Topics: Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

CHATHAM – When Matthew Hillman arrived at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge as its new manager, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the town had just gone through a controversial review of the refuge's comprehensive conservation plan (CCP). While aspects of the final document still rankle some in town, Hillman found working with town officials and residents one of the most satisfying parts of the job. It's ...

CHATHAM – Twenty years ago, 23 larvae of the federally threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle were taken from a beach on Martha's Vineyard, the last known population in New England, and released on South Monomoy Island. Subsequent transplanting of tiger beetle larvae from the Vineyard to Monomoy took place annually through 2004. To say that the tiger beetles took to Monomoy would be an understatement. The ...

CHATHAM – When he decided to take on the job of filling bird feeders as a volunteer at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, Jan “JC” Crocker had no idea that it would lead to a multi-media project that would take three years and more than 3,000 hours to complete. The final product brought the refuge's visitors center into the 21st century and earned Crocker national recognition. The National Wildlife Refuge A...

Monomoy Refuge Celebrates 75 Years

By: Tim Wood

Even before it became a protected sanctuary for migratory birds, Monomoy Island was known among avian enthusiasts. For decades duck hunters had come to Monomoy from far and wide, and by the 1930s it was recognized as one of the most important shorebird habitats on the east coast. “They saw Monomoy as a place where hundreds, thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl congregated,” said Matt Hillman, current manager ...

CHATHAM – In 1944, Monomoy Island was a former bombing range popular with hunters and dotted with summer camps. Thanks to its location, it was also a key site along the Atlantic Flyway, the network of coastal areas that serve as stopovers for migrating shorebirds. The establishment of the island—then a peninsula—as a National Wildlife Refuge meant the preservation of thousands of acres of habitat critical to the ...

CHATHAM – Under a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan, hunting could be allowed on the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge for the first time since it was established in 1944. In a draft hunting plan released last week, the agency is proposing allowing hunting of migratory waterfowl and coyotes. Fish and Wildlife Service officials will hold an information session on the proposal on April 30 at the community c...

CHATHAM – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to allow hunting on the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge for the first time since its establishment in 1944. The refuge is proposing a public use hunt program for migratory waterfowl and coyote, and will hold an information session on the plan on April 30 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the community center. The draft hunt plan, compatibility determinations and env...

Solar Panels Light Up Historic Lighthouse

By: Tim Wood

CHATHAM – The lights are on at the historic Monomoy Point Lighthouse.  That may not sound like a big deal, but thanks to a new solar array, for the first time in its 170-year history, the light and keeper's house has electricity year-round. “For the first time ever, there's overhead lights, outlets in every room, and most importantly heat, which will keep it dry and reduce mold,” said Monomoy National Wildl...

CHATHAM – Seven environmental groups that signed a letter opposing federal legislation to change the western boundary of the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge have been invited to meet with town officials next month to try to resolve their differences. Given the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, some of the concerns expressed in a March 2017 letter from environmental organizations regardi...

CHATHAM – With federal legislation to resolve the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge western boundary dispute between the town and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stalled, town officials are exploring another tack, a possible administrative solution to the dilemma. Exactly what form such an approach would take remains vague, but officials reported that they had a “promising” meeting in Washington, D.C. last w...

CHATHAM – The controversy over the western boundary of the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is a complicated issue, and the way the story has been portrayed in the media – that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took over some 4,000 acres of water and submerged land west of the island in 2016 – isn't the way the agency sees things. “That is false,” Refuge Manager Matthew Hillman said of the spin the town and s...

Winter Storms Reshape Chatham's Coast

By: Tim Wood

Erosion Threatens Refuge's Morris Island HQ CHATHAM – It was a year ago Sunday that an early spring northeast storm punched a hole in South Beach, about a quarter mile south of Lighthouse Beach, creating a new inlet in the barrier beach that runs along the town's eastern shoreline. After a series of winter storms, that barrier beach looks more like Swiss cheese than a solid line of dunes. The April Fool'...

CHATHAM – While terns did well on the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge last summer – the refuge remains the largest common tern colony on the eastern seaboard – the number and nesting success of federally-endangered piping plovers fell below expectations. A total of 48.5 pairs of the small, sand-colored plovers nested on the refuge, a decrease from 52 pairs in 2016. Most (46 pairs) nested on South Monomoy, one...

Selectmen: Monomoy Refuge Letters A 'Slap In The Face'

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — From the town’s perspective, the latest volleys in the Monomoy refuge boundary dispute have added insult to injury, selectmen said Monday. On Jan. 5, federal officials replied to a letter the town sent to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke more than half a year earlier, asking him to intervene in the town’s dispute with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The reply didn’t come from Zinke or from an...

Gov. Baker Sides With Chatham In Refuge Boundary Dispute

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — The town's effort to reclaim more than 3,000 acres of shellfish flats and submerged lands appropriated by the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge has just received some important political support. On Friday, Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker sent a letter to the House Committee on Natural Resources expressing support for a bill filed by Congressman William Keating, a Democrat, which would r...

Our View: Keeping Cape Cod Clean

By: Cape Cod Chronicle

A visit to Monomoy Island reveals a stunning landscape rich with wild birds, swaying beach grass, and miles of soft sand. But to call it “pristine” would be an exaggeration. To know why, all one has to do is look among the grasses and seashells anywhere on the beach. You'll find a wealth of trash. Some people might say, 'So what?' and chalk it up to modern life. But on the island, and off, trash has become a h...