Services Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge expansion proposal tabled to make way for long-term planning effort
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will table the decision on a refuge boundary expansion at Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge based on public input.
Refuge managers instead will move forward with the development of a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) – a process that will take two to three years to complete, is required by law, and will set priorities and guide management actions for the refuge for the next 15 years. The decision comes six months after the agency said it would review its options about how to proceed with the proposed expansion.
“We made it clear last fall that our number one priority is to work in tandem with landowners, community and business leaders, the State of Alabama, our conservation partners, and others, who are interested in the future of Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and the protection of these extraordinary natural resources for generations to come,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “That is our commitment moving forward as we work with citizens to protect these natural resources and the recreation they support.”
Engagement with the public and a range of constituencies with interests in the future of the refuge will be a critical piece of the CCP process that will begin this fall.
Cahaba River NWR, located in Bibb County, shelters globally unique species and habitats and includes 3.5 miles of the Cahaba, Alabama’s longest free-flowing river. It is presently one of the nation’s smaller national wildlife refuges, but is the fifth largest of Alabama’s 11 national wildlife refuges. The Cahaba River NWR was established in 2002. Its acquisition boundary is 7,600 acres and that includes 3,608 acres the refuge currently owns.
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