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Timber Point EA

Timber Point EA by Steve NorrisAgency reviews diverse public comments and selects alternative that balances wildlife management with enhanced interpretation of the historic structures at Timber Point, Biddeford, ME.

February 2015 Announcement:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has selected the preferred alternative to preserve the structures and enhance interpretation at Timber Point on Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Biddeford, Maine. The Service made this decision after reviewing diverse public comments received during a public involvement process and is announcing its final decision. Links to the decision documents are below.

The Process

Under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, federal agencies are required to make a series of decisions and evaluations that anticipate the effects on environmental resources whenever they propose an action, issue a permit, or agree to fund an action. An environmental assessment, or EA, is often used to document that evaluation.  Involving the public is a part of the NEPA process.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prepared an EA to evaluate proposals for managing buildings at Timber Point. The EA details four alternatives which differ in their proposed future use of the buildings at the property. The 30-day public comment period for the EA closed on October 31, 2014. During the month of October, the Service conducted three public open houses of the buildings on Timber Point, along with two public meeting sessions.

We summarized the comments on the Timber Point Environmental Assessment (EA) that were received from nearly 300 sources (mail, email, Facebook postings and afternoon and evening public meeting sessions) during our October 2014 comment period. We had 21 people attend the afternoon session, and 19 people attend the evening session. The Service's response to the public comments and the transcripts from the two public meeting sessions can be accessed at the links below.

The public comments were diverse in nature with respondents supporting each of the alternatives including demolishing the structures and turning the main house into an environmental education center. Neighbors and residents along the main access road to Timber Point expressed concern about increased traffic congestion and road safety for the enhanced visitor use alternatives. Since the Service’s final decision supports enhanced interpretation for the site, the Service is committed to working with neighbors, local residents and the City of Biddeford to address their concerns.

We evaluated the physical, biological and human impacts of all four management alternatives, and believe that the preferred alternative (alternative B) strikes the right balance between the interests for public use at the site while maintaining wildlife values. The Service will implement Alternative B to ensure conservation of wildlife and habitat, as well as provide opportunities for cultural and natural resources interpretation. In addition to continuing with current management, the refuge will initiate additional repairs and improvements to ensure the long-term preservation of the buildings eligible for the National Register as funding becomes available. A spur trail through the Ewing residential estate will be added to the existing Timber Point Trail and interpretive signs and materials will be developed, in partnership with others.

We would like to thank everyone who provided comments and asked questions during the NEPA process.

Timber Point EA Documents:

Learn more about Timber Point:

Page Photo Credits — View from Timber Point by Steve Norris
Last Updated: Feb 25, 2015
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