STATE HOUSE –Rep. Teresa Tanzi today expressed her relief that the federal Fish & Wildlife Service eliminated the Mumford Unit of the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge in Narragansett from its proposal to expand hunting in the refuge. All expanded use of firearms in this area have been eliminated from the plan.
The Fish & Wildlife Service has announced that, after an outpouring of public comments and two petitions about its draft hunting and fishing plan in the wildlife refuges in Rhode Island, it would not allow hunting in the Mumford Unit of the Chafee refuge, which is near Narragansett Elementary School and the William O’Neil bike path. It also dropped its proposal to build a parking lot off Crest Avenue nearby.
Representative Tanzi was among those who submitted testimony to Fish and Wildlife opposing hunting there and she testified in opposition to the proposal at the Narragansett Town Council meeting where an item to oppose the proposal was introduced by Councilor Jesse Pugh.
“It is a great relief that Fish & Wildlife has dropped its plans to allow expanded use of firearms in my district. The area adjacent to the elementary school is wholly inappropriate for hunting, which would be occurring during the school year. The refuge itself and the surrounding area including the residential neighborhoods and the bike path are used by many people for recreation. Allowing hunting would have put the public, particularly children, in harm’s way,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett). “While I was extremely concerned that the pandemic-related lack of public information and meetings on this proposal would allow it to slip into approval under the radar, I am grateful to the many concerned local residents and officials who made the effort to submit comments and spread the word about this harmful proposal. Even without in-person public meetings, we raised our voices loudly and clearly, and they were heard.”
The Fish & Wildlife Service reported that it received 1,641 public comments and two petitions regarding the proposal.
The new version of the plan will allow deer hunting within other parts of the refuge in Narragansett, but it will be limited to archery only, rather than allowing both firearms and archery. Waterfowl hunting and fishing on the Narrow River will continue to be allowed as originally proposed.