BARING – How are we doing?
That’s what folks at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge will be asking as they begin a Comprehensive Conservation Plan.
A CCP meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, in the St. Croix Room at Washington County Community College.
The CCP will establish management goals and objectives for the next 15 years. Wildlife, habitat, land protection, wilderness management and visitor services programs will all be evaluated during the planning process.
This is the first such major conservation plan for the refuge that was started in 1937. The Baring refuge was established as a breeding ground for migratory birds, endangered species and other wildlife.
For years, it has been home to the American woodcock, also known as the timberdoodle where it has been studied and managed.
The CCP concept began in 1997 when the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act went into law. The act required that by 2012 all of the country’s refuge systems put in place a long-range guidance plan.
“The planning project provides a unique opportunity for the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife] Service to involve all of those interested in the long-term management of the refuge,” Refuge Manager Bill Kolodnicki said in a prepared release.
Kolodnicki said in an interview Monday that the process already has begun. In March refuge personnel held a technical meeting with environmental groups, college personnel and state and national officials.
They had planned to hold a similar meeting with the public, but a snowstorm on March 3 forced the cancellation of that meeting. The meeting was rescheduled for next month.
Kolodnicki explained what would happen at the open house.
“We will do an overview of the planning process and how it works,” he said. “We will have maps showing our management habitat plan that includes fire, logging, cutting, hunting and water control structures. We will show all of our habitat management goals’ perspective and discuss our public use goals and our wilderness goals.”
But public input is important to make the CCP work. A question he expects will be: Are people happy with the way the refuge operates?
Other potential issues include hunting and the use of snowmobiles and ATVs on the refuge. One area resident, he said, asked if the refuge could plant food patches to stimulate the return of the deer population.
Additional information may be obtained at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service home page at www.fws.gov/northeast/planning/Moosehorn/ccphome.html or by calling the headquarters office at 454-7161.