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Waterfowl Hunting to Proceed; Fish and Wildlife Service Takes Big Step to Resume Public Use of Managed Access Area at Cache River National Wildlife Refuge

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2005

Contacts:
Jeffrey Fleming, 404-274-6693
Keith Stephens, 501-223-6342  



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said today this year’s waterfowl hunting season won’t be affected by the ongoing recovery effort for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. At the same time, the agency announced it is taking another step to provide significant public use of the 4,800-acre managed access area at Cache River National Wildlife Refuge.

“When we held town hall meetings in May and met with more than 500 citizens, we said that absent any major developments in the recovery work over the summer we didn’t anticipate any changes for this year’s waterfowl season,” said Sam Hamilton, the Service’s southeast regional director. “There were no such developments and this year’s season will move forward with no changes. We’ve also taken steps to provide more use of the Managed Access Area where the woodpecker was caught on film. These are the right steps to take and we look forward to pursuing this bird’s recovery together with local citizens, private landowners, and many others.”

“The actions taken by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are fully in line with protecting the woodpecker and its habitat while allowing careful hunters and anglers to continue enjoying these woods, as they have for decades,” said John Fitzpatrick, director of Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology.

The upcoming waterfowl season – 60 days with a six-duck daily bag – won’t be affected by the ongoing recovery effort for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The recovery is being led by the Service and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and includes citizens, local business representatives, conservation groups, and various representatives of local, state, and federal government agencies.

The Service established a daily permitting system for birders, hunters, and anglers, that will provide a variety of public use activities within the Managed Access Area, which was put in place immediately after the woodpecker’s rediscovery was announced in April.

Here’s how the daily permitting system will work: Daily permits will be required for each individual visiting the Managed Access Area at Cache River NWR and the permits will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. Visitors must pick up a daily permit at the refuge’s office located at 26320 Hwy 33 South of Augusta the day before their visit to the Managed Access Area. Consumptive users (hunters and anglers) and non-consumptive users (birders, photographers, hikers, etc.) will be provided equal access in each sub unit of the managed area.

Sub-Unit A -- 10 daily permits split among consumptive and non-consumptive users
Sub-Unit B -- Six daily permits split among consumptive and non-consumptive users
Sub-Unit C -- 20 daily permits split among consumptive and non-consumptive users
Sub-Unit D -- 20 daily permits split among consumptive and non-consumptive users
Sub-Unit E -- 20 daily permits split among consumptive and non-consumptive users

Permits are available free of charge and may be picked up at the Cache River NWR office (26320 Hwy 33 South of Augusta) Monday thru Friday from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. Permits for Saturday -- Monday will be available on the preceding Friday. A holiday schedule is in place for all federal holidays. The daily access permits are non-transferable and must be picked up in person. A valid hunting or fishing license will be required to obtain a permit for consumptive use permits and the appropriate equipment must be possessed in the field. Consumptive use permits for hunting will only be valid during refuge open seasons and all permit holders must adhere to all applicable state, refuge and federal laws and regulations. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel are not eligible for daily permits for Sub-units A & B. A map of these units can be obtained at www.fws.gov/ivorybill/.

At White River National Wildlife Refuge, the Service announced recently that no changes are planned for public use at this time. That announcement came after the release of a sampling of sound recordings taken from White River in January, 2005, which strongly suggests the presence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers there.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said recently it plans no changes for public use activities at the Rex Hancock Black Swamp Wildlife Management Area or the Dagmar Wildlife Management Area.

Anglers, hunters, birders and others anywhere in Cache River NWR are encouraged to report Ivory-billed Woodpecker sightings by telephone at 1-800-843-2473, or by e-mail at ivorybill@cornell.edu. For more information about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker’s recovery effort please visit www.fws.gov/ivorybill.

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 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources 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 and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


Managed Access Area map


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