Public can comment on proposed plans for Patuxent Research Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking comments and input on a proposed 15-year plan for managing wildlife and habitat, and public use, at Patuxent Research Refuge for the next 15 years.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed three approaches for management and public use of the Refuge, which is located off Powder Mill Road in South Laurel and includes the National Wildlife Visitor Center. Of the three, named Alternative A, B and C, Alternative B, forest restoration and mixed public use, is preferred by Fish and Wildlife. This plan "emphasizes management of specific habitats to support priority species whose habitat needs would also benefit species of conservation concern," and would also enhance public use, agency officials said in a released statement.

Alternative A is the current management, and Alternative C would "maximize forest interior restoration and emphasize wildlife-dependent public use activities," according to information released by the agency.

To read the draft comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment, go to

Comments can be made by fax, mail, email or phone to Fish and Wildlife officials, or presented at two public meetings next week on Monday, Oct. 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the National Wildlife Visitor Center, Patuxent Research Refuge, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop; and Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at Chesapeake Bay Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 177 Admiral Cochrane Drive, Annapolis.

The point of contact is Bill Perry, Natural Resource Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035; 413-253-8688; fax 413-253-8468; (write "Patuxent CCP" in the subject line).

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