MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
|U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE
Pertaining to the Administration,
Development, and Use Of
The Tom's Cove Hook Area
Within the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Assateague Island National Seashore
WHEREAS, the Chincoteague NWR on Assateague Island was established in
1943 for administration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under
authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, and
WHEREAS, on April 1, 1959, under authority of P.L. 8557, the
Fish and Wildlife Service entered into an agreement with the
ChincoteagueAssateague Bridge and Beach Authority whereby certain
refuge lands constituting what is known as Tom's Cove Rook were assigned
to the Authority for the purpose of developing and operating a public
beach and recreational facility. The deed of easement also provided for
the construction and maintenance of a bridge and access road across the
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to the Tom's Cove Hook area,
WHEREAS, P.L. 89195 approved on 9/21/65, as amended; 16 U.S.C.
459f, provides for the establishment of Assateague Island National
Seashore in the States of Maryland and Virginia, and
WHEREAS, Section 2(c) of P.L. 89195 authorized the Secretary to
acquire all of the right, title, or interest of the
ChincoteagueAssateague Bridge and Beach Authority, in the bridge
constructed by such Authority across the Assateague Channel, together
with all lands or interests therein, roads, parking lots, buildings, or
other real or personal property of such Authority, and such right,
title, and interest have been acquired by the National Park Service,
WHEREAS, certain lands and waters within the Virginia portion of
Assateague National Seashore are subject to the rules and regulations of
the National Park System contained in Title 36 CFR, and
WHEREAS, Section 6(b) of the same public law states "Notwithstanding
any other provision of this Act, land and waters in the Chincoteague
National Wildlife Refuge, which are a part of the seashore, shall be
administered for refuge purposes under laws and regulations applicable
to national wildlife refuges, including administration for public
recreation uses in accordance with the provisions of the Act of
September 28, 1962 (Public Law 87714; 76 Stat. 653)." P.L.
87714, known as the Refuge Recreation Act, reads in part: "...if
such recreational opportunities are provided, to assure that any present
or future recreational use will be compatible with, and will not prevent
accomplishment of the primary purposes for which the said conservation
areas were acquired or established, the Secretary of the Interior is
authorized, as an appropriate incidental or secondary use, to administer
such areas or parts thereof for public recreation when in his judgement
public recreation can be an appropriate incidental or secondary use:
Provided, that such public recreation use shall be permitted only to the
extent that is practicable and not inconsistent with other previous
authorized Federal operations or with the primary objectives for which
each particular area is established:..."
WHEREAS, by interim agreement dated October 21, 1966, between the
Regional Directors of the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park
Service, the National Park Service assumed the assigned responsibilities
of the ChincoteagueAssateague Bridge and Beach Authority, pending
development and approval of a comprehensive master plan and completion
of a subsequent Memorandum of Agreement between the two agencies.
WHEREAS, the 1976 Amendment to the National Wildlife Refuge System
Administration Act (Pub. L. 94223) states "...areas are hereby
designated as the 'National Wildlife Refuge System' (referred to herein
as the 'System'), which shall be subject to the provisions of this
section, and shall be administered by the Secretary through the United
States Fish and Wildlife Service." Subsequent solicitors' opinions,
discussing the effects of Pub. L. 94223, recognize the authority
of the Fish and Wildlife Service to cooperate with other Federal
agencies to carry out the Service's responsibilities on National
Wildlife Refuges, and that the National Park Service may administer
programs for public recreation and use in the Tom's Cove Hook area so
long as these programs have the approval of the Fish and Wildlife
WHEREAS, since passage of P.L. 94223 invalidated previous
agreements between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park
Service for administration of the Tom's Cove Hook area, this area has
been operated by the two agencies under a field Memorandum of
Understanding dated June 23, 1976, between the Refuge Manager and the
WHEREAS, during the preparation of the comprehensive plan for the
protection, management, and use of the seashore, as required by Pub. L.
94578, alternatives for changes in management responsibilities for
the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service on
Assateague Island were studied and discarded by the Assistant Secretary
of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, resulting in a decision
that each agency will maintain a role in the management of the Tom's
Cove Hook area (as described below and depicted on a map attached),
hereinafter referred to as the "Assigned Area" under a new Memorandum of
Understanding to be completed in the summer of 1979.
"Assigned Area"The area bounded on the north by the wildlife
fence adjacent to the main parking lot, on the east and south by the
Atlantic Ocean extending to Fishing Point, and on the west by the waters
of Tom's Cove to and along the canal in Swan Cove adjacent to the same
main parking lot (see enclosed map).
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of and compliance with the foregoing
legislative and executive directives, that within the "Assigned
Area," it is mutually agreed that the National Park Service may,
subject to approval of the Fish and Wildlife Service, assume the
responsibility for the execution of items hereinafter described in this
memorandum in PART II, the Fish and Wildlife Service will assume
responsibility for the execution of items in PART III: and the two
Services will jointly assume the responsibility for the items contained
in PART IV:
THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE will, in accordance with the Comprehensive
plan, dated August 1979:
Provide and manage visitor contact and interpretive facilities
and programs on a dayuse basis for public recreation and
interpretation including, but not limited to, swimming and associated
beach uses, fishing, crabbing, and clamming.
Be responsible for road construction, and maintenance and for
drafting all required construction permit applications.
Initiate temporary traffic closures at the entrance to the Tom's
Cove Hook Area as necessary and inform Fish and Wildlife Service
personnel when such closure is in effect.
Provide for the protection and safety of the visiting public
including, but not limited to, law enforcement, motorist assistance,
fire prevention/suppression, first aid, and protected beaches.
Issue special use permits for periods when the area is closed to
public entry for activities including, but not limited to, overnight
fishing and beach parties. Evening interpretive programs that extend
beyond closing will be supervised by uniformed personnel who will assure
that all participants clear the area upon termination of the program.
Issue special permits for the hikein camp site on refuge subject
to clearance in advance from the refuge.
Maintain sand dunes in accordance with approved Departmental
Be responsible for the maintenance of the fence delineating the
north boundary of the main parking lot and that portion that serves as
the ocean vehicle barrier.
Obtain concurrence from the Fish and Wildlife Service, through
the Refuge Manager, prior to initiating planning for the expansion or
modification of existing, or the development of additional,
recreational, interpretive or support programs and facilities in order
to assure compatibility with primary refuge objectives. Completed plans
for such programs and facilities must be submitted through the Refuge
Manager for approval by the Fish and Wildlife Service prior to
Be responsible for collection of entrance data and make such data
available as needed for Fish and Wildlife Service Reports.
Be responsible for regular maintenance and litter control in the
Provide and maintain a system of signs in accordance with
provisions of Part IV 4.
Offer for sale within the "Assigned Area" educational or
interpretive items which are complimentary to the objectives of the
Seashore and the Refuge or reinforce the goals of the two Services in
accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Service policy on "Cooperating
Associations." Photographic film may be sold if not available at sites
within reasonable driving distance. The Regional Director of the Fish
and Wildlife Service, or his designated agent, must approve all items
offered for sale.
For those lands and waters subject to Title 36 CFR, both within
and without the "Assigned Area", issue to qualified Fish and Wildlife
Service personnel, upon request of the refuge manager, law enforcement
commissions authorized pursuant to the Act of October 7, 1976 (Public
Law 94458; 16 U.S.C. 1a-6). Enforcement activities under this
provision will be in accordance with National Park Service policy and
Collect on behalf of the FWS appropriate user fees established
for the "Assigned Area", under the authority of the Land and Water
Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (as amended).
THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE will:
Publish all public use regulations pertaining to the
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (including the "Assigned Area")
under Title 50 CFR, after consultation with the National Park Service.
To the degree possible regulations and penalties governing the Maryland
and Virginia portions of the Seashore shall be uniform.
Issue deputy commissions for the enforcement of Title 50
regulations to qualified National Park Service law enforcement
personnel, who have been designated by the National Park Service for
enforcement responsibilities in the "Assigned Area." All enforcement
activities within the "Assigned Area" will be in accordance with Fish
and Wildlife Service policies and procedures, under the authorities
delegated to the Special Agent in Charge, District 11.
Retain primary responsibility for managing the wildlife
resources within the "Assigned Area," with the understanding by both
agencies that recreational use programs will be planned and carried out
to minimize impacts on wildlife resources. The Fish and Wildlife Service
will consult with the National Park Service before carrying out wildlife
management practices within the "Assigned Area" that might impact
approved recreational programs.
Utilize the authorities of the Land and Water Conservation
Fund Act to establish and administer an appropriate system for
recreational user fees, recognizing that such fees are an effective
management tool. Reimburse the National Park Service for any agreed upon
costs incurred during collection of such fees.
Designate, away from the corrosive forces of the ocean front,
a vehicle and/or equipment storage space for use by the National Park
Be responsible for maintaining all stock fences within or
bordering the "Assigned Area."
Be responsible for all research and photographic permits
issued within the "Assigned Area", and inform the National Park Service
of the conditions of such permits.
THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE and FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE will
Exchange copies of incident reports within 24 hours. Personnel
of each agency will immediately notify the other agency about incidents,
problems, or violations of regulations observed or reported which affect
the other agency. Neither agency will assume the responsibility to act
on behalf of the other agency unless specifically requested to do so.
This provision shall not preclude immediate response to emergencies by
qualified personnel from either Service.
Provide the necessary personnel to assist in managing traffic
closures initiated by either agency upon request, and for any emergency
Permits issued by either agency shall be honored by the other
for those uses that are authorized and for which the fees are consistent
on both areas.
Prepare a sign plan that will meet the management needs of the
"Assigned Area", without strict adherence to standard plans of either
agency. Agency identification will not be indicated on signs except for
the entrance sign at the bridge and at the entrance to the "Assigned
Area", where both agencies will be given full recognition.
Share operational facilities and equipment to the extent
practical. Either agency may initiate a request for the temporary use of
an item of equipment or a facility subject to recall, to meet the
responsibilities of the controlling agency.
Coordinate the collection of public use statistics to meet the
reporting format and dates of each agency.
Coordinate prior to publication or release all publications,
leaflets, and/or news releases that pertain to the "Assigned Area." In
appropriate cases, coordinate the use of joint publications and
Develop working procedures to implement this Memorandum, such
procedures to be decided cooperatively by the Seashore Superintendent
and Refuge Manager and, as necessary for understanding and guidance of
their respective staffs, jointly prepared as a written, signed directive
as a supplement to this Memorandum. The Superintendent and Manager shall
meet as necessary, but at least quarterly, to review working procedures
and questions regarding compliance. Should the Superintendent and
Manager fail to reach agreement on working procedures, or questions of
compliance, required to implement this Memorandum, the area of
disagreement will be reviewed by the Fish and Wildlife Service Area
Manager for resolution. If the Area Manager's decision on the dispute is
not acceptable to the Superintendent or Manager, the matter will be
referred to the respective Regional Directors for resolution.
Schedule an annual meeting, at a mutually acceptable time and
place, of the Seashore Superintendent and Area Manager, along with
appropriate staff, for a formal review of operations under this
Memorandum, including but not limited to compliance with conditions of
the Memorandum and working procedures, problem areas, coordination of
programs and plans for the next year, proposed amendments to the
Memorandum, etc. Any areas of disagreement that cannot be resolved
between the Superintendent and Area Manager shall be referred to the
respective Regional Directors for resolution.
|Date: October 19, 1979
||Date: October 26, 1979|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
National Park Service
Last Updated: 27-Oct-2003