BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
---- — NEWBURYPORT — Graham Taylor, refuge manager at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge for the past seven years, will leave the post Friday for a higher management position at organization headquarters in Hadley.
Taylor, a career employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been responsible for managing the refuge at Plum Island. His region has also included sites in Rockport and Portsmouth.
Plum Island itself is about nine miles along, and the Wildlife Service supervises about six miles. The island hosts about 250,000 visitors per year, according to federal figures.
“I’ve enjoyed working here, and I don’t see too many changes ahead when a new manager is named,” said Taylor, 52, who will become regional administrator for the northeast region, which includes New England states and New Jersey.
“We’ve had valuable partnerships with other organizations and have added programs at the center here. Plum Island is appreciated by so many.”
Joe Teixeira, chair of the Conservation Commission in Newburyport, said, “Graham was a pleasure to work with. He’s well spoken and very knowledgeable. While his leaving is a loss for us, it will be a big gain for the region.”
The refuge is dedicated to the good of wildlife, which is a circumstance that sometimes disappoints unknowing visitors.
At a public input session last year, for instance, some residents said they wanted to drive their motorized three-wheel vehicles on the beach. Others said they wanted their dogs to run free through the dunes in the spring and summer.
Refuge officials had to inform them that such uses would disturb wildlife, especially nesting plovers. Motorized dune-riding was out.
“We have about 32 pairs of nesting plovers in good health,” said Taylor, a native of New Jersey who schooled at Rutgers. “That’s the most ever.
“The refuge is considered one of the top destinations in the Northeast regarding the siting of birds and other wildlife.”
Bill Gette, director of the Joppa Flats Education Center of the Massachusetts Aububon Society, said, “Graham has been a great partner for many projects including the Eagle Festival and numerous education programs.
“We’re all working on conservation, and with Graham at the refuge we’ve been able to do a lot by working together.”
No replacement has been named.