National Wildlife Refuge

Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
Michele Hayslett / Flickr Creative Commons

Environmental officials are asking for public input about whether they should replant genetically modified crops (GMCs) at national wildlife refuges in North Carolina. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosts a public meeting at Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Thursday.  That refuge and three others in eastern North Carolina have been using a farming program to plant genetically modified crops like corn and soybeans since the 1990's.

A proposed expansion of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is running into opposition with some local leaders. 

Refuge leaders say the expansion is necessary to preserve the ecosystem that supports a wide range of wildlife, including migrating birds, black bears and red wolves.

"New Lake is a naturally occurring lake out there, but we currently only have about 80 percent of it within the refuge boundary," says refuge manager Howard Phillips. 

The state Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for what it says is the most cost-effective plan to build a new Bonner Bridge. The existing bridge that connects Hatteras Island to the northern Outer Banks is nearly 50 years old and cost the DOT more than $26 million to repair over the last decade. The contract awarded to PCL Civil Constructors and HDR Engineering is the cheapest of the three proposals at $216 million, but also got the lowest technical score from state officials.

Big game hunting could be coming to the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. A new proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would allow limited hunting for white tail deer and feral hogs. Mike Bryant is a refuge manager for six areas including Currituck. He says the rule changes would mark the first time deer and hog hunters would be allowed in the refuge.