National Key Deer Refuge
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Mosquito Management Plan EA

Mosquito Management Plan - Document: PDF 8.13 MB

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Lower Keys National Wildlife Refuge Complex (Refuge) announces the availability of the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Mosquito Management Plan (plan) in conjunction with the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (District). The purpose of the draft plan/EA is to ensure that activities to survey and control mosquito populations on the Refuge are compatible with the establishing purposes of the Refuge. It should be noted that mosquito control is only permitted on Refuge lands in association with a human health and safety threat. With the potential for spread of mosquito-borne disease, there is increasing pressure to manage mosquito populations that occur on lands of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), especially in populated areas such as the Florida Keys. The Refuge considers some mosquitoes a natural component of tidal wetlands but also recognizes that mosquitoes may pose a threat to human and/or wildlife health. Thus the purpose of this action is to develop a long-term Mosquito Management Plan consistent with Service regulation and policies that will reduce or eliminate impacts of the mosquito adulticides and mosquito control activities to non-target species on and adjacent to refuge lands, while still helping to ensure public health and safety concerns are addressed.

The refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP, USFWS 2009) was developed in 2009 to guide the management of the national wildlife refuges in the Florida Keys, as mandated by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997. The CCP outlines management strategies and corresponding resource needs for the next 15 years to protect, enhance, and restore the natural diversity and integrity of the ecological landscapes of the Lower Florida Keys Refuges, and provides unique opportunities for research and compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses in cooperation with our partners. The CCP called for the development of 11 step-down management plans in specific program areas, including one for mosquito management.

The draft plan/EA evaluates four alternatives for managing mosquitoes. The No Action alternative (Alternative A) is presented as a requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and is the baseline condition with which proposed activities are compared. This alternative represents a continuation of current management actions as last conducted in 2012; it does not mean an absence of active management of mosquitos. Under the no-action alternative, mosquito control and management would consist of Larvicide distribution in aquatic larval development areas, truck based fogging of pyrethroids, and aerial applications of naled products. Alternative B is an integrated approach that would balance the missions of both the FKMCD and the Service by allowing for a level of flexibility in mosquito control operations with site specific requirements based on natural resources concerns and environmental conditions. No spray zones would be expanded to include proposed critical habitat for the Bartram's hairstreak and Florida leafwing butterflies. In addition, no spray zones would include buffer zones to account for expected distances of pesticide drift from treatments to adjacent private properties. Alternative C would only utilize larvicidal treatments to manage mosquito populations except under emergency human health conditions. While under Alternative D, the No Mosquito Control Alternative, no actions would be undertaken to manage mosquito populations except under emergency conditions.

Consistent with Service laws, regulations, and policies, and the purpose of the Refuge, the plan/EA describes Alternative B as the Refuge’s preferred alternative. Alternative C has been identified as the Environmentally Preferred Alternative.

Through this evaluation and with public comment, the Service must decide whether implementing the Proposed Action would have a significant impact to the human environment. If we conclude that the Proposed Action does not have a significant impact to the human environment then we will sign a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) and begin implementation. Should we determine that the Proposed Action does have a significant impact to the human environment, we would proceed with preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

If you wish to comment on the plan/environmental assessment (EA), you may mail comments to the name and address below. This environmental assessment will be on public review for 30 days. The EA was posted and is available for public review on this website (http://www.fws.gov/nationalkeydeer/) on March 10, 2014. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Hard copies are available for review at each lower Keys public library and on request at the District office on Stock Island and the Visitor Center on Big Pine Key (contact 305/292-7190 and 305-872-0774, respectively).

COMMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY April 10, 2014. Written comments may be received later if postmarked by April 10, 2014.
Please address written comments to:
Refuge Manager
Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge Complex
28950 Watson Blvd
Big Pine Key, Florida 33043

Comments may also be submitted to the Refuge email address at keydeer@fws.gov

 

 

Last updated: August 8, 2014