U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Selects New Manager for Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina
June 7, 2004
Bruce Freske, a 16-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the new refuge manager of Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in Swan Quarter, North Carolina. He began his new duties in April.
“Bruce is a newcomer to the Southeast Region, having served at four refuges in the Service’s Great Lakes-Big Rivers and Mountain-Prairie Regions,” said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “He was the first on-site manager of Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge along the Kansas-Missouri state line, and his experience in public outreach will be valuable to Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge.”
Since 1998, Freske worked at the new 7,500-acre Marais des Cygnes refuge which was established by Congress in 1992. He was responsible for establishing offices, maintenance, and visitor services and for staffing the new refuge. He also opened portions of the refuge to public use activities, including hunting and fishing, and formed relationships with local sportsmen and government agencies. Freske also has served as a Refuge Operations Specialist at Rainwater Basin Wetlands Management District in Kearney, Nebraskaand at Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges in Havana, Illinois. He began his refuge career as a Refuge Manager Trainee at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in Marion, Illinois.
“In contrast to Marais des Cygnes, Mattamuskeet is a well-established National Wildlife Refuge with a long and rich history as a waterfowl refuge,” said Freske. “I hope to capitalize on this legacy to rehabilitate the office complex which is comprised of buildings that are 40 to 50 years old.”
Freske’s other plans for the refuge include revitalizing Mattamuskeet’s 2,500 acres of moist soil units and increasing public outreach and education efforts.
“Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge and eastern North Carolina are an exciting new world for a Mid-Westerner,” said Freske. “Every day brings new surprises – like a bear in the maintenance area dumpster – which I didn’t anticipate at an East Coast Refuge, and thousands of glass eels (an eel in its transparent, postlarval stage) running up canals.
Freske holds a degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Minnesota. He enjoys fishing, hunting, and gardening. Freske and his wife, Tanya, have three daughters Emily, age 15; Hannah, age 8; and Sarah, age 7.
Established in 1934, the 50,180-acre Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge hosts a large wintering population of ducks, Canada geese, snow geese, and tundra swans. Bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and American alligators are also seen on the refuge. The refuge’s main feature, the 40-acre Lake Mattamuskeet and its canals, are home to largemouth bass, bream or sunfish, white perch, crappie, herring, and blue crab. Lake Mattamuskeet is North Carolina’s largest natural lake.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.
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