Chatham Officials Seeking Support for Monomoy Refuge Petition

CHATHAM – The Town of Chatham has initiated a petition seeking the support of Governor Charlie Baker in advancing federal legislation regarding the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.

It will be available for signature until June 30 at several locations in Chatham, including town offices, the community center, Council on Aging and Cape Fishermen’s Supply.

You don’t need to a resident of the town to sign.

Chatham officials are hoping to find a solution to the boundary dispute with U.S. Fish and Wildlife over the refuge.

Legislation filed by Congressman Bill Keating earlier this year would return control of 4,000 acres of submerged lands and waters to the town and the state which was taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year when it approved a new 15-year management plan.

“We are just trying to keep people aware that that legislation is still pending and asking folks to write to their Congressional representatives voicing their support for that legislation just to kind of keep things moving in Washington,” said Robert Duncanson, Chatham’s director of health and natural resources, last week.

In April, Keating and Chatham officials testified in a hearing before the House Federal Lands Subcommittee.

“We’re hoping Governor Baker, being a Republican, will be able to have some influence in Washington in terms of getting this thing moving and fully adopted,” Duncanson said.

The town, state and the Fish and Wildlife Service could not reach a Memorandum of Understanding last year for fishery management in the area until ownership of the disputed lands could be determined.

Since 1944 the waters have been owned by Massachusetts and have been managed by Chatham in cooperation with the state.

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