McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge; Project Scoping for an Environmental Assessment

ANAHUAC, May 18, 2013 - The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), Texas General Land Office, and Jefferson County, Texas are proposing a project to reduce the frequency and the extent of sea water inundation in the interior marshes of the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge (McFaddin NWR) by creating a clay and sand berm. The berm will keep high tide waters from over washing the beach and entering interior marshes. McFaddin NWR consists of the largest remaining freshwater marsh on the Texas Coast and protects thousands of acres of intermediate marsh.

McFaddin NWR supplies important feeding and resting habitat for migrating and wintering populations of waterfowl. McFaddin NWR’s diversity of wetland types is dependent on maintaining a quality coastal habitat conditions. Hurricane Ike removed most of the natural beach berm on McFaddin NWR. Conditions after Hurricane Ike have created a situation where salt water from the beach washes regularly into freshwater marshes. Restricting saltwater intrusion into the Upper Salt Bayou system is critical to maintaining the Chenier Plain’s continuum of fresh, intermediate, and brackish saline marshes. It will also provide pre-storm water conditions to areas such as J.D. Murphree and Seas Rim State Park.

An Environmental Assessment will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide decision-making framework that 1) explores a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives, 2) evaluates potential issues and impacts to the refuge, resources and values, and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.

The FWS encourages public participation throughout the NEPA process during which the public has two opportunities to comment on this project; once during initial project scoping and again following the release of the EA. We are currently in the scoping phase of this project, and invite you to voice your ideas, comments, or concerns about this effort. These comments will be considered during preparation of the EA.

More information is available for review at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge administrative office, 4017 FM 563, Anahuac, TX 77514.

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