Big Game Hunting Program on Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has announced the Compatibility Determination for big game hunting of white-tailed deer, sika, and wild turkey on Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is available for public comment.  The Service developed this compatibility determination to facilitate the evaluation of the proposed refuge use, including anticipated impacts of the activity and stipulations to ensure compatibility.

In addition to the formal comment period on the Compatibility Determination, the public is also invited to attend an open house on the refuge’s big game hunt program. The open house meeting will be an opportunity to learn more about big game public hunting opportunities on the refuge, ask questions, and provide comments on the hunt program in general or the Compatibility Determination specifically.  The open house will be held on Wednesday April 5, 2017 from 6-9 pm at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, address 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, MD 21613.

The compatibility determination is available for viewing at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, and on the refuge website at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Blackwater/. Comments should be submitted in writing to the attention of Mr. Matt Whitbeck, Wildlife Biologist, at Chesapeake Marshlands NWRC, 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, MD 21613; or matt_whitbeck@fws.gov.  Comments will be accepted until April 14, 2017.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.

Public Comment Period Open for Furbearer Trapping on Blackwater NWR

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has announced the Compatibility Determination for Furbearer Management on Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is available for public comment. The Service developed this compatibility determination to facilitate evaluation of the proposed refuge use, including anticipated impacts of the activity and stipulations to ensure compatibility.

Furbearer trapping, primarily for muskrat, has taken place on Blackwater NWR since its establishment in 1933. There have been no significant changes to the furbearer management program on the refuge since the last compatibility determination was completed in 2006.

The compatibility determination is available for viewing at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, and on the refuge website at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Blackwater/. Comments should be submitted in writing to the attention of Mr. Matt Whitbeck, Wildlife Biologist, at Chesapeake Marshlands NWRC, 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, MD 21613; or matt_whitbeck@fws.gov. Comments will be accepted until November 11, 2016.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Seeks Volunteers

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) can use your help! Volunteers are needed to assist with a variety of programs, including staffing the Visitor Center front desk, maintaining the beneficial insect and butterfly garden, leading interpretive and educational programs, biological monitoring, and much more.

Volunteers staff the Visitor Center front desk at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

Volunteers staff the Visitor Center front desk at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

Volunteers play a critical role in helping the refuge fulfill its mission. Over 180,000 visitors from all over the world visit Blackwater NWR each year to photograph wildlife, hike trails, paddle waterways, and enjoy the scenic landscapes. Established in 1933 as a refuge for migratory birds, the refuge has one of the highest concentrations of nesting bald eagles on the Atlantic coast, and the largest protected population of Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrels. With over 28,000 acres of rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and pine forest, managed freshwater wetlands and several hundred acres of cropland, Blackwater NWR supports a diversity of wildlife. If you love wildlife and wild places, consider volunteering at Blackwater NWR!

A volunteer workshop will be held at the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center on Saturday, August 6th from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. to update new and seasoned volunteers on current refuge projects. Come learn what has been happening on the refuge, with updates from refuge staff on the biological program, including Hurricane Sandy resiliency projects, the latest information on the nutria project, and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, National Monument and National Historical Park. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to meet Blackwater NWR’s new Refuge Manager, Marcia Pradines. This training session is open to current volunteers as well as any member of the public interested in becoming a refuge volunteer.

To learn more about the volunteer program at Blackwater NWR or to register for this volunteer workshop, please contact Michele Whitbeck at 410-221-8157 or Michele_Whitbeck@fws.gov. The Blackwater NWR Visitor Center is located just south of Cambridge, MD on Key Wallace Drive. Come help make the refuge a better place for wildlife and people alike!

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is 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 on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Blackwater Needs You

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) could use your help! Volunteers are needed to assist with a variety of programs, including staffing the Visitor Center front desk, maintaining the beneficial insect and butterfly garden, leading interpretive and educational programs, biological monitoring, and much more.

Volunteers play a critical role in helping the refuge fulfill its mission. Over 180,000 visitors from all over the world visit Blackwater NWR each year to photograph wildlife, hike trails, paddle waterways, and enjoy the scenic landscapes. Established in 1933 as a refuge for migratory birds, the refuge has one of the highest concentrations of nesting bald eagles on the Atlantic coast, and the largest protected population of endangered Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrels. With over 28,000 acres of rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and pine forest, managed freshwater wetlands and several hundred acres of cropland, Blackwater NWR’s varied habitats support a diversity of wildlife. If you love wildlife and wild places, consider volunteering at Blackwater NWR!

A volunteer workshop will be held on Saturday, August 15th from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. to update new and seasoned volunteers on current refuge projects. Come learn what has been happening on the refuge, with updates from refuge staff on the biological program, including recent bat surveys and Hurricane Sandy resiliency projects, as well as the latest information on the nutria program and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park. This training session is open to current volunteers as well as any member of the public interested in becoming a Refuge volunteer.

To learn more about the volunteer program at Blackwater NWR or to register for this volunteer workshop, please contact Michele Whitbeck at 410-901-6124 ext. 23 or Michele_Whitbeck@fws.gov. The Blackwater NWR Visitor Center is located just south of Cambridge, MD on Key Wallace Drive. Come help make the refuge a better place for wildlife and people alike!

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Blackwater NWR Announces Partial Closure of the Wildlife Drive

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge will be closing the first section of the wildlife drive on Thursday, July 16, 2015, in order to replace a water control structure near the start of the drive.

Refuge staff estimate it will take approximately one week to replace the structure and reopen the drive. During this time visitors will still be able to access a portion of the drive, free of charge, by entering through the headquarters parking lot.

The area of the drive affected by the closure will be everything from the start of the drive to the Woods Trail parking lot, including the Marsh Edge trail, observation platform, and photo blind. The Woods Trail and adjoining parking lot will remain open.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. For more information, please call 410-228-2677.

Dredging Project is restoring Susquehanna National Wildlife Refuge

Susquehanna National Wildlife Refuge is benefiting from a maintenance dredging project to help improve navigation near Havre de Grace, Maryland. Material from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers led project is being used to build up the offshore refuge, known locally as Battery Island. The island has been severely eroded by winds and waves during storm events in recent years, and prior to the dredging project was less than one acre in size.

The island has been built up using 200,000 cubic yards of dredged sand, and it has been seeded twice with grasses. Next week there will be an additional planting for shrubs and other plants to help complete the restoration. The restoration will create habitat for black ducks and other migratory birds. Susquehanna National Wildlife Refuge is closed to the public to help protect these habitats and provide a protected place for wildlife. Anyone having questions or seeking further information about Susquehanna NWR or other National Wildlife Refuges in the area is encouraged to contact Refuge Manager Suzanne Baird at 410-228-2692 or suzanne_baird@fws.gov.

Susquehanna National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is located in the Chesapeake Bay.The refuge was established in 1940 as a refuge for migratory birds.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/northeast.