The Fish and Wildlife Service has announced its final management plans for two national wildlife refuges in Northern Virginia. The plans will guide development of Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Fairfax County and Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge in Prince William County for the next 15 years.
FWS adopted its proposed improved management plans for both sites, after undergoing review and a public comment period. It made only a few minor modifications to both plans. The largest change allows at Featherstone non-motorized boats to land at the tidal beach on Farm Creek so people can observe and photograph nature. They can walk form there less than half a mile to an observation deck.
The Featherstone plan also calls for FWS to work with Prince William County to secure additional parking and pedestrian access. It leaves open the possibility for allowing hunting on the refuge, which was set up specifically to protect the bald eagle. But FWS will need to get specific funding to hire staff to carry out these activities.
At Mason Neck, the plan calls for cleaning up the marshes and controlling the deer population to make the place more hospitable for bald eagles, great blue herons and other migratory birds.
For details on the plans, see http://www.fws.gov/northeast/planning/MasonNeck_Featherstone/ccphome.html.