The Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan

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This CCP outlines the combined efforts of the several Maryland States, refuge neighbors, local partners, private landowners, Friends of Eastern Neck, and the local community to protect the habitat of endangered species present in the 2,286 acres Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge. It intends to achieve so by attaining several measurable goals, which include: ensuring the protection and enhancing service trust resources, and endangered species together with their habitats in the Chesapeake Bay region. In addition, the CCP aims to facilitate the maintenance of a healthy and varied complex of native flora, and fauna to pass on to the future American generations. The final goal is to perform effective outreach activities to improve public knowledge on the refuge and refuge system, and implementing effective wildlife-dependent public use programs in the Chesapeake Bay region.

The refuge provides habitat to over 250 species of birds and many other mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Some of the highlighted species regarded as the refuge’s management priority comprise the North American fowl, U.S. shorebird, and tundra swans. According to Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan (2010), these three bird species form part of bird species given precedence in conservation concerns. The degree of priority is based on the evaluation scores from three primary bird conservation plans (the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan; the Partners in Flight North American Landbird Conservation Plan; and the North American Waterbird Conservation Plans and Initiatives Guiding the Project Birds of Conservation Concern 2008 Report (USFWS 2008) Conservation Plans and Initiatives Guiding the Project 1-18 Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan). For instance, the North American Waterfowl was initially addressed in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan of 1986 that was later modified in 2004. The plan describes a 15-year strategy for restoring and sustaining this bird species population through the preservation and restoration of their habitat. On the other hand, the conservation concerns regarding the U.S. shorebird population are addressed in the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan of 2000. The report outlines critical habitat and conservation needs and recommends public outreach programs that can increase awareness of these birds, including their threats. Lastly, a conservation plan for the Eastern population of Tundra Swans was formulated in 2007. Its main objective was to increase and sustain the status of Tundra Swan at 80,000 in the Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways. This is achieved by providing essential staging and wintering habitat.

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Based on the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan (2010), the overall three bird species’ status can be improved by protecting, restoring, and enhancing their natural habitats. However, in specific, the waterfowl population can be improved by preserving the tidal marsh and SAV beds by encouraging the public to employ cooperative farming in managing cropland. Moreover, people can engage in sustainable, best-management farming practices with an emphasis on organic farming to prevent chemical, sediment, and nutrient run-off into the lower Chester River basin. In contrast, the reduction in the population of tundra swans in the Chesapeake Bay region is attributed to the decline of SAV beds that led to a decrease in their preferred foods. Therefore, strategies to increase their population include those aiming to control the mute swans’ population and maintain the riparian lands surrounding SAV and clam beds. Furthermore, strategies to enhance the status of the shorebirds primarily revolve around moist soil management practices. These will promote invertebrate production, which are protein-rich food resources for the shorebirds.

Generally, the plan is feasible and reasonable; however, it is subject to a few development issues that might arise. For instance, the attainment of the CCP objectives might be slowed down by the fact that the refuge is not well known in the Kent County Area. Therefore, this might interfere with the performance of public outreach programs and increasing awareness of the service, refuge, and refuge system. Second, there are several cultural and historical resources found at the Eastern Neck Refuge. All of which are protected by the cultural and prehistoric Act. Therefore, the Service trust is required to balance between preserving the Federal trust resources, and wildlife trust responsibilities. Moreover, the major issue affecting the physical integrity of the island, and flora and fauna is shoreline erosion. The recovery and stabilization of the shoreline is centered on practicing effective land management practices, such as organic farming and crop rotation. It might prove to be challenging to raise awareness and convince inhabitants to change their farm management practices. Furthermore, shoreline erosion, coupled with the uncertainty of future climate change effects, makes it more difficult to ensure the creation of self-sustaining populations.

This CCP has three main goals, and they include ensuring the protection and enhancing service trust resources, and endangered species together with their habitats in the Chesapeake Bay region; maintaining a healthy and diverse complex of natural community types, constituting native flora and fauna to pass on to the future American generations; and conducting effective outreach activities to raise awareness of the refuge and refuge system, and implementing quality wildlife-dependent public use programs. Disregarding the potential issues, the CCP is likely to achieve its goals, and this is primarily because it encompasses the participation of multiple stakeholders with different backgrounds having shared interests.

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The Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-eastern-neck-national-wildlife-refuge-comprehensive-conservation-plan/
“The Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-eastern-neck-national-wildlife-refuge-comprehensive-conservation-plan/
The Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-eastern-neck-national-wildlife-refuge-comprehensive-conservation-plan/> [Accessed 20 Jun. 2024].
The Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2024 Jun 20]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-eastern-neck-national-wildlife-refuge-comprehensive-conservation-plan/
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