For Immediate Release
October 7, 1999

Contact: Tom MacKenzie
404/679-7291

Open House for the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge Plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites the public to give their ideas about a proposed management plan for Florida's Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge on October 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Fish and Wildlife Refuge Service office at the Comfort Inn, 3860 Tollgate Boulevard, in Naples. The proposed plan would guide the management of the refuge over the next 15 years.

Located 20 miles southeast of Naples, and south of U.S. Highway 41, the 35,000-acre Ten Thousand Islands Refuge protects a unique estuarine ecosystem of fish and wildlife resources. The refuge represents a variety of coastal habitats including mangrove forests, freshwater marsh systems, interspersed freshwater ponds, and small islands or hammocks of upland habitat.

As stated in the proposed plan, the vision for Ten Thousand Islands Refuge is to become a "model for natural systems management, featuring unique coastal marshes, islands, and subtropical estuarine mangrove ecosystems. The refuge will provide essential habitat for threatened and endangered species and will be an area noted for its cultural resources. Through effective management and partnering, the refuge will provide outstanding recreational opportunities for present and future generations."

The proposed plan will benefit waterfowl and songbirds; threatened and endangered species, and resident wildlife while providing opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation and environmental education. As required by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, an overriding concern reflected in the proposed plan is that wildlife has first priority and that recreation and other uses are allowed as long as they are compatible with wildlife conservation.

If you cannot attend the open house, you may obtain a copy of the proposed plan by contacting: Jim Krakowski, Project Leader, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 3860 Tollgate Blvd., Suite 300, Naples, Florida 34114, telephone (941) 353-8442. The public is encouraged to review the plan and send in their written comments to Mr. Krakowski at the above address. These comments are needed by November 8, 1999, to be considered in the preparation of the final plan.

Release#: R99-081

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1999 News Releases
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