The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is evaluating creation of a new national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
Learn more about national wildlife refuge to conserve currently unprotected, high priority fish and wildlife habitats across southern Maryland.
In collaboration with landowners, outdoor enthusiasts, conservation partners, and local communities, the Service proposes to identify lands for protection as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System in southern Maryland. If approved, these lands would be incorporated into a new National Wildlife Refuge that encompasses portions of Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Prince George’s, and Anne Arundel Counties.
An in-depth, collaborative effort over the past 15 years demonstrated that currently unprotected habitats in these counties support significant populations of fish and wildlife appropriate for protection by the National Wildlife Refuge System, primarily threatened and endangered species, waterfowl, and migratory birds of conservation concern. These species face habitat loss from land use changes, climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.
Learn more about climate change , competition from invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.
Learn more about invasive species , and other stressors.
The process of establishing a new national wildlife refuge requires preparation of a land protection plan (LPP) and environmental assessment (EA) which will be made available for a 45-day public review and comment period. The responsibility to approve or disapprove the proposal rests with the Service’s Director. The LPP/EA will propose a boundary within which the Service may acquire interests in lands from willing sellers. Land protection work could be achieved with fee title or conservation easement conservation easement
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a government agency or qualified conservation organization that restricts the type and amount of development that may take place on a property in the future. Conservation easements aim to protect habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife by limiting residential, industrial or commercial development. Contracts may prohibit alteration of the natural topography, conversion of native grassland to cropland, drainage of wetland and establishment of game farms. Easement land remains in private ownership.
Learn more about conservation easement acquisition. Landowners who do not wish to sell or donate interests in land to the Service are under no obligation to do so.
For more information about this project, please see the Press Release and Frequently Asked Questions documents.
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