Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge

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Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Map showing the location of Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge
Map showing the location of Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge
Location Connecticut, USA
Nearest city Westbrook, Connecticut
Coordinates 41°17′21.2316″N 72°28′18.4080″W / 41.289231000°N 72.471780000°W / 41.289231000; -72.471780000Coordinates: 41°17′21.2316″N 72°28′18.4080″W / 41.289231000°N 72.471780000°W / 41.289231000; -72.471780000
Area 950 acres (384.5 ha)
Established 1972
Governing body U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge is a 950-acre (384.5 ha) National Wildlife Refuge in ten units across the U.S. state of Connecticut. Located in the Atlantic Flyway, the refuge spans 70 miles (110 km) of Connecticut coastline and provides important resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for many species of wading birds, shorebirds, songbirds and terns, including the endangered roseate tern. Adjacent waters serve as wintering habitat for brant, scoters, American black duck, and other waterfowl. Overall, the refuge encompasses over 900 acres (364.2 ha) of barrier beach, intertidal wetland and fragile island habitats.[1]

Originally named the Salt Meadow National Wildlife Refuge, the refuge was renamed in 1987 after Stewart B. McKinney, a congressman from Connecticut.[1]

Units, wildlife, and facilities[edit]

The refuge consists of ten separate land units. From east to west they are:

Topography[edit]

The ten units of Stewart B. McKinney NWR include a variety of habitats from grassy upland, to tidal salt marsh. Native wildlife populations have diverse habitat requirements. Each species, from Roseate terns to American black ducks, has very different needs for food, water, shelter and space. The refuge units along Connecticut's coast fill these needs by providing habitats that are forested, marshy, sandy and secluded island habitats.

History[edit]

In 1972, Ester Lape donated over 150 acres (60.7 ha) of land in Westbrook, Connecticut to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. This donation became Salt Meadow National Wildlife Refuge. As neighbors donated or sold adjacent property to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Salt Meadow grew to be a 274-acre (110.9 ha) refuge.[1]

As the state became more and more populated, coastal areas and islands were being developed at an alarming rate. Citizens began to worry that the long legged wading birds and other shorebirds that use Connecticut's Islands and Coast would soon be without important nesting and feeding habitat. With the help of non-profit groups like National Audubon Society, Saugatuck Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Lands, and the Westbrook Land Trust, Sheffield, Chimon, and Goose Islands near Norwalk and Milford Point in Milford were acquired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.[1]

In 1984, these Islands were added to Salt Meadow National Wildlife Refuge and the name was changed to Connecticut's Coastal National Wildlife Refuge. In 1987, the name of the refuge was again changed to honor US Congressman Stewart B. McKinney, who had an integral role in the refuge's formation.[1]

In 2003, Calf Island in the town of Greenwich was added to the refuge. In 2005, Peach Island was added to the refuge. Through generous donations and the help of many partners, Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge now consists of ten refuge units spread across 70 miles (110 km) of Connecticut's coastline, from Westbrook to Greenwich.[1]

News[edit]

In 2007 and 2008 the town of Stratford debated whether the town would sell town owned lands to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If the property is sold, it would presumably be made part of the McKinney Refuge. From the Connecticut Post:[2]

Comprehensive Conservation Planning Process[edit]

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required by the National Wildlife System Refuge Improvement Act of 1997 to create 15-year comprehensive conservation plans (CCPs) for each of its refuges. A CCP,

The planning process for Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge was begun in the spring of 2011. Public input is solicited by the Service via public meetings, email, and postal mail.[4] Public scoping meetings were held in June, 2011 at the refuge headquarters in Westbrook, CT and at the Raymond Baldwin Center in Stratford, CT. The public comment period for the scoping phase of the project is open until July 20, 2011. There will be additional opportunities to comment on a draft plan which is expected to be available in March, 2012.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  2. ^ "Stratford Officials Consider Long Beach Sale". redOrbit. Retrieved 2011-08-26. 
  3. ^ "What are CCPs?". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
  4. ^ "Stewart B. McKinney NWR Comprehensive Conservation Planning". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 

External links[edit]