US Fish & Wildlife seeks public comment on planning efforts at 3,800-acre Little Sandy National Wildlife Refuge, near Dallas, Texas; refuge was established under conservation easement for preservation of bottomland hardwood forest, migratory waterfowl

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June 28, 2023 (press release) –

Northeast Texas refuge is high priority for conservation of bottomland hardwood forest, migratory waterfowl

We are seeking public comment on a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for Little Sandy National Wildlife Refuge located 80 miles east of Dallas in Wood County. The CCP would guide management on the 3,802 acre refuge for 15 years. 

The proposed actions outlined in the CCP strive to meet the purpose of the refuge, which was established under a permanent, non-development conservation easement to preserve habitat for migratory waterfowl and perpetuate forest succession on one of the largest and last remaining old-growth bottomland hardwood forests in Texas.  

Under the CCP, the Service would work with the conservation community to complete a Landscape Conservation Design and Land Protection Plan. A land protection planning process would provide opportunities for the Service to acquire surrounding properties that promote strategic habitat conservation.  

Other proposed issues and actions include conducting complete plant and wildlife inventories, implementing adaptive strategies to monitor refuge resources, developing a fire management plan for prescribed burning, establishing a baseline dataset for water bodies on the refuge, and implementing invasive species detection, treatment, and monitoring.  

Little Sandy NWR is situated within the flood plain and overflow bottoms of the Sabine River. The most important aspect of the refuge is its old-growth bottomland forest ecosystem that has not seen timber harvesting in over 100 years. 

Bottomland hardwood forests are some of the most endangered and productive wetland ecosystems in the southeastern U.S. Over 90 percent of these forests in Texas have been converted to other uses, eliminating a tremendous amount of wildlife habitat in the eastern portion of the state. 

The diverse pineywood and bottomland hardwood forest communities of Little Sandy NWR provide outstanding habitat for an abundance of wildlife, including waterfowl and other migratory birds moving between tropical wintering and U.S. nesting areas. Approximately 80 percent of breeding birds that frequent the refuge are dependent on the bottomland hardwoods for nesting.  

Little Sandy NWR is one of 21 National Wildlife Refuges managed by the Service in Texas. Each refuge was established to serve a statutory purpose that targets the conservation of native species dependent on its lands and water, and all activities are reviewed for compatibility with this statutory purpose. 

The Service strives to provide priority public uses on refuge lands when they are compatible; however, Little Sandy NWR remains in private ownership and is closed to the public in accordance with the conservation easement.  

View the CCP and Environmental Assessment (EA).  

Comments may be submitted through July 27 by one the following methods: 
Electronically:  email  
By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Attn: David Certain, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103.  

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