The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input on developing its Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Patuxent Research Refuge.

The CCP is a 15-year plan designed to provide strategic management direction that best achieves the refuge's purposes; attains the vision and goals developed for the refuge; contributes to the National Wildlife Refuge System mission; addresses key challenges, issues and relevant mandates; and is consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife management.

After a year of pre-planning, the next stage of the process is public scoping meetings. These meetings are open to everyone and provide an opportunity for the public to speak directly with staff and comment on what they see as the issues, concerns and challenges for the refuge over the next 15 years. The meeting format is an informal open house with a brief presentation by refuge staff.

All of the information and comments gathered during public scoping will be reviewed before a Draft CCP and environmental assessment is developed. The draft plan will be distributed for public review and comment. Public Scoping Meetings are scheduled for:

  • Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD: 2-4 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 22. A refuge presentations will take place at 2:15 & 6:45 p.m. Directions and details are found at http://patuxent.fws.gov.
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, MD: 1-3 p.m. Feb. 23. A refuge presentation is scheduled at 1:15 p.m. Directions are found at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/mailroom.asp

 

Written comments are also welcome; send them to Brad Knudsen, Patuxent Research Refuge Manager at Patuxent Research Refuge, National Wildlife Visitor Center 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel, MD 20708; or northeastplanning@fws.gov. Put "Patuxent" in the e-mail subject line.

For information about the CCP process, contact Brad Knudsen at 301-497-5582 or Jennifer Hill at 240-882-0360; or visit http://patuxent.fws.gov.

With land surrounding the Patuxent and Little Patuxent Rivers between the District of Columbia and Baltimore, MD, the refuge has grown from its original 2,670 acres to its present size of 12,841 acres and encompasses land formerly managed by the Departments of Agriculture and Defense. Throughout decades of change, the Patuxent Refuge's mission of conserving and protecting the nation's wildlife and habitat through research and wildlife management techniques has remained virtually unchanged.