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North Florida Field Office

News Release


For Immediate Release

Date: November 1, 2002
Release #: 012-02
Media Contacts:
Chuck Underwood, 904-731-3332

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks input on additional measures to protect manatees

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it is seeking input and soliciting comments on additional measures to protect and recover the endangered West Indian manatee in Florida.

Specifically, the Service is seeking information or suggestions that would help the agency identify how the Service can effectively increase boater education and outreach; where and when this education and outreach should be directed; factors that should or should not be considered to improve the Service’s boating facility site reviews; additional protection areas; locations that would be appropriate for increased law enforcement efforts; locations where the existing speed zone signage can be improved; and other activities that they should undertake, modify or cease to protect the manatee in Florida.

According to Sam D. Hamilton, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director, the purpose of this request for information is to seek public input on additional protective measures the Service should consider as it formulates additional conservation and recovery decisions for the manatee.

"During the past few months numerous State and local agencies have taken actions to further the protection and recovery of the manatee," Hamilton said. "Additionally, we anticipate new scientific information related to manatee recovery will be forthcoming over the next several months. Both of these developments may provide us and the Manatee Recovery Team with substantial data from which additional conservation measures may be developed and implemented to further recovery of the species."

"Including the public early in the process will allow us to more effectively focus our limited resources to protect manatees and further recovery of the species," said Dave Hankla, field supervisor for the Service’s North Florida Ecological Services Office in Jacksonville. "It will also ensure that the best available science and information is being used to determine manatee protection needs."

Persons wishing to provide relevant information and comments regarding this request for additional measures to protect manatees, should submit such comments in writing within 90-days (COMMENT PERIOD CLOSED) of the Notice's publication in the Federal Register. Written comments (COMMENT PERIOD CLOSED) may be submitted by mail to the Jacksonville Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: MPA Notice, 6620 Southpoint Drive, South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, Florida 32216, via fax to 904-232-2404 or via electronic mail to manatee@fws.gov.

The Notice of Request, a fact sheet and Frequently Asked Questions are available online at our web site: http://www.fws.gov/northflorida. Hard copies of the documents are available by writing to U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: MPA Notice, 6620 Southpoint Drive South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL 32216-0958; by calling 904/232-2580; by fax at 904/232-2404; or by sending your request via e-mail to manatee@fws.gov.

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 Services manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management assistance offices, 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.


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Last modified January 14, 2004