U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Extends Comment Period for Proposed Management Changes at Three Sisters Springs
November 23, 2015
Manatee. Photo: USFWS
In response to requests received from the local community and elected officials, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extending the comment period by more than three weeks on a draft proposal for the future management of Three Sisters Springs at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge through Friday, December 18, 2015.
“In conversations with tour operators, the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, and congressional representatives, we believe extending the comment period on our revised proposal is needed,” said James Burnett, project leader for the Northwest Florida National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
The Service seeks public review of this draft Environmental Assessment, which also can be found on Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge’s website. More information about this can be found on the Southeast Region homepage. Comments must be submitted by December 18, 2015. Comments may be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Report Assesses the Impacts of Emerging Threats on Gulf Coast Species and Ecosystems
November 13, 2015
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released its Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment (GCVA), a comprehensive report that evaluates the effects of climate change, sea level rise and urbanization on four Gulf Coast ecosystems and 11 species that depend on them. The ecosystems are mangrove, oyster reef, tidal emergent marsh and barrier islands. The species are roseate spoonbill, blue crab, clapper rail, mottled duck, spotted seatrout, eastern oyster, American oystercatcher, red drum, black skimmer, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and Wilson’s plover.
Of the species assessed, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is thought to be the most vulnerable species across the Gulf Coast. Experts identified its main threat as loss of nesting habitat to sea level rise, erosion, and urbanization. Tidal emergent marsh is considered to be the most vulnerable ecosystem, due in part to sea level rise and erosion. In general, avian species were more vulnerable than fish because of nesting habitat loss to sea level rise, erosion and potential increases in storm surge.
“The Gulf Coast region supports some of the most diverse species and ecosystems in the world,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “It also faces some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time. The Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment will help our agency identify and assess areas that are susceptible to climate change and other stressors while working with our partners to protect and conserve this ecological safe haven for generations to come.”
New Restoration Projects Funded by National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Complement USFWS Conservation Efforts on National Wildlife Refuges on the Gulf Coast
November 10, 2015
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced it is awarding more than $80 million from its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) to 22 projects designed to benefit natural resources that were impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Eight of these new projects will be implemented either in or near National Wildlife Refuges managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Altogether, these projects will receive approximately $20 million from the GEBF in this round of funding. The newly funded efforts will further the National Wildlife Refuge System’s mission to conserve, manage and restore the fish, wildlife, plant and habitat resources of the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
A new GEBF-supported project in Alabama targeting the acquisition of 647 acres of priority coastal habitat will complement the conservation benefits provided by the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge. In Mississippi, a project focused on enhancing and restoring habitat on federal lands in coastal Mississippi is expected to lead to the restoration of more than 30,000 acres contained within Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Gulf Islands National Seashore and the De Soto National Forest.
In the state of Texas, two new projects being funded by the GEBF will complement existing conservation efforts within the nearby Aransas National Wildlife Refuge: one will conserve 600 acres and complete the contiguous protection of 16,100 acres of tidal marshes and flats, intermediate and brackish wetlands, wet prairies, and shorelines on San Antonio Bay; another will evaluate options for protecting and enhancing colonial waterbird rookery islands within the Matagorda Bay system. Three new projects will impact the Laguna Atascosa NWR: one will increase the size of the refuge with the acquisition of a 1,780-acres, and two will enhance 670 acres of wetlands and restore 36 acres of critical bird nesting islands within it. A sixth project in Texas will enhance and complete two critical colonial waterbird and coastal seabird nesting islands within the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Offers Refined Alternative for Access to Three Sisters Springs
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Last updated: November 23, 2015