatives, and solutions that make the National Wildlife Refuge System benefit both wildlife and people. If you are on our mailing list, you will be notified of all the public meetings, planning activities and opportunities to provide information and comments.  To be placed on the mailing list, send an email to BandonMarshLPP@fws.gov.

Contact: Roy Lowe, Project Leader, 541-867-4550, Roy_Lowe@fws.gov, Oregon Coast NWR Complex, 2127 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR, 97365-5258.

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Planning Timeline
Links
Contact Us
  • Please share your ideas by submitting written comments to us.

  • Mail:
    Roy W. Lowe, Project Leader
    Oregon Coast NWR Complex
    2127 SE Marine Science Drive
    Newport, Oregon 97365-5258

  • Email: BandonMarshLPP@fws.gov
  • Fax: 541-867-4551

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Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 2127 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR, 97365
Phone: 541-867-4550. Email: Oregoncoast@fws.gov.
 
Site last updated August 14, 2013