A pumping unit at this location historically provided much needed water-level management capabilities for half the managed acreage on this refuge. By manipulating water levels in North Pond, managers have affected growth of aquatics and submerged aquatic plants, which are a valuable food source for migrating and wintering waterfowl, as well as a variety of other migratory birds.
The pump station was destroyed by a dike breach during Hurricane Irene in 2011. Since then, water levels and salt content have been at the mercy of rain and storm overwash events.
The refuge was funded to replace the pump station at North Pond and contract with Ducks Unlimited to perform the work. Unfortunately, just two weeks after the repair was completed, the power unit caught fire and was destroyed again. This year, funding has been provided to replace the pump station again, with Duck Unlimited funding approximately half the money needed to complete the project.
Again, the contract was awarded to Ducks Unlimited for the work, which is expected to begin Aug. 31 and be completed within 90 days. This repair will restore management capabilities for approximately 500 acres, providing a means to manage water levels within the impoundment.
For the duration of the project, the dike area in the immediate vicinity of the pump station will be closed to the public. North Pond Wildlife Trail, which runs from Highway 12 near the Visitor Center to the southwest corner of the pond will remain open. This trail ends at the double-decker overlook. Normally, visitors are encouraged to walk north on the North Pond Service Road. However, this Service Road will be closed for the duration of the repair work.
On the north end of North Pond, visitors may walk as far as the northwest corner of the Service Road. The closed area will be clearly signed.
Assistant Refuge Manager Art Beyer says, “We hate that public entry will be restricted during the fall migration, but we’re excited that this will mean much improved habitat for the next season. So, we encourage folks to come back next year and see all the improvements!”
For more information about Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, visit the website at www.fws.gov/refuge/pea_island, or call 252-473-1131, ext. 224.