No significant impact for bunkhouse construction at Presquile Island

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is pleased to announce that, on February 17, 2012, Acting Regional Director Jaime G. Geiger approved a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the construction of a bunkhouse on Presquile National Wildlife Refuge. The sustainably-designed, ADA‑accessible bunkhouse will be constructed in support of the James River Ecology School, an environmental education program made possible by the Service’s partnership with the James River Association. The bunkhouse will offer Ecology School participants safe, familiar, comfortable, and dependable shelter – all of which will improve participants’ experiences throughout their refuge visit.

In late November 2011, the Service published an environmental assessment (EA), titled “Enhancement of Overnight Accommodations for the James River Ecology School at Presquile National Wildlife Refuge,” for public review and comment during December 2011.  The EA examined two alternatives in detail, described the environmental impacts of each alternative, and identified Alternative B (bunkhouse) as the Service-preferred alternative. Alternative B was identified as the Service-preferred alternative because it achieved a balance between the protection of the refuge’s natural and cultural resources, while also providing a facility that improves the overall experience for the James River Ecology School’s participants. After consideration of comments received during the public and agency review periods, the Service has selected Alternative B and documents this selection in the FONSI.  The FONSI also includes an explanation of why this alternative will have no significant effects on the human environment, a summary of public comments and responses to those comments, and errata.

The EA and FONSI are available for public review on the refuge’s website: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/presquile/news.html.  For more information, please contact Andy Hofmann, Refuge Manager, at (804) 333-1470 extension 112 or Cyrus Brame, Wildlife Refuge Specialist, at (804) 829-9020.

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