Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Where Wildlife Comes First!
Missions, Mandates and Constraints • What affects planning for activities on the Don Edwards Refuge such as restoration projects, public access, or even commercial shrimp harvest? • Let’s use public access as an example.
Public Access is Important Refuge currently has: • 30 miles of hiking trails • Fishing Pier • Visitor Center • Environmental Education Center • Trailside Exhibits • Interpretive Programs • Waterfowl Hunting Areas
Need to Protect Wildlife Too • The Refuge needs to protect sensitive wildlife from unacceptable disturbances • Site design, appropriate types of public activities and appropriate location for public access are key to protecting wildlife
How Do We Create Balance? Refuge staff start by considering thelaws andregulations governing what is allowed on the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Mission of United StatesFish & Wildlife Service Conserve, protect, and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
How Do We Meet Our Mission? • Review development projects including wetland restoration to protect endangered species & other wildlife • Operate system of Wildlife Refuges
National Wildlife Refuges • Over 535 refuges nation-wide, at least one in each state; 7 in San Francisco Bay Area • Encompassing 95 million acres of land • With 40 million visitors each year
Mission of Refuge System Administer network of lands/waters for: • Conservation; • Management; • Restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats; and • For the benefit of present and future generations of Americans
Wildlife Comes First Congress requires that Refuge Managers determine if proposed projects & activities are compatible with the purpose of the Refuge & Wildlife Refuge System
Purposes of Don Edwards NW Refuge • Preserve and enhance wildlife habitat in south San Francisco Bay; • Protect migratory waterfowl and Endangered Species; and to • Provide an opportunity for wildlife-oriented recreation and nature study.
Compatibility Determinations • Must be in writing and available for public review • 1st Step - Consider needs of wildlife and potential for impact on wildlife
Balance Wildlife Needs • Balance the needs of endangered species with resident and migratory wildlife • Then look for opportunities for public access
Priority Public Uses 2nd Step - Congress established 6 Wildlife-Oriented Public Uses that take priority over all others: • Wildlife observation • Wildlife photography • Environmental interpretation • Environmental education • Hunting • Fishing
Resources Available? 3rd Step - Are resources available to administer and manage each use? Is there staff and money to construct and maintain the public use facilities?
Other Considerations? • National Environmental Policy Act • Endangered Species Act • Migratory Bird Conservation Act • Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act • Clean Water Act • National Historic Preservation Act • Coastal Zone Management Act
What Can We Expect? • Refuge looks forward to expanding public use program on the newly acquired salt ponds • The restoration project is a great opportunity to develop opportunities for the public to enjoy wildlife in an urban setting
Examples of Public Use? • Areas for waterfowl hunting & fishing • Boating in the slough channels • Trails for walking, wildlife photography and observation • Observation platforms and interpretive signs
New Public Uses? • Wildlife Drive? - Maybe on the flood control levees • Dog walking/Training? - Doubtful • Exercise Courses? - Maybe Not • Sail boarding in Salt Ponds? - I don’t think so
How Will We Decide? Hard Work of the Stakeholder Forum and Work Groups to advise decision-makers considering wildlife needs and opportunities for wildlife-oriented public use