FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 8, 2001 Release #: R01-025
Contact: Ken Litzenberger, Refuge Manager, 352/493-0238
Tom Mackenzie, 404/679-7291
PUBLIC INVITED TO HELP PLAN FUTURE OF REFUGE
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Comprehensive
Conservation Plan for Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife
Refuges. The public is invited to comment on the proposed management plan
at a public meeting on June 5, 2001 at 7:00 p.m., at the Tommy Usher
Center, Chiefland, Florida. The Center is located at 506 SW 4th Avenue
(County Road 345). The proposed plan will guide the management of the
refuges over the next fifteen years.
Lower Suwannee Refuge is located in Levy and Dixie Counties, Florida.
This 53,000-acre refuge was established in 1979 to protect one of the
largest remaining undeveloped estuaries in the country. The refuge
encompasses 20 miles of habitat flanking both sides of the Suwannee River
and more than 20 miles of pristine coastal marsh habitat. Lower Suwannee
Refuge provides an important habitat for bald eagles, swallow-tailed
kites, gopher tortoises, manatees, sea turtles, and migratory birds.
Cedar Keys Refuge is managed as part of the Lower Suwannee National
Wildlife Refuge Complex. Cedar Keys Refuge was established in 1929 as a
refuge for wading birds and wildlife. Today, the refuge consists of 13
islands and more than 800 acres of pristine coastal barrier island habitat.
Four of the islands are designated wilderness areas. Seahorse Key is home
to one of the largest colonial wading bird rookeries in North Florida and
contains one of Florida=s historic lighthouses, which is used for marine
science education and research by the University of Florida.
The proposed plan will benefit migratory birds, threatened and endangered
species, resident wildlife, and provide opportunities for
wildlife-dependent recreation and environmental education. As required by
the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the proposed
plan ensures that wildlife has first priority and that recreation and other
uses are allowed when compatible with the purpose, mission and vision of
Copies of the proposed plan are available by contacting the refuge
office: Ken Litzenberger, Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, 16450 NW 31st Place, Chiefland, FL 32626; (352)
493-0238. The draft plan and more information are also available on the
Internet at: http://lowersuwannee.fws.gov.
Those who cannot attend the public meeting and would like to share their
ideas may submit them in writing to the refuge office or through our web
site. For ideas to be considered in the preparation of the final plan,
comments must be submitted by July 6, 2001. Those who wish to have their
name and address placed on a mailing list to receive the final plan, must
make a written request. The reason for this is that Federal government
mailing lists must be released to the public upon request (in accordance
with the Freedom of Information Act of 1974).
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands
of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70
national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological
services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws,
administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations,
restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife
habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their
conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that
distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and
hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
216-661-6500 ex 4485
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