© 2023 Maine Public | Registered 501(c)(3) EIN: 22-3171529
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Officials are looking to phase out lead ammunition at the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge

Salt marsh at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Rebecca Conley
Maine Public
Salt marshes are better than forests at capturing carbon, so they are considered critical in the fight against climate change.

Federal agencies are proposing to phase out lead ammunition used by hunters at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells.

The agency is proposing over several years to ban lead ammunition at Rachel Carson and other wildlife refuges across the country.

Maine Audubon's Nick Lund said many birds, such as bald eagles, die of lead poisoning. A recent study of more than 1,200 eagles found that nearly half had been repeatedly exposed to lead.

Lund said that his organization is working with the state to raise awareness of the issue, and he hopes the ban at Rachel Carson will lead to more awareness of those dangers among hunters.

"That they're having this impact - that some of the species that we love and want to protect are being injured by the use of this type of ammo. And we should reconsider how we use it," Lund said.

The changes follow a lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity last year challenging rules enacted by the Trump Administration that expanded hunting and fishing on refuge lands. The center said that one of the goals of a recent settlement in that suit was to reduce the use of lead across the refuge system.

The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge spans across about 50 miles of the coast in Cumberland and York counties.

Corrected: December 6, 2022 at 1:59 PM EST
An earlier version of this article indicated that bald eagles are endangered. They no longer are.