Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to Receive $1.5 Million from Transit Program
The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge has announced it has been awarded $1.5 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration, funded by appropriations from the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program.
“This is a major investment to enhance access and tourism at Chincoteague,” said Refuge Manager Lou Hinds. “This grant will help us to work with the community to preserve public access to Assateague Island, to the recreational beach, and to the natural resources we all love.”
The funds will be used to acquire a portion of the Maddox property. These lands will serve as a back up parking area during emergency situations, such as the loss of parking that occurred this past August when Hurricane Irene caused major damage just before the popular Labor Day weekend. This parking area will not replace current parking at the recreational beach.
The refuge is currently developing a comprehensive conservation plan, which will evaluate the sustainable management of the beach parking lots and related infrastructure in light of the present and future effects of climate change, increasing frequency and severity of storms, and rising sea level, Mr. Hinds said. The grant announced today does not influence the outcomes of the comprehensive conservation plan, he said.
With more than 1.4 million visitors arriving each year, beach access is critical to maintain the economic vitality of the Town of Chincoteague and the surrounding counties.
The Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program was established by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration to address the challenge of increasing vehicle congestion in and around America’s national parks, national wildlife refuges and other federal lands.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. “We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service,” according to a press release from the Refuge.
For more information visit www.fws.gov.