Public Comment Period of Compatibility Determination of Right of Way


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 23734 US Highway 1 20 October 2021 McBee, SC 29101 Contact: Allyne Askins carolinasandhills@fws.gov 843-335-6023 Allyne_askins@fws.gov 

 

Public Comment Period on Compatibility Determination for Right-of-Way for Existing VHF Omni Directional Radio Range (facility, operation, and maintenance) by the Federal Aviation Administration on the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the availability of a draft compatibility determination that examines the use of 1 acre of refuge land by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate a VHF Omni Directional Radio Range (VOR) facility on the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). The FAA has operated the facility since October 22, 1957 via realty permit but changes in law require the issuance of a right-of-way as the appropriate legal instrument between the Service and the FAA. In accordance with the Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the draft compatibility determination examines the FAA’s compliance with the past conditions of their realty permit and analyzes conditions for the issuance of a right-of-way permit based on existing conditions with the use in place, not from a pre-use perspective. 

The VOR is a short-range radio navigation system for aircraft that the FAA considers to be critical infrastructure due to its proximity to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (70 miles) and its use by commercial and general aviation aircraft on North-South Atlantic flights originating from Maine to Florida. The right-of-way permit will enable the FAA to continue to operate and maintain the VOR over the next 50 years. No new construction and/or other types of ground disturbing activities have been proposed. 

Public involvement is an important factor in the development and review of Refuge uses. The public is invited to review the draft compatibility determination. The document is available beginning October 20, 2021 for 15 business days. The document is available to review by appointment at the Refuge’s headquarters office (23734 US Highway 1, McBee, SC 29101). You may also contact the Refuge at 843-335-8350 or carolinasandhills@fws.gov to request an electronic copy. Please let us know if you need the document in an alternative format. To ensure consideration of your comments in the development of a final decision, please submit written comments to the refuge by mail (23734 US Highway 1, McBee, SC 29101) or e-mail (carolinasandhills@fws.gov) by November 10, 2021.

Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge features 46,000 acres of rolling hills dominated by the longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem. The refuge is home to the red-cockaded woodpecker, a federally endangered species, and provides a mosaic of habitats for 190 species of birds, 42 species of mammals, 41 species of reptiles, and 25 species of amphibians. More than 800 species of plants have been identified on the refuge, including rare species of pitcher plants, Well’s pixie-moss, and white-wicky. Established in 1939, the refuge, located in Chesterfield County, is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands more than 540 units strong. The US Fish and Wildlife Service manages this outstanding network of lands to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.