Massachusetts: Feds plan waterfowl, coyote hunts in Monomoy refuge
CHATHAM – For the first time since the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1944, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to allow the hunting of migratory waterfowl and coyote inside the refuge.
A public information session will be held at the Chatham Community Center on April 30 from 3 to 6 p.m.
“I don’t think this is good for the coyote population on Cape Cod, with alpha parents getting killed and leaving young to fend for their themselves,” said Jan Raffaele, of Friends of Cape Wildlife. “One presumes the wildlife refuge is a safe haven for animals – more and more we’re opening refuges across the United States to hunting and more inhumane uses.”
She also said she is skeptical about how public input will be received at the meeting.
She recalled that several years ago there were hearings at the National Seashore on a proposal to safeguard piping plover eggs by poisoning crows. At the first meeting, she said, the public was able to speak and the proposal failed. When the plan was reintroduced a year later the public was only allowed to ask questions and not make comments.
The Seashore ultimately backed off that idea, but Raffaele said she’s concerned the refuge meeting will be a “watered-down public information session.”
The purpose of the public session is to “outline the proposed refuge hunt plan and seek public input on issues and concerns related to the environmental assessment and compatibility determination,” according to a statement from the refuge.
The plan, its environmental assessment and other related documents are available for review at fws.gov/refuge/Monomoy/.
The public can submit written comments by mail to Hunt Plan, Monomoy NWR, 30 Wikis Way, Chatham, MA 02633) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments will be accepted through May 10.
The refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) indicates the refuge would open up to 40 percent of the refuge -- roughly 3,080 acres of open water habitat, to waterfowl hunting (duck, goose and coot).
The area to be opened to coyote hunting would comprise about 7,250 acres of North and South Monomoy Islands. The coyote hunting area will include all of the lands above mean low water, consisting of tidal flat, salt marsh, and dune habitats.
“It’s surprising to us that this land at the refuge - basically conservation land, is going to [be used to] further disrupt wildlife,” Elizabeth Brooke, also of Friends of Cape Wildlife, said.
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