U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Southeast Region News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE              Vicki M. Boatwright or

May 28, 1996                            Diana M. Hawkins    



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed establishment of Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge in Georgetown, Horry, and Marion counties, South Carolina. The Service is seeking public comments on the Draft EIS and will hold two public meetings at the following locations and times:

     June 18, 1996 - Georgetown High School Auditorium, Georgetown, SC, 7:00 p.m.

     June 19, 1996 - Burroughs School, Government Annex, McCown Auditorium, Conway,

SC, 7:00 p.m.

The Draft EIS addresses the anticipated biological, environmental, and socioeconomic impacts of establishing the proposed refuge. It also presents five alternatives for the protection and management of the fish and wildlife resources of the proposed refuge area, including a "no action" alternative. The other four alternatives are for the establishment of a refuge involving different boundary sizes and locations.

The study area for the proposed refuge covers approximately 49,800 acres of wetlands and upland forests between the Intracoastal Waterway and U.S. Highway 701 north of Winyah Bay in coastal South Carolina. The proposed refuge would (1) protect and manage diverse habitat components within an important coastal river ecosystem for the benefit of endangered and threatened species, migratory birds, anadromous fish, and forest wildlife, including a wide array of plants and animals associated with bottomland hardwood habitats; and (2) provide compatible wildlife-dependent recreational activities including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, and environmental education and interpretation for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

The proposed refuge area contains extensive freshwater tidal wetlands, large contiguous blocks of bottomland hardwood forests, and upland forest communities consisting of longleaf and loblolly pine and mixed hardwoods such as turkey, water, and laurel oak. The area providesvaluable breeding habitat for wood ducks and wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl and is recognized as a key emphasis area in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The area's wetland and upland forests also provide habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker, bald eagle, and wood stork, all federally listed threatened and endangered species. Another endangered species, the shortnose sturgeon, inhabits the area's rivers and waterways.

Copies of the Draft EIS for the proposed refuge are available for public review and comment until July 31, 1996. Requests for copies or for further information on the project should be addressed to Mr. Charles Danner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30345, or by telephone at 1-800-419-9582.

X X X Release #96-34

1996 News Releases

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