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Friends group hopes to prevent closure of Maryland refuge

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Tubby Cove boardwalk at Eastern Neck NWR. Photo by Robert Pos/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Birders in Maryland are asking for assistance in preventing the potential closure of Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, a 2,285-acre preserve at the confluence of the Chester River and Chesapeake Bay. Established in 1962, it provides habitat for 243 bird species, including Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, and waterfowl.

Nancy Martin, president of the Kent County Bird Club and a member of Friends of Eastern Neck shared this message on the Facebook page of the Maryland Ornithological Society:

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Kent County is in danger of being “shuttered.” Please contact Fish and Wildlife and urge them to restore funding for an onsite manager.

The Friends of Eastern Neck (FOEN) board of directors has been working with local politicians and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) personnel to encourage FWS to fill the vacant Wildlife Specialist (manager) position at the refuge. However, now that the FWS budget has been approved in Washington, there has been no indication that the position will be filled.

The FOEN board is enlisting help from members of the public, especially birders who may have fond memories of birding at the refuge, to further encourage the FWS Regional Chief, Scott Kahan ([email protected]; telephone 413-253-8245) to fill the position.


Please describe what the island means to you and to the birding community and encourage FWS to fill the position and not “shutter” (FWS wording) the island. (a short sample message is below)

Time is of the essence. Please communicate to Scott Kahan before June 30. Thank you for your support in helping to keep the refuge functioning.


Dear Mr. Kahan,


I am writing to express my support for FWS funding of an on-site manager at Eastern Neck N.W.R. in Kent County, Maryland. I have visited Eastern Neck to bird, including viewing the annual spectacle of its waterfowl migration and to see rarities. I understand that the refuge is in danger of being ‘shuttered’. Please restore funding so that Eastern Neck can continue its vital role as a refuge for not only birds and other wildlife, but also for the thousands of visitors who come each year to appreciate the beauty of one of the Eastern Shore’s hidden gems.




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