Proposed Urban NWR in Metropolitan Jackson, MS
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Proposed Urban National Wildlife Refuge in Metropolitan Jackson, Mississippi


This information also available for printing via our Project Informational Flyer (PDF)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to establish an urban national wildlife refuge along the Pearl River in the Jackson, Mississippi, metropolitan area. The project area contains approximately 5,000 acres and is bounded by the Ross Barnett Reservoir to the north and Lakeland Drive (Mississippi Highway 25) to the south.

The establishment of the proposed refuge would enable the Service to protect a vital portion of the Pearl River bottomland riparian ecosystem in an urbanized area, as well as offer wildlife-dependent public use opportunities within the greater Jackson metropolitan area. Cultural and historical resources would be protected and environmental education and interpretive programs would allow the public to better understand and appreciate the important natural resources in this area.

The purposes of the proposed refuge would be to: 1) restore and protect freshwater forested/shrub wetlands, including seasonally flooded bottomland hardwoods and cypress swamps; 2) conserve, protect, and manage migratory birds and other interjurisdictional trust species; 3) contribute to the recovery of two federally listed species – the ringed map turtle and gulf sturgeon; and 4) provide wildlife-dependent public use opportunities.

 

Benefits to the Public

  • Protect a vital portion of the Pearl River bottomland hardwood riparian ecosystem in an urbanized area.
  • Provide wildlife-dependent public use opportunities like hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation within the greater Jackson metropolitan area.
  • Protect cultural and historical resources within the property.
  • Develop environmental education and interpretive programs to highlight the important natural resources of the area.
  • Enhance the ecological functioning of the Pearl River Basin through connections with existing conservation lands and establishment of wildlife corridors.

 

Background

The proposed refuge includes 2,712 acres of adjoining property currently owned by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), which is the largest contiguous piece of property under one ownership between the reservoir and Highway 25 (Lakeland Drive) and lies within a highly urbanized portion of the greater Jackson area. This property was acquired cooperatively by the Federal Highway Administration and MDOT and was used to establish a wetland and stream mitigation bank under the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If the proposed refuge is approved, this property will be transferred to the Service, along with managing funds. This transfer would occur after all restoration work is completed by MDOT and the Mitigation Banking Instrument is approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Following the transfer, the Service would then continue working with willing landowners and other partners to protect the remaining acreage within the proposed refuge acquisition boundary.

The Service’s National Wetlands Inventory classifies the majority of the project area as freshwater forested/shrub wetlands. The habitat, which is influenced by frequent overbank and backwater flooding from the adjacent Pearl River and tributaries, is predominately a southern floodplain forest comprised of various ecological communities including; cypress/tupelo sloughs, bottomland hardwood forest, mixed pine/oak forest and pure loblolly pine timber stands.

The only significant higher ground is a slightly elevated ridge in the center of the property. Since the 1970s, most of the property has been intensively managed for timber production.

The proposed National Wildlife Refuge in Central Mississippi would be incorporated into the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex. This complex currently encompasses seven refuges and is responsible for managing and maintaining over 100,000 acres in the Mississippi delta region.

 

Proposed Refuge Planning Schedule

  • November 2013: Conduct scoping meetings to gather feedback from the public on the preliminary proposal.
  • December - February 2014: Review the public’s comments and develop a Draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment.
  • March 2014: Release the Draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment for public comment.
  • April 2014: Review and prepare responses to the public’s comments.
  • April - May 2014: Revise the draft plan into a final document.
  • June 2014: Submit the document for final consideration.

 

Contact

Mike Rich, Refuge Manager
Theodore Roosevelt Refuge Complex
12595 Mississippi Highway 149
Yazoo City, MS 39194
Phone: 662/836 3004
E-mail: ProposedMSRefugeLPP@fws.gov
Fax: 662/836 3009

 

 

A cypress swamp Cypress swamps are one of the ecosystems included in the proposed refuge boundary. Photo: David Felder, USFWS.


A map of the proposed refuge boundary Map of the Proposed Urban National Wildlife Refuge. Click for full size.


A sandbar Scenic sandbars are present at the proposed refuge. Photo: David Felder, USFWS.

 

Last updated: November 22, 2013