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Public comment sought on draft plan for Protection Island and San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuges
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking the public to comment on its draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan, Wilderness Stewardship Plan, and Environmental Assessment for the future management of the Protection Island and San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuges.
The draft plan includes an analysis of three management alternatives for the refuges. The Fish and Wildlife Service's preferred alternative includes:
— More active habitat management projects, including removal of deer from Protection Island to enhance seabird nesting habitat.
— Restoration projects on the spits, grasslands and forests to increase native plant diversity.
— Research studies that answer refuge management questions.
Public use changes include enforcing no-pets regulations on all San Juan Islands refuge lands and closing some areas on Turn Island. Overnight camping on Turn and Matia islands would be limited to visitors arriving by human-powered craft only, and a camping reservation system would be initiated.
There would be more emphasis on enhancing the public’s understanding and appreciation of the refuges’ natural, cultural and wilderness resources through on- and off-refuge interpretation and education programs. There would also be more emphasis on working with existing partners and developing new partnerships to accomplish objectives.
The draft plan and the latest planning update are posted at www.fws.gov/pacific/planning.
Printed copies are available for review at the following libraries in Northwestern Washington: Anacortes Public Library, Bellingham Public Library, Clinton Public Library, Coupeville Public Library, Evergreen State College Library, Island County Library, Jefferson County Central Library, Lopez Island Library, North Olympic Public Library, Oak Harbor Public Library, Orcas Island Library, Peninsula College Library, San Juan Island Library, Shaw Island Library, University of Puget Sound Library, University of Washington Library, Waldron Island Library, and Washington State Library.
Comments on the draft plan should be mailed, faxed or e-mailed by Sept. 16 to: Kevin Ryan, Project Leader, Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 715 Holgerson Road, Sequim, WA 98382; fax 360-457-9778; or e-mail FW1PlanningComments@fws.gov. Include "Protection Island/San Juan Islands" in the e-mail subject line. Public comments will be addressed in the final Comprehensive Conservation Plan, Wilderness Stewardship Plan and Environmental Assessment, scheduled to be completed in fall.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states as its mission: Working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov.