The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it will continue to staff a position at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, an island north of Rock Hall, Maryland. Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge will remain open to hunting, fishing, bird watching, and other wildlife-dependent activities
The Wildlife Refuge Specialist position, which oversaw day-to-day operations at the refuge, became vacant in 2017. The Service reviews every vacant position within the National Wildlife Refuge System in order to manage within declining budgets. The refuge system’s leaders have had to make difficult choices, resulting in elimination of almost 400 positions nationwide in the last eight years. The position at Eastern Neck refuge was being considered for elimination to address budget challenges.
The position will work closely with the dedicated volunteers and Friends of Eastern Neck who support the refuge, which includes operating the refuge visitor center. Currently, staff stationed two hours away at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge drive to the Eastern Neck to work with volunteers and Friends.
Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1962, for the primary purposes of migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, and other native species. Approximately 2,286 acres, Eastern Neck NWR is important migratory and overwintering habitat for thousands of waterfowl, including over 500 tundra swans. Over 70,000 visitors come to the refuge annually to observe wildlife and walk the five trails and two boardwalks. The refuge hosts deer hunting and a mentored youth turkey hunt, and is a popular fishing spot. Two county parks, including a popular boat launch, are at the end of the refuge. The refuge has 68 volunteers and an active Friends group.