The United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is preparing a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) to evaluate the future use of genetically modified crops (GMCs) on national wildlife refuges (refuges) in the Southeast Region that allow farming. These refuges use farming as a wildlife management tool to meet refuge-specific goals and objectives.  This website is the online center for public information and involvement in the Southeast Region's PEA process.

Public Participation

Your engagement in the GMC PEA process is important to us. Your ideas and insights will help us better understand and evaluate the future use of GMCs on those refuges with farming programs in the Southeast. This website will be a portal for providing comments and accessing the draft PEA as it is produced.

Other ways to get public information and be involved in the PEA process include:subscribing to the project mailing list to receive planning updates and e/mailings and submitting public comments. Please click Getting Involved for more information.

About the PEA

The Southeast Region ceased using GMCs at the conclusion of the 2012 planting season as a result of litigation. We are undertaking additional National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis as a result of that litigation to further analyze the effects on the human environment of the use of GMC soybeans and corn in the Southeast refuge farming program. 

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

The NEPA, through the enabling regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) found in 40 CFR 1500-1508, requires federal agencies to evaluate the impacts of their actions on the human environment and consider alternatives to those actions. 

Because the PEA will include multiple refuges and will analyze several types and varieties of GMCs, the document will be a programmatic environmental assessment. A PEA is prepared when an agency is proposing to carry out a broad action, program, or policy. Detailed information about the overall NEPA process can be found at the CEQ website.

The final version of the PEA will form the basis for determining whether GMC seeds that have been deregulated for use by the Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will continue to be used in conjunction with non-GMC seeds in the Southeast Region or whether their continued use would have significant environmental effects warranting further, more detailed, analysis through an environmental impact statement.

The Scope of Analysis Proposed for the PEA

The scope of this analysis will apply to all refuges in the Southeast Region that use farming as a tool for wildlife habitat management. Many of these refuges are concentrated along the major migratory waterfowl flyways of the Mississippi Valley, the Tennessee Valley, and eastern coastal North Carolina. 

This NEPA analysis will focus on corn and soybean GMC varieties and on their Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insertions. These crops will be the only ones considered for use to meet the conservation goals on refuges in the foreseeable future. Any other GMC crop proposed for use in the future would be evaluated through additional NEPA analysis.