2004 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 17 Feb 2004 17:00:30 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: A fight over flight in North Carolina
North Carolina
A fight over flight in North Carolina
By Charles Seabrook
Published on: 02/14/04

PLYMOUTH, N.C. -- In the early morning light, thousands of white tundra
swans suddenly rise straight up from a table-flat cornfield and a nearby

Their whirring wings make a big "whoosh" -- a flapping whirlwind. The
huge flock darkens part of the sky over the Pocosin Lakes National
Wildlife Refuge.

It's a breathtaking sight, one of nature's most awe-inspiring. But
conservation groups fear the majesty of such birds, nurtured each season
in these swamps and pines, could disappear in a few years.

The Navy plans to condemn 30,000 acres of farmland, woods and wetlands
in this quiet corner of eastern North Carolina, three miles from the
refuge, to build a facility for F/A-18 Super Hornet jet pilots to
practice landings and takeoffs from an aircraft carrier. The site is
ideal, the Navy says, because it is flat and remote, making it possible
to closely match the conditions pilots experience when approaching a

Opposition to the plan is fierce, and two lawsuits have been filed to
stop the $186 million project.

Every year, tens of thousands of snow geese and tundra swans fly from
Canada's Arctic coast southward along the Atlantic flyway to spend the
winter at the 113,000-acre Pocosin refuge, managed specifically for the
birds by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Biologists say the constant noise and aggravation of dozens of
low-flying, screaming jets, coming several hours a day on average, could
have substantial impact on migration along the flyway. And it could
drive the geese and swans away from the refuge, conservationists

"If this facility is built here, you can write off one of the most
important wildlife refuges on the East Coast," said Joe Albea, a North
Carolina outdoor writer and a leader in the charge against the Navy.

This article can be viewed at:

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