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Pocosin Lakes Refuge bridge to be considered for reconstruction

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the availability of a draft Compatibility Determination for a Right-of-Way Permit for the North Carolina Department of Transportation Bridge 17 (Ryders Creek Bridge) Replacement on Pocosin Lakes Refuge. The proposed Right-of-Way will be on Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). The Service is seeking comments on the benefits and impacts on the bridge replacement right-of-way through July 5, 2021.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. These actions include decisions on permit applications, adopting federal land management actions, and constructing highways and other publicly-owned facilities. Using the NEPA process, the Refuge can evaluate the environmental and related social and economic effects of these proposed actions. For this project, an Environmental Action Statement was completed.

National Wildlife Refuges are required by law to determine the compatibility of any proposed or existing use with the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System and the purpose for which a particular refuge was established. The mission of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is to protect migratory birds and other native wildlife and their breeding grounds and habitat for the benefit of the American people,” stated Acting Refuge Manager Wendy Stanton. She added, “We want the community to be informed about the work being proposed and to have an opportunity to weigh in on the pros and cons of that work.”

If you wish to review the draft Compatibility Determination, copies are available at the Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges web site at:

https://fws.gov/ncgatewayvc/images/6-17-21-CD-PL.pdf and https://fws.gov/ncgatewayvc/images/6-17-21-EA-PL.pdf

Written comments may be sent to: Acting Refuge Manager, Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge P.O. Box 369 Columbia, NC 27925 or emailed to pocosin lakes@fws.gov.

All comments must be submitted no later than close of business (4:00 PM) on July 5, 2021. If you need additional information or to request documents in alternative formats, please contact Acting Refuge Manager Wendy Stanton (wendy_stanton@fws.gov) or Wildlife Refuge Specialist Sarah Toner (sarah_toner@fws.gov).